your paddlesports destination

West Branch - Penobscott River in Maine

Trip Overview

The St. John River was our first choice when this vacation was planned months ago. However, due to low water levels and a very strange summer according to the locals the St. John would have to wait yet another year or at least until the spring in Mid-May when you're guaranteed enough water.

Jim was our pilot, owner and operator of Kathadin Air just 10 miles south of Baxter State Park entrance. He gave us the bad news the week before we headed up to Maine from New Jersey. The West Branch of the Penobscott River was his alternative idea. A shorter trip but with all the surroundings and ambiance we were looking for. So north we headed. It broke down like this:

Sunset float plane drop off to south shore of Lobster Lake, 30 minute flight - Gorgeous! Full moon began to rise as tents were set up and dinner was under way. Morning broke leaving Lobster Lake with a mirror image of the sunrise. Paddled north through the "Claw" of the lake and decided to set up camp a bit early and explore. Another incredible night of moonlight and 50 degree temperatures gave us a peaceful night sleep. No moose sightings as of yet. Following day; Lobster Peak loomed over us as we loaded the canoe, and after a full breakfast and we decided to tackle that mountain before going further. The campsite and views were too good to leave just yet. A half-day of hiking up to Lobster peak rewarded us with a panoramic view of Maine's 100 Mile Wilderness. The following day with our home made sail we took advantage of the wind at our backs and sailed to the end of the Lake to mouth of the river that would take us to the Penobscott.

This time our eyes were pealed for moose but did not find any. Paddling was enjoyable and aside from three or four short breaks we paddled through sunset and let the moon guide us to our next site on Chesuncooke Lake. Woke up to rain in the morning so we went back to bed. Hunger pains woke us up to a lake of glass once again. After a hearty brunch we packed and paddled the remaining length of the lake to the take out late that afternoon. A hot shower and an excellent hot meal put the topping on the cake for us. A good time was had by all.


$70/pp float plane ride to Lobster Lake

$30 car drop off fee.


95 North up to Maine. Take Rt. 11 South to Millinockett Maine. Follow signs for Baxter State Park. Jim at Kathadin Air sits to the left at a "Y" in the road just 10 miles south of Baxter State Park. He will shuttle your vehicle for you to the take out.

  • Duration: Extended Trip
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip