West Outlet Paddle Route
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The put-in boating access site is located along ME-6/15 approximately a mile south of Rockwood Village, which is located roughly 20 miles north of Greenville or 29 miles east of Jackman. The access site is on the west side of the road, opposite the dam. A short gravel drive provides direct access to launch a boat. There is parking available for several vehicles.
The take-out site is located on the northeastern shore of Indian Pond - into which the West Outlet flows. Access is via the Burnham Pond Road (gravel), located a little over 7 miles north of Greenville on ME-6/15. Travel west approximately 3.7 miles then turn left (south) at an intersection, followed by an immediate turn right (westward) another roughly 0.8 miles to the boat launch site provided to the public by Brookfield Renewable Energy - owner of the Harris Dam downstream at the south end of the pond.
To avoid paddling across Indian Pond, turn left at the end of the West Outlet to the takeout located on the Old Somerset Railroad. This alternative take-out can be accessed from ME-6/15 by taking the Somerset Road located on the left 0.16 miles north of the put-in then traveling approximately 4.8 miles and turning left on the Old Somerset Railroad to the pond.
The West Outlet is one of two outlets flowing from Moosehead Lake into Indian Pond. Combined with its shorter and more turbulent sibling the East Outlet, it is the start of the Kennebec River - one of Maine's major river systems flowing downstream approximately 145 miles to Merrymeeting Bay and the Gulf of Maine. Paddling the West Outlet brings paddlers through a predominantly undeveloped landscape where moose, eagles, and other north woods wildlife species associated with shorelines may be seen.
The route requires some level of familiarity with whitewater paddling, though the rapids are not continuous and do not rise above Class I or pose significant safety hazards above routine considerations. There are several sections of pond paddling as well as sections of flatwater in the river itself. Be advised that there is a one-mile crossing of Indian Pond's north end in order to reach the take-out.
The trip begins by passing through Long Pond, located just downstream of the put-in. At roughly 1.75 miles, the first rapid is encountered as Long Pond narrows back down into a river environment. This rapid is a good measure of water level - if there is ample water for this rapid, there should be enough flow for the remainder of the trip. The pattern of flatwater sections interspersed with rapids and quickwater segments continues until reaching Indian Pond. At almost 3 miles downstream of the first rapid, there is a railroad bridge crossing the river at Somerset Junction. The river stays narrower for the next approximately 2.75 miles before reaching Round Pond. Paddle southeast across the pond to find the outlet of this predominantly wetland-fringed pond. It is almost 1.5 miles of river paddling including one last stretch of rapids before reaching the upper fingers of Indian Pond. From here, paddle around the peninsula jutting into the pond and through a cluster of islands before making the one-mile southeasterly crossing of Indian Pond's north end.
Be smart and wear your life jacket at all times. Be aware that waters here are often cold - notably in spring and fall. Winds can be strong on the pond. Plan ahead and prepare to make your trip safe and fun.
Landowners and managers vary along the route described here. The State of Maine owns the majority of the shoreline along the West Outlet, though there are privately-owned shoreline parcels on portions of Long Pond and an area north of Somerset Junction. Shoreline around Indian Pond is part of the hydropower license associated with Harris Dam and is managed by the dam owner, Brookfield Renewable Energy. The State of Maine holds a conservation easement on large portions of the Indian Pond shoreline. Please follow low-impact best practices and respect both private landowners and public land. At this time there are no designated campsites on the West Outlet.
Brookfield manages recreation sites on the pond, including the boat launch site at the take-out area as well as numerous water-access campsites on the pond. Indian Pond is 8-miles long, providing an opportunity to extend your paddling trip. Indian Pond Campground operates as a commercial campground on the south end of the pond, accessed by vehicle via US-201 in the Forks and the Indian Pond Road. Drive-to primitive campsites are available at the take-out, fees apply. For more information on Indian Pond campsites and campground, call 1-800-371-7774 (April – October).
BPL and Brookfield collaborate to manage the resources associated with the West Outlet. Campsites and launches on Indian Pond are provided and maintained by Brookfield.
Brookfield Renewable is strongly committed to public safety and to providing a safe recreational experience for our neighbors. Pay attention to your surroundings and respect all signs and warning signals. Always be cautious when recreating near hydroelectric facilities as water conditions can change quickly and without notice. Always wear a suitable life jacket on or near water. Together, we can enjoy all of the trails throughout Maine. For more information on public safety, please visit Brookfield Renewable's website.
Manager, Community Relations - North America
Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, Western Public Lands Office
Doug Reed, Western Region Lands Manager
PO Box 327
Farmington, Maine 04938
Phone: (207) 778-8231
Check for nearby geocaches to West Outlet Paddle Route.
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Keep campfires small and contained to established fire rings in permitted sites only.