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Explore the historically important canoe routes that Henry David Thoreau travelled during his treks to Maine with Wabanaki guides in 1857. The native Wabanaki, or “people of the dawn land,” have traveled these waters by canoe for thousands of years. Overland portages of their canoes between rivers, lakes, and ponds made long-distance trips possible. On our expedition, we do as the ancient Wabanaki and Thoreau did, using canoes and our own strength to explore this place of legends.

Note to participants: We’ve designed the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail trip to be the perfect preparation for the George River Expedition.

Experience Katahdin Woods by Canoe

This trip begins at Rockwood on the northwestern shore of Moosehead Lake. We paddle the expansive waters of Moosehead, passing Kineo Mountain and continuing on to Northeast Carry where the group reaches the West Branch of the Penobscot. We then spend three days canoeing down the West Branch of the Penobscot River before portaging into the Allagash Wilderness Waterway via the notorious Mud Pond Carry.

We travel east from there, exit the Allagash at Telos Dam, and then paddle through the northern most region of Baxter State Park on Webster Brook, which Thoreau referred to as somewhat like ”navigating a thunder spout.”

After Webster Brook, we voyage down the East Branch of the Penobscot River to Whetstone Falls, paddling through the magnificent Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. This beautiful area offers challenging whitewater paddling for participants to enjoy as they hone their camping and whitewater canoeing skills.

To learn more about the route of the Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail, go to As with all Chewonki trips, “Leave No Trace” ethics underlie our approach to the places we visit. As a result, participants learn to live and travel responsibly in the outdoors.