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Machias river canoe trips led by registered Maine guides.
Go canoeing on Maine's Machias river, it's good for the soul!

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Machias River, Eastern Maine

Guided canoe trips on Maine's wilderness whitewater river!

...The River...

The Machias river flows through the remote woodlands of eastern Maine 75 miles from headwaters to the sea. Regarded as an adventurous and challenging wilderness canoe trip, the Machias is also nationally recognized for it's high concentration of valuable atlantic salmon rearing habitat.

In 1973 the last dam was removed from the Machias making the river and it's tributaries one of the largest naturally flowing river systems in the eastern United States. Today, nearly the entire Machias watershed has been preserved through conservation efforts ensuring the river's natural beauty, pristine wildlife habitat and recreational access for generations to come.

The word "Machias" is loosely translated as "bad run of water". True to it's name the river has a number of class III ledge-drop rapids which are a source for many fireside tales. These class III drops are relatively short and easy to scout but the nature of these rapids can change daily as water levels fluctuate in early spring. Holmes falls is the only mandatory portage but depending on your itinerary, water levels, and ability parties may elect to carry or line some of the hairier class III's.

...Our Trips...

Our canoe trips are led by Master Maine Guides who have worked as professional river guides for over 20 years. All of our guides started on the Machias river in the early 1990's learning the basics of whitewater canoeing on the lower stretches then challenging themselves on the upper river and tributaries. Today, the Machias still remains at the top of the list for spring whitewater.

Enthusiastic groups will enjoy the challenges of a spring run on the Machias while experienced wilderness canoeists will appreciate a river that is nearly impossible to run the same way twice. Any canoeists in the northeastern US at all interested in running wilderness whitewater will be happy to discover this remote, untamed river adventure within a days drive.


The Machias will challenge and strengthen your whitewater canoeing skills and your guides will be right there to help you get the most out of your Machias river experience!

Scouting wilderness whitewater and making decisions on how to best negotiate a rapid is a crucial skill for a wilderness canoeist. Your guides have been making these decisions for themselves and the parties they've led for over 20 years and they have run the rapids on the Machias at many different water levels with loaded and unloaded canoes. Even so, many of the rapids on the Machias need to be scouted first before making a decision on how to negotiate them because the water levels can change from day to day. Your guides will discuss and share their experience with you at each rapid helping you to make the best decision on how to negotiate them considering your skills, ability, and overall state of mind that day.

Solo canoeing is a specialty of your guides! If you have the basic skills and some experience solo canoeing in whitewater then the Machias will be a very rewarding experience for you! Your guide will coach and help hone your skills as a solo canoeist. Your guide will have individual conversations with you about how to negotiate each rapid while sharing their knowledge and experience with you as well as making recommendations for you based on your skill level.

Canoe poling is another skill your guides rely on and will be happy to teach you the basics. Many of the rapids on the Machias are difficult to pole with ledge and rock bottoms that are easy to get a pole stuck in but there are also beautiful stretches of gravel bottom river to pole as well especially at lower water levels.


Camp sites on the Machias river will have a fire ring, but not always a picnic table or privy. Other than these simple improvements, there are no other facilities available along the river corridor.


Morning and evening meals are prepared by your guide over an open fire. The entrees change each day. Typical morning meals include ham and eggs, french toast and bacon, and pancakes with sausage accompanied with fresh fruit, cereal, juice, coffee, and tea. Evening meals include chicken stir fry, breaded pork chops with green beans, marinated steak with rice, or pasta dishes with a hearty red or white sauce accompanied by appetizer, wine, and dessert. Lunches are buffet style with deli meats and cheeses, bread or wraps, fresh fruits and vegetables, pickles, chips, and cookies.

Your guide will go over the planned menu with you before your trip and welcome any input regarding personal preference or dietary requirements you may have.


Fishing on the Machias river can be hit or miss for brook trout in the spring and generally decent action for smallmouth bass throughout the summer. The larger headwater lakes have healthy populations of white perch. Fishing licenses are required for anyone wishing to fish. 3-day, 7-day, and seasonal licenses can be obtained through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website or at most fishing supply retailers.

...The Details...

2016 Dates

April 28-May 1 and May 12-15

Trip meets either in Machias or Bangor the evening prior to the trip.


$650/person, a 30% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your dates.

Included in the price: services of registered Maine Master Guide(s), transportation to and from the river, all meals on-river which is typically lunch the first day through lunch the last day, and all canoeing/camping/packing gear. Not included in the price: sleeping bags, personal items and clothing (a personal packing list will be provided to you), personal beverages, transportation round trip from Bangor, and fishing licenses.

Trip Size

We typically run trips of 3-4 participants with 1 or 2 guides however if you have a larger group interested in running the Machias it's not a problem for us. A second guide will be added to your trip if there are at least 7 participants or 4 boats however a second guide may be added to your trip regardless of the number of participants.

Getting Here

If you are arriving by car, your Machias river trip will meet in Machias, Maine. If you are arriving in Bangor by plane we can meet you at your hotel and provide transportation for your party (up to 6 participants) round trip from Bangor for an additional fee of $240.


Contact Sunrise Canoe and Kayak toll free 1-877-980-2300, locally (207)255-3375, or email Rob.

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