The St. Croix river flows along the US-Canadian border in eastern Maine. As one of Maine's most outstanding river trips, the St. Croix features a near perfect blend of natural scenery, moderate whitewater, wilderness campsites, and excellent fishing. The St. Croix is a Canadian Heritage River, a distinction honoring the natural, recreational, and historic values of the waterway.
Water levels in the St. Croix are regulated by a paper company owned dam giving the river reliable water levels throughout the May-October season. The upper river features numerous short stretches of class I-II whitewater best characterized as lively yet not intimidating. There are no portages on the upper river.
The St. Croix is exceptionally suited for parties of mixed ability since trips can be planned during the warm summer months and the rapids are perfect for learning and practicing basic canoeing technique. Experienced canoeists will appreciate the St. Croix's relaxed, playful nature and a great opportunity to share a river adventure with family and friends.
|Dates:||3 or 4 days, May-October|
30% non-refundable deposit to confirm dates
Balance due 2 weeks prior to trip
|Where:||Trip meets in either Machias or Princeton, Maine|
|Included:||all canoeing and camping gear, all meals on-river, transportation arrangements to and from the river from Princeton, guide services.|
|Not included:||sleeping bags, personal items/clothing (a packing list will be provided), personal beverages, guides gratuities, fishing licenses.|
|Reservations:||Sunrise Canoe and Kayak|
Our canoe trips are led by Master Maine Guides who have worked as professional river guides for over 20 years. All of our guides share an emphasis for safety and education as well as a passion for river trips.
Our goal is to meet if not exceed your expectations while providing a river trip you will not soon forget. Your trip forms are very helpful to us in striving to meet this goal. Each individual should fill out and return a completed trip form to us at their earliest convenience.
Your guide will be in contact with you prior to your trip to answer any questions you might have concerning the trip or preparing for it. Your guide will also want your input in preparing the menu for the trip and may have specific questions for you after receiving your trip forms.
Your guide(s) will meet you the morning of your trip and travel to the put-in. At the put-in, they will cover canoe packing procedures and conduct a basic dry-land canoeing/river orientation including a safety briefing. Then you will put in and head down river where you will encounter rapids on your first day!
The first 10 miles of the St. Croix are like river canoeing 101- perfect for teaching and practicing basic whitewater canoeing skills. During the first day and following morning of your trip, your guide will cover basic river canoeing with your party and provide detailed tandem canoeing instruction for those interested.
Solo canoeing is a specialty of your guides and if you are interested they will be happy to teach you the skills you need to paddle your own canoe down the rapids. Solo canoeing is a rewarding challenge and the St. Croix is a great river to learn on.
Canoe poling is another skill your guides rely on and will be happy to teach you the basics. The middle sections of the river are the best stretches to learn poling on and poling is easier if you are in a solo canoe. If you are taking a solo canoe, make sure to tell your guides to bring a setting pole for you as well.
Camping is at designated primitive sites along the river. These sites will have as a picnic table, established fire ring, privy, and spots for setting up your tent. Other than these few simple improvements there are no other services available along the river.
At your first camp, your guide(s) will assist you in setting up your tenting area for the first time including instruction on pitching your tent if you are using an unfamiliar model. After that there is time for swimming, fishing, or just relaxing while dinner is being prepared by your guide(s) over an open fire.
Morning and evening meals are prepared by your guide over an open fire. The entrees change each day. Typical morning meals include ham and eggs, french toast and bacon, and pancakes with sausage accompanied with fresh fruit, cereal, juice, coffee, and tea. Evening meals include chicken stir fry, breaded pork chops with green beans, marinated steak with rice, or pasta dishes with a hearty red or white sauce accompanied by appetizer, wine, and dessert. Lunches are buffet style with deli meats and cheeses, bread or wraps, fresh fruits and vegetables, pickles, chips, and cookies.
Your guide will go over the planned menu with you before your trip and welcome any input regarding personal preference or dietary requirements you may have outlined on your trip-forms.
Fishing on the St. Croix is excellent given the river's healthy population of smallmouth bass. River bass seem to fight harder making the readily available 10"-12" fish very entertaining, especially on light rigging. There are larger ones though. Landlocked salmon and brook trout are present but become increasingly difficult to target as water temperatures rise in late spring.
If you plan to fish, a Maine fishing license is required. 3-day, 7-day, and seasonal licenses can be obtained online through the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website (http://www.maine.gov/ifw/licenses_permits/fishing.htm) or at most fishing supply retailers.
Bald eagles are common sightings on the St. Croix and those with a keen eye may spot a couple nests along the way. Moose, white-tailed deer, black bear, and coyote also inhabit the St. Croix valley. Seeing a coyote or a black bear is extremely rare. It is possible to hear coyotes in the evening.
Bears along the waterway have not been a problem which may be an indication of how little use the river actually sees over the course of a year. While it is common to see another party or two on river during the peak of the summer it is rare that a party can not procure it's own campsite. In any case, the amount of use seems insufficient to attract regular nocturnal visitors, even smaller ones.
We will canoe to our take-out point on the morning of the last day planning to arrive there by noon. If your vehicle is parked in the Princeton area this will ensure you are back at your vehicle and off to your next adventure by 2:30 pm. If we are transporting you party back to the Bangor area this will ensure we back at your hotel by 4:30 pm.
The St. Croix river is particularly well suited for organized groups of any kind including youth groups and paddling clubs. The challenge and accomplishment of running the rapids on this wild stretch of river is not only fun but an excellent team-building and bonding experience. If your group is interested by all means get in touch with us.
St. Croix river trips can be scheduled throughout the season with July, August, and September providing both warm weather and warm water. Fall trips are a treat, if you have the flexibility and the inclination to go, by all means give us a call.
We typically run trips of 3-8 participants with 1 or 2 guides. Many of our trips are single party groups or families with 3-6 people. A second guide will be added to your trip if there are at least 7 participants however a second guide may be added to your trip regardless of the number of participants.
St. Croix river trips are generally 3-4 days in length and explore the upper river starting at Vanceboro and continuing down river as far as the Grand Falls Power Station. If schedules allow, trips of 4-6 days can be arranged by beginning on the head water lakes giving participants a day or two of wilderness lake paddling before entering the river.
If you are arriving by car, your St. Croix river trip will meet either in Machias or Princeton. If you are arriving in Bangor by plane we can meet you at your hotel and provide transportation for your party (up to 8 participants) round trip from Bangor for an additional fee of $240.
Contact Sunrise Canoe and Kayak, Rob Scribner