St. John River

Sunrise on the St. John River.
Sunrise on the St. John River.

About the River

The St. John River canoe trip begins at 5th St. John Dam and continues 154 miles to the town of St. Francis.  The river is accessible by vehicle from logging roads or you can hire a plane to fly you and your canoe to Fifth St. John Pond or Baker Lake.  The St. John River can only be paddled during high-water, at least 3,000 cfs as measured from the Dickey gauge station.  Any lower and you won’t be paddling the St. John, you’ll be dragging and portaging the St. John.  Believe me, that isn’t much fun, speaking from experience!  The month of May is usually the best time to paddle the river, although sometimes you can still paddle the river into mid-June.

Water Trail Facts

Location:  Start from any number of locations and end anywhere from the town of Allagash to St. Francis
Length:  154 miles (from 5th St. John dam to the town of St. Francis)
Duration:  5-7 days, depending on where you launch
Difficulty:  moderate to high (class III rapids)
Water flow:  minimum of 3,000 cfs to run, nearly continuous current for 110 miles
Portages:  none!
Features:  river flows south to north

Outdoor Opportunities

Camping, Canoeing & Kayaking, Fishing, Wildlife Watching

Resources & Maps

Contact Information

Maine Warden Service
Ashland Regional Headquarters
64 Station Road P.O. Box 447
Ashland, ME 04732

North Maine Woods
P.O. Box 421
Ashland, Maine 04732

Maine Forest Service
Northern Region Headquarters
45 Radar Rd, Ashland, ME 04732