Kennebec River Ferry Service Paused (Again) Due to High Water Levels

The Kennebec River Ferry on the Appalachian Trail in Maine has temporarily paused service due to “extremely high water levels” on the river, according to an Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC) press release.

This is the second time in the past two weeks the ferry has been forced to stop operating due to high water levels. Service was originally suspended on June 20 and resumed when conditions on the river stabilized on June 24. The ATC has not released a prediction of when the ferry will reopen this time, but hikers should continue to monitor the organization’s website for updates.

Finding Safe Alternatives

Complete with a white blaze in the bottom of the canoe, the Kennebec River ferry is considered part of the AT’s official route. However, hikers detouring around the ferry closure will still be eligible for 2000-miler certificates. Photo: Maggie Wallace (2015)

The canoe ferry, which is operated by the Maine Appalachian Trail Club, was put in place to provide a safe crossing of the hazardous Kennebec River for AT thru-hikers. It is recognized as part of the AT’s official route.

The ATC warns hikers not to attempt to ford the Kennebec River at any time, as dam releases upstream can cause rapid changes in water depth and current.  During the ferry’s temporary closure, hikers should arrange to shuttle around the river crossing by road. Hikers detouring the Kennebec River closure will still be eligible for 2,000-miler certificates.

Among other options, the Hostel of Maine, located in Carrabasset Valley, is offering a paid shuttle around the Kennebec between Caratunk and either East Flagstaff Road (the northern access to the Bigelows) or Route 27 (Carrabassett/Stratton). The Hostel of Maine can be reached at 207-237-0088 anytime from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. or by email at [email protected].

READ NEXT – Appalachian Trail Shuttle List

Plan for High Water Levels Throughout the Region

After days of heavy rain, much of the northern Maine region surrounding the AT has experienced elevated streamflow and flooding. Late last week, Baxter State Park reported flooding on trails in the southern portion of the park, including several miles of the AT, with the water up to waist-deep in some places. The floodwaters there have since receded, but the region has continued to receive heavy rain, and more is expected starting on Sunday, July 2.

“River and stream crossings elsewhere in the northeast may also be dangerous to ford or impassable,” advised the ATC. “Hikers should exercise extreme caution and come prepared with extra supplies to either turn around, wait until waters recede, or find an alternative route.”

Featured image: The MATC canoe ferry crosses the Kennebec River with two thru-hikers in tow on a fairweather day. Via Appalachian Trail Conservancy.

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Comments 3

  • Robb : Jul 3rd

    If only there was some thing that went on top of the water that could be used to move across it… (seriously though, is the issue that the high level leads to more rapids or faster water which makes the canoe unsafe? Would a rowboat work better? I’m missing something here).

    • PCS : Jul 6th

      Yes, it’s about water safety and a volunteer passage…


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