Northern Forest Canoe Trail
|Northern Forest Canoe Trail|
|Location||Northeastern United States|
|Length||740 mile (1,190 km)|
|Trailheads||Old Forge, New York,
Fort Kent, Maine
|Difficulty||Moderate to Strenuous|
|Portages||62 (55 miles / 90 km)|
|Lakes and Ponds||56|
|Rivers and Streams||22|
|Season||Summer to Fall|
Class III, IV white water
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) is a 740-mile (1,190 km) marked canoeing trail in the northeastern United States and Canada, extending from Old Forge in the Adirondacks of New York to Fort Kent, Maine. Along the way, the trail also passes through the states and provinces of Vermont, Quebec, and New Hampshire. The trail was opened on June 3, 2006.
The trail has been likened to a water version of the Appalachian Trail, and there are many similarities: both are long-distance trails that most people will use for day trips or short overnight trips; many of those who paddle the entire trail will do so in sections. Unlike the AT, the NFCT obtains access for campsites and portages through landowner permission rather than through land protection. Also, many sections of the trail require a high level of skill to complete.
The trail is divided into 13 sections: Adirondack Country (West) New York, Adirondack North Country (Central) New York, Adirondack Country (East) New York, Islands and Farms Region Vermont, Upper Missisquoi Valley Vermont/Quebec, Northeast Kingdom Quebec/Vermont, Great North Woods New Hampshire, Rangeley Lakes Region Maine, Flagstaff Region Maine, Greater Jackman Region Maine, Moosehead/Penobscot Region Maine, Allagash Region (South) Maine, and Allagash Region (North) Maine. Each of these sections has been mapped and documented in order to establish the trail. Trail towns include Old Forge and Saranac Lake in New York, and Rangeley, Maine.
The trail covers 56 lakes and ponds, 22 rivers and streams, and 62 "carries" (portages) totaling 55 miles (89 km). On some sections of the trail, portage trails, campsites, and access areas are marked with Northern Forest Canoe Trail medallions, a yellow diamond with blue lettering.
The American Canoe Association has named the NFCT an ACA-Recommended Water Trail.
Nicole Grohoski and Thomas Perkins of Ellsworth, Maine were the first to officially through-paddle the trail in 2006, traveling the length of the trail in about 45 days. Donnie Mullen paddled the trail in 2000 before its official opening, taking about 55 days but doing so without the signs and maps that are available today. The fastest thru-paddle was completed in 2007 by Alexander Bailey Martin and Benjamin Reilly; the trip took them over 32 days.
Northern Forest Canoe Trail literature
"Paddling the Northern Forest Canoe Trail" by Sam Brakeley - a narrative of a 2009 thru-paddle in journal form.