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.
Where to Paddle
Flagstaff Hut is situated on the sandy shores of Flagstaff Lake, and it's the perfect place to spend a sunny summer day. The lake is large but relatively shallow, and is bordered by the soaring peaks of the Bigelow Preserve. This unique landscape can cause unexpected strong winds across the water, so paddling beyond our protected cove is only recommended for strong, experienced paddlers. For a more relaxing experience, consider taking a stand-up paddleboard, canoe, or kayak to explore the shoreline where you'll be safe from high winds.
Grand Falls Hut is accessible by the Dead River, and paddling to the hut is one of the best ways to explore the remote landscape. The Dead River is named for its slow current, so you can paddle the river in both directions.
If you're planning a paddle trip on the Dead River, be sure to check the dam release schedule first. For an updated 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.
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.
Using Boats and Paddleboards
Canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at Flagstaff Hut are free for members to use. 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 cannot be 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.
All 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.
Individuals 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.