Sunrise Canoe and Kayak offers complete outfitting services including canoe rentals, river shuttles and fully outfitted St. Croix river canoe trips led by Master Maine guides.
The St. Croix river flows along the US-Canadian border in eastern Maine. Water levels in the St. Croix are regulated by a paper company owned dam giving the river reliable water levels throughout the May-October season. The upper river features numerous short stretches of class I-II whitewater best characterized as lively yet not intimidating. There are no mandatory portages on the upper river although for convenience, some parties choose to carry around or line over Little Falls and Canoose Ledge.
The St. Croix is exceptionally suited for parties of mixed ability since trips can be planned during the warm summer months and the rapids are perfect for learning and practicing basic whitewater canoeing technique. Experienced canoeists will appreciate the St. Croix's relaxed, playful nature and most importantly, a great opportunity to share a river with family and friends.
The upper river commences at the isolated village of Vanceboro, Maine and ends at the Grand Falls Power Station (Kellyland) nearly 35 miles down river. The trip can be extended by beginning on Spednic lake adding up to 15 miles of wilderness lake paddling and a short portage around the control dam in Vanceboro and can be extended even further by putting on on East Grand lake.
Depending on the size of your party, our driver(s) will meet you the morning of your trip with 1 ton passenger van(s), canoe trailer(s), and crew cab truck(s) along with your rental equipment.
If you are using basic shuttle we will load your gear into our vehicle(s), park your party's vehicle(s) in the Princeton area, and then transport your party and gear to your put-in on the river. Bangor shuttles are basic shuttles with and added fee.
If you elect to use a via shuttle we will load your gear into our vehicle(s), then travel together to your planned take-out on the river where you will park your party's vehicles, and then transport your party and gear to your put-in on the river. This arrangement is $100 less than the basic shuttle.
Camping is available on a first-come first-served basis at designated sites along the waterway most of which are managed by The St. Croix International Waterway Commission. These primitive sites will have a have a fire ring, picnic table, pit toilet, and generally 2-4 convenient tent sites. Other than these simple improvements, there are no other facilities available along the river corridor. Maps of the waterway are available for purchase directly from the SCIWC (www.stcroix.org).
Fishing on the St. Croix is excellent given the river's healthy population of smallmouth bass. River bass seem to fight harder making the readily available 10"-12" fish very entertaining, especially on light rigging. There are larger ones though. Landlocked salmon and brook trout are present but become increasingly difficult to target as water temperatures rise in late spring. If you plan to fish, a Maine fishing license is required. 3-day, 7-day, and seasonal licenses can be obtained through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/fishing.htm) or at most fishing supply retailers.
Bald eagles are common sightings on the St. Croix and those with a keen eye may spot a couple nests along the way. Moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, and coyote also inhabit the St. Croix valley. Seeing a coyote or a black bear is extremely rare. It is possible to hear coyotes in the evening.
Bears along the waterway have not been a problem which may be an indication of how little use the river actually sees over the course of a year. While it is common to see another party or two on river during the peak of the summer it is rare that a party can not procure it's own campsite. In any case, the amount of use seems insufficient to attract regular nocturnal visitors, even smaller ones.
The St. Croix river is the international border between the U.S. and Canada and as always when dealing with borders it is important everyone have identification with them. The best policy is to plan your trip to put in, camp, and take out on the same side of the river.
If you are using the basic shuttle then we will meet your party at your planned take-out at a predetermined date and time, load your party and gear into our vehicle(s), then return you to your vehicle(s) parked in the Princeton area or to your destination in the Bangor area.
If you elected to use a via shuttle then you will arrive at your planned take-out whenever you want, pack your gear into your vehicles which are parked there, secure our rental equipment per our instructions, and drive off to your next destination.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Princeton the night before your trip the Bellmard Inn (http://www.bellmardinn.com/) is convenient and reasonably priced.
If you are looking to camp, the Machias River Corridor Public Lands (http://www.maine.gov/cgi-bin/online/doc/parksearch/details.pl?park_id=90) is a great place to camp off of Route 9 about 30 minutes from Princeton.
The St. Croix river is particularly well suited for organized groups of any kind including youth groups and paddling clubs. The challenge and accomplishment of running the rapids on this wild stretch of river is not only fun but an excellent team-building and bonding experience.
Outfitted parties can choose any number of days and arrange access at a number of put-in and take-out points. Here are some suggested trips: 3 days- Vanceboro to Loon Bay, 4 days- Vanceboro to Kellyland, 5 days- Walker Cove to Kellyland, 6 days- Forest City to Kellyland. Parties with a stricter paddling agenda could easily shave a day off these itineraries maybe more depending on conditions and personal preference.
Our outfitting services include canoe rentals (Old Town Discovery 169 canoes with PFD's & paddles $35/day), equipment rentals (dry bags $5/day, tents $10/day, coolers $5/day), and shuttles.
The basic shuttle rate for the St. Croix river is $390 and accommodates up to 10 participants and gear (see "First Day Of Your Trip" and "Last Day Of Your Trip" above for details). Parties of more than 10 participants will require an additional vehicle for $210. Additional vehicles can be discounted equivalent to half of your rented equipment total up to the cost of the additional vehicle(s). Drop offs at Orient or pick ups at Loon Bay have an additional cost of $50 per vehicle.
The via shuttle rate for the St. Croix river is $290 and accommodates up to 10 participants and gear (see "First Day Of Your Trip" and "Last Day Of Your Trip" above for details). Parties of more than 10 participants will require an additional vehicle for $160. Additional vehicles can be discounted equivalent to half of your rented equipment total up to the cost of the additional vehicle(s). Drop offs at Orient or pick ups at Loon Bay have an additional cost of $50 per vehicle.
For parties arriving by car, oufitted trips for the St. Croix typically meet in Princeton, ME and we are happy to recommend accommodations in either Bangor or Princeton for the night prior to your trip. We ask that parties wishing to park vehicles in Princeton to please tip the landowner for this convenience.
If you plan to fly in to Bangor we can pick you up at your hotel and run your shuttle round trip from Bangor for an additional fee of $240 for up to 10 participants and gear. Discounts are available on Bangor shuttles to parties renting 3 or more canoes.
Contact Sunrise Canoe and Kayak, Rob Scribner