Machias River Canoe Trips
The Machias river is a free-flowing river running through one of the largest tracts of woodlands in the eastern United States. The 85 mile canoe trip from headwaters to the sea is most noted for challenging whitewater, scenic campsites, and lack of civilization.
Machias (pronounced muh-CHAI-yus, the native American word for "bad run of water") was once a major migration route for the Passamaquoddy tribe whose ancestors carved the petroglyphs found in Machias Bay. The Machias river was once used for driving logs, the heyday of which ended in the late 1920's. In 1973 the last dam was removed from the Machias river returning it to it's natural, free-flowing state. Although the river has been recognized for it's exceptional beauty, the Machias' wild, free-flowing nature is perhaps as equally responsible for the river's notoriety among canoeists.
The Machias river features a number of technically demanding rapids, the nature of which can change as water levels fluctuate with spring run-off and precipitation. These rapids are spread throughout the course of the river so scouting will be part of the daily routine. While scouting, your guide will provide options for negotiating the rapids.
Our Machias river trips are run with the goal of enjoying a positive and challenging wilderness canoeing experience. Participants interested in running the Machias river from headwaters to the sea should be confident in their wilderness camping and canoeing abilities including lining and portaging.
By mid-may spring has a firm hold on the Machias watershed: the water levels have started to drop mellowing the rapids and fishing improves as water temperature begin to rise. Canoe trips during this part of the season start below 3rd Machias lake and can end at a number of access points down river depending on the length of the trip and water levels.
Recently, the state of Maine with several political, environmental, and land trust organizations ensured the river will forever be open to traditional uses by successfully protecting 250 miles of Machias river riparian zone and lake frontage through land acquisition and conservation easments.
We can arrange itineraries from 4-7 days on the Machias river. Trips are run at a moderate pace with emphasis on making an efficient morning start and a mid-afternoon camp. There will be a number of shorter breaks throughout the day with a longer stop during lunch. It is possible that a wide range of canoeing conditions will be experienced inlcuding strong winds, various precipitation, and class III+ rapids. Participants should be open to the possibilities of portaging gear around certain rapids in order to run empty canoes, lining loaded canoes through rapids, or portaging entirely.
While much attention will be given to negotiating the rapids responsibly, this aspect of the trip will not make up the entire day on river. There will be time to enjoy this pristine area through a number of activities like hiking, exploring, photography, fishing, evening campfires, and simply relaxing. Your guide(s) will prepare morning and evening meals over an open fire and while the weight of our provisions is a careful consideration, meals will still consist of appetizers, entree, dessert, wine with evening meal, and occasionally fresh-baked goods. Lunches will be buffet style and full of quick energy.
Canoeing instruction is a daily part of the trip and a specialty of our guides. Depending on your interests, your guide will help develop your skills or hone your technique in tandem canoeing, solo canoeing, poling a canoe, reading whitewater, river rescue, and wilderness camping.
The Machias river is great poling at lower water levels and there are a number of sections which are excellent to learn on.
Sunrise Canoe and Kayak specializes in running trips for private and corporate groups. As the only outfitter to provide a complete range of services for the Machias river including professional guides, staff, quality equipment, and support, Sunrise Canoe and Kayak is focused on helping your organization realize it's goals.