Four Ways to Paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail

For Immediate Release
August 4, 2010

Contact: Kate Williams, Executive Director
Northern Forest Canoe Trail
802-496-2285 or

WAITSFIELD, Vt. – Stretched across a map, the Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) can look challenging even to the most experienced paddlers. Fortunately, a one-way trip from New York to Maine isn’t the only way to enjoy the 740-mile recreational waterway.NFCT Overview Map

With many waterside accommodations and 13 mapped sections across New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine, the NFCT is a destination for canoe and kayak day trips, overnights, section paddling and through paddling.

Day Tripping
The NFCT has dozens of public access points in each state, making it easy to launch on a lake, pond or river and enjoy a paddle for part or all of a day. Start on a river that runs into a lake, and paddle to a waterside or island campsite for picnicking, fishing or reading a book.

Day tripping on the NFCT is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day, or to see vibrant fall foliage away from crowded roads. Check out the one-day itineraries on the Plan A Trip section of the NFCT website.

Paddlers can spend one night or more along the NFCT thanks to a range of trailside accommodations from primitive campsites with a picnic table, fire ring and outhouse, to public campgrounds, inns and B&Bs. Spend a weekend canoe camping on the lazy Connecticut River, or travel inn-to-inn on the Fulton Chain of Lakes in New York.

Maine’s 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway is a popular camping trip on the NFCT. It is one of many sections of the trail that can be enjoyed with the help of outfitters or guides. Pre-planned multi-day vacation packages are also offered along the trail. Learn about them here.

Section Paddling
Section paddling is a way to cover every mile of the NFCT by taking multiple trips over the course of months or years. Spend a week or more each spring, summer or fall paddling portions of the trail’s 13 mapped sections. Section paddlers generally complete all miles in one state before starting in another, but the goal of covering every mile can be achieved any way you like.

Solo paddlers, couples and families have taken up section paddling on the trail. This method of experiencing the NFCT allows paddlers as much time as they want to witness the natural beauty of the trail and its interesting communities. Follow NFCT section paddler blogs here.

Through Paddling
The NFCT’s recent end-to-end paddlers – a Utah couple with no canoeing experience, and a 67-year-old man new to kayaking – have proven that anyone can complete the 740-mile paddle with planning and patience. The through paddle is typically a 40 to 50-day undertaking if you have a partner, and can be more if you go solo. The canoe is the preferred boat of through paddlers because it can hold more supplies and food than a kayak, and it is easier to portage.

Paddlers travel east from New York to Maine, starting in May or June and typically cover 20-30 miles a day on the easiest sections of the trail. Wind on large lakes, Class II and III rapids on some rivers, and upriver paddling in three states and Québec can pose challenges to paddlers.

Nearly 30 documented people have completed the 740-mile trip, and many have blogged about their adventures. See their tales here.

The Official NFCT Guidebook includes a Through Paddler’s Guide for aspiring one-way paddlers, and is a great resource for all paddlers spending any amount of time on the trail. The book is available on the NFCT website, which also has an interactive Trip Planner Map Tool for learning about lodging, dining, attractions, services and vacation packages along specific sections of the trail.

To learn more about the Northern Forest Canoe Trail visit or call 802-496-2285.


About the Northern Forest Canoe Trail: The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is a 740-mile inland paddling trail tracing historic travel routes across New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire, and Maine. NFCT, Inc. is internationally regarded as the preeminent water trail organization in North America, and connects people to the Trail’s natural environment, human heritage, and contemporary communities by stewarding, promoting, and providing access to canoe and kayak experiences along this route.


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