Boating in Baxter State Park
Baxter Park provides many opportunities to canoe, kayak and boat in the Park. Canoes and kayaks are available for rent ($1/hr - honor system) at every pondside campground in the Park and canoes are available at most backcountry ponds with trail access. Most backcountry leantos located on a lake or pond have a dedicated canoe for campers staying at the site.
- South Branch Pond, Photo Courtesy of Terese M Winkler
Most of the backcountry canoes, paddles and life vests are locked and require a key available from the nearest campground or gatehouse for use. Keys should be returned promptly when leaving the campsite or backcountry pond so others can use the canoes.
Most Park ponds are modest in size, but some, like Matagamon, Webster, Wassataquiok and Katahdin Lakes are large enough that canoeists should keep an eye on the weather and changing winds to ensure a safe and dry return to shore.
Opportunities for whitewater canoeing in the Park are limited. Webster Stream includes class 1, 2 and 3 waters and a class 5 drop at Grand Pitch. Water levels in Webster Stream are strongly influenced by rain events as well as changes in the dam gates upsteam at Telos Dam. The remoteness of Webster Stream limits canoeing on this stream to parties that have reserved at least one campsite in the Park and Park policy requires that parties canoeing Webster spend the previous night at Webster Outlet or another site on Webster Lake to provide sufficient time to paddle the 9 mile stream and reach another campsite on Matagamon Lake or exit the Park via Trout Brook Farm.
Motors are not permitted on most Park ponds, but are allowed on Matagamon, Webster and Nesowadnehunk Lakes. The use of motors 10 HP or less are permitted on Upper and Lower Togue Pond.
The water quality and wild brook trout of Baxter State Park depend on you! Maine law requires boaters to take all necessary precautions to avoid spreading aquatic invasives. All boats, canoes, kayaks and personal gear, equipment and gear should be cleaned properly at home before entering Baxter State Park. This includes waders, wading shoes, kayak rudders, PFD’s, floats, paddles, etc. Please call (207) 723-8537 if you have any questions on this.