Northern Forest Canoe Trail Video Resource
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail is one of America’s most beautiful and varied waterways—and also one of the longest at 740 miles…
The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) stretches across New York, Vermont, a tiny section of Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. Unrivaled wilderness beauty along with quaint and welcoming communities along the way help make this a paddler’s dream.
While a few hardy souls go through the lengthy preparation and are able to take the time for a through-paddle, most users of the NFCT paddle a section at a time.
Adventureitus Productions teamed up with several local organizations and businesses to produce a video series that gives paddlers a great overview of all 13 sections of the water trail.
These videos will help you know what to expect so you can plan ahead—whether for one segment, multiple segments or the entire Trail.
NFCT Segment 1 Video: The Fulton Chain
The Segment 1 video covers the first 43 miles starting at Old Forge Pond, by Old Forge, New York. There are seven portages in this section, some wheelable, and others not—including a 1.3 miler.
The longest portage is 1.5 miles, but thankfully, is wheelable. This section also gives you your first taste of downriver paddling on the Raquette River.
(Production partner: Mountainman Outdoor Supply Company)
NFCT Segment 2 Video: Long Lake to Saranac River
Segment 2’s video covers the next section, 42.5 miles, starting at the southeast tip of Long Lake. You continue down the Raquette River and into Stony Creek, an upstream paddle. You’ll make your way through several large lakes, plus the river paddling.
This section also provides a chance to go through a set of locks. There are three portages, with plenty of chances to carry your canoe!
(Production partner: The Wild Center)
NFCT Segment 3 Video: Saranac River to Lake Champlain
In 63-mile Segment 3, you’ll start at the town of Saranac Lake, New York—literally paddling through the town.
There are whitewater stretches in this section that can be run by skilled paddlers, or portages to take you around. There 12 portages, including 5-mile Casey Road portage—long, but wheelable.
(Production partner: Kokatat)
NFCT Segment 4 Video: Lake Champlain to Enosburg Falls
Lake Champlain is very large and can be intimidating—but don’t let it scare you off! It’s gorgeous with its surrounding mountains. Segment 4 also brings you through the 7,000-acre Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge.
Some upstream paddling in this 63-mile Segment 4, including lining your canoe up the rapids at times. Six portages, most of them wheelable.
(Production partner: Outdoor Gear Exchange)
NFCT Segment 5 Video: Missisquoi River to Lake Memphremagog
This is where your upstream paddling skills will be developed, if they haven’t already. You be enter Quebec in Segment 5, so be sure your passport is out and ready. Check in at the customs office.
The 5.7-mile Grand Portage is on this section (it’s wheelable). If you choose to opt out of it, Canoe & Co. will shuttle you! 45.5 miles of paddling, including three portages.
(Production partner: Canoe & Co.)
NFCT Segment 6 Video: Lake Memphremagog to Connecticut River
61.5 mile Segment 6 brings you back into the US. Again, be sure to check in at the customs office before you continue on.
You’ll paddle upstream on the Clyde River and into Vermont on the Nulhegan River, known for its high water quality, and then into New Hampshire. There are seven portages on this segment, mostly wheelable.
NFCT Segment 7 Video: Connecticut River to Umbagog Lake
Very peaceful downstream paddling on the Connecticut is a nice treat by this time. The route then takes you on the Upper Ammonoosuc and the Androscoggin. This is a challenging upstream section with up to Class III rapids.
64-mile Segment 7 includes five portages, all wheelable except the shortest.
(Production partner: Northern Waters Outfitters)
NFCT Segment 8 Video: Umbagog Lake to Rangeley Lake
Segment 8 is “the perfect ‘Welcome to Maine’ area.” Beautiful camping options abound in this area. This section is mostly lakes and the further you go, the more secluded it gets.
This section is 41 miles with six portages, almost all of which are wheelable.
(Production partner: Kokatat)
NFCT Segment 9 Video: Rangely Lake to Spencer Stream
47.5-mile Segment 9 is home to the Dead River, which can be too low to paddle later in the summer. It also gets quite close to the Appalachian (hiking) Trail in one area, close enough to check it out if you have the time.
The five portages in this section can be tough—one 4-miler is not wheelable, and a couple others are only wheelable in part.
(Production partner: Ecopelagicon)
NFCT Segment 10 Video: Spencer Stream to Moosehead Lake
By the time you get to Segment 10, you need to be prepared to take care of yourself. Spencer Stream is one of the most dreaded parts of the whole trail, but the reward to getting into Spencer Lake, one of the highlights.
This section is 65.5 miles and includes just four portages, but two of them are 3.6 and 5.5 miles long.
(Production partner: Cozy Cove Cabins)
NFCT Segment 11 Video: Moosehead Lake to Umbazooksus Stream
Some beautiful, remote country up here in Maine with lovely campsites and plenty of wildlife. A large portion of 49-mile Segment 11 is on the Penobscot River. There’s just one 2-mile portage in this section, which is wheelable.
NFCT Segment 12 Video: Umbazooksus Stream to Umsaskis Lake
The Allagash area, loaded with history and wildlife…as well as lots of mud on the portages! There’s a 5-mile stretch of rapids that you can choose to run. You have the option of shuttling your gear around them so you can paddle through with an empty canoe.
Segment 12 is 41 miles long with three portages, all relatively short, but mostly carry.
NFCT Segment 13 Video: Umsaskis Lake to St. John River
You get to end the NFCT on Segment 13, with a downriver paddle. There are plenty of campsites with little navigation needed. The Trail ends at Fort Kent, Maine.
This section on the Allagash River is an easy 77 miles. There are just two portages totaling .4 miles.
(Production partner: Northstar Canoes)
Click here for the Resource Page on the NFCT website.
Get our free download: “Basic Canoe Trip Checklist”
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