Considered the waterway equivalent of the Appalachian Trail, the NFCT is a 740 mile-long paddling route that starts in the Adirondacks. Paddlers from around the world start right here to begin a "thru paddle" to the end of the route in Fort Kent, Maine. You don't have to go all the way to the end to enjoy part of this scenic paddle. Bring your own craft or opt to rent from a local outfitter, who will have plenty of tips on the best spots for wildlife viewing, mountain views, and more.
How to get there
Start at the western terminus of the canoe trail at the public beach in Old Forge. Our tip: to combine camping and paddling, consider a stay at Eighth Lake State Campground, which provides access to Seventh and Eight Lakes, has excellent fishing, a sandy swimming beach, and canoe and boat rentals.
Paddling and Portage
The canoe trail can be done in small segments for just a few hours or several days. Be on the lookout for motorboats on larger bodies of water, like Fourth Lake. There are three portages between Old Forge and Raquette Lake: 0.4 mile between Fifth and Sixth Lakes, 1.0 mile between Seventh and Eighth Lakes, and 1.5 miles from the end of Eighth Lake to Browns Tract Inlet.
Using the NFCT's handy interactive trip planner, you can explore section one to help you plan your ideal trip on the trail, whether it's for a few hours or a few days. The trip planner shows portages, campgrounds and sites, dining options, and the all-important fastwater sections, so that you go into your trip well-informed and prepared.