River Paddling at Maine Huts & Trails: Hut to Hut Paddling

Paddling at Maine Huts & Trails

Maine Huts & Trails is the perfect summer destination for paddlers, with easy access to scenic Flagstaff Lake and the Dead River. You can bring your own non-motorized boat, or use ours; Maine Huts members even get free access to canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards at Flagstaff Hut.

Hut-to-Hut Paddling

One of the most fun ways to travel from hut to hut is by water. Paddling from Flagstaff Hut to Grand Falls Hut is a relatively easy trip to paddle, but does include a significant one-mile portage. After the rigorous portage, you’ll enjoy a relaxing 6-mile paddle down the Dead River to the dock above the falls. From there, you can stow your canoe or kayak and hike the last few miles to the hut. Continue your paddle the next day on Spencer Stream, or paddle back up the Dead River. The slow moving current makes it easy to paddle both ways.

Dam Releases

This trip can be a white water adventure, or a calm easy glide, depending on the dam release. To plan accordingly, be sure to check release levels before you start your trip. For a basic whitewater release schedule, see Trail Conditions.
For more dam release information: Call 1-800-557-FLOW, then select “Kennebec” and “Flagstaff” to get the flow from Long Falls Dam (Flagstaff Lake).

Unguided Paddle Trips

Two-Day Flagstaff Paddle: Put in at Eustis/Stratton, spend the night at Round Barn Campsite (at the base of the Safford Brook Trail near the Bigelows), and paddle in to Flagstaff Hut the next day.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail: For more mileage and adventure, follow the famed Northern Forest Canoe Trail. This is a rigorous pursuit, so be prepared for high winds and rough water.

Learn more here >>

Warning iconWind Warning
Please remember that Flagstaff Lake is very large and often windy. A fun afternoon paddle could quickly turn into a dangerous evening, so please honestly consider your own abilities (and those of your weakest paddlers) before planning any lake crossing.

Guided Paddle Trips

From island camping in the middle of Flagstaff Lake, to a group trip down the Dead River, it’s always more fun to travel with the confidence of a registered Maine guide. Without worrying about your gear or directions, you’ll be free to fully enjoy an escape into the wild, learning more about the history of the area, and the plants and animals native to the western Maine mountain region. 

Guided Paddle Trip Dates and Prices >>

Using Boats and Paddleboards

Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at Flagstaff Hut are free to use to members. Non-members can pay a daily boat use fee of $10/boat/day. Day use of boats is on a first-come, first-served basis and not reserved in advance.
If you're paddling from the Big Eddy Trailhead to Grand Falls Hut for an overnight stay, we will deliver and pick up boats at the Bunting Landing; an easy 1.5 mile hike from the Big Eddy Trailhead. Click Here to See a Map >>
You'll need to reserve your boats when you make your reservation. The cost is $30/boat and includes the use of paddles and PFDs. 

Warning iconAll Maine Huts & Trails boats going to the Grand Falls hut via the Dead River must come back to the Bunting Landing and be returned to the same drop-off location. A $100 relocation fee will be charged per boat if boats are not returned to the Bunting Landing.
Warning iconIndividuals paddling to Grand Falls Hut via the Long Falls Dam portage must return the boats to Flagstaff Hut; no boats may be left at Grand Falls Hut, the same rates/policies apply. All boats must be checked out by hut staff and liability forms must be filled out. A credit card will be required with any boat use. Any damage or loss to boats will be billed to the user.