Canoe Camping - Penobscot River, Maine

Upper West Branch Penobscot River and Chesuncook Lake

August 2nd - 5th 2009

Ever since the epic Maine 2003 trip, I wanted to go back. There is just something about the great north woods of Maine that makes me feel at home.

We enjoy canoeing and camping and thought why not combine the two. Typically we have backpacked on our multi-day camping trips. Something about being able to not worry about weight as much and spending more time enjoy the camp life was very appealing.

We targeted the upper west branch of the penobscot for it-s remote setting and docile waters. The fine folks at Katahdin Outfitters helped us plan the perfect trip. We left our car at the ranger station on Chesuncook lake and put-in at Lobster Stream on the river.

Here is a map of our course and our camps:

View Maine 2009 in a larger map

Fishing was another draw for me. I had a great smallmouth bass day trip on the east branch back in 2003. The west branch is more known for it-s landloc salmon and brook trout. With the water being so high and being late in season, the fishing was less than stellar. I caught several creek chubs, perch and one small brook trout but not a single bass. I have to admit, I didn-t fish that hard, I was too busy enjoying the wilderness.

As you can see the camps were well established and for the most part very clean. Our favorite was the first on Big Island North. What a treat to be able spend the night in such a beautiful place. Jaimie was so relieved to see the well ventilated housed latrine. It was -a busy week- and we saw at most a group or two of people each day. The camps are quite far apart so settling in early is advised.

We had a wonderful trip and would highly recommend it!

Resources: - Google Maps - West Branch Penobscot River
- Katahdin Outfitters - Penobscot River



This was an awesome presentation! What time of year did you go? My buddy and I are planning for a mid-may trip. Also, what was your total cost for the trip?

Bob Patten

Hi Matt - just watched your 2009 video on youtube of your camping trip on the west branch of the penobscot. I grew up in Maine and spent lots of time in Baxter - live now in MA - but am planning a trip very similar to yours - probably solo - this September. Just wanted to thank you for the great video - can't wait to get out there.

I've been in contact with a couple of outfitters regarding shuttle service - Katahdin Outfitters no longer provides shuttles - I plan on meeting my shuttle service at the ranger station, he'll then ride with me in my vehicle to Lobster Stream put-in and take my vehicle back to the Ranger station.

Any advice, tips from your trip??

Bob Patten
Franklin, MA

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