"Keep the round side down, the hollow side up, and the pointy-end going first.
The destination is irrelevant." - Robert Brown; Registered Maine Guide
Know the Map: River Access Points
Ask yourself the following questions before getting on the river:
Where are you beginning and ending your trip? Everyone in your group should know the plan.
Do you have enough time to get from Point A to Point B?As a general rule, most boating groups travel at about 2mph. Tubes and floats take three to four times longer than boats. Plan accordingly
When you get off the river, do you have a ride back to your vehicle?
Popular TripsTIME ESTIMATES DEPEND ON RIVER CONDITIONS
TUBE TRIPS: -Swan's Falls to Canal Bridge ~ 4-5+ hours by float -Weston's Beach to Swan's Falls~ 6+ hours by float
DAY TRIPS (BOATS): -Swan's Falls to Canal Bridge~ 1-2 hours paddling -Swan's Falls to Walker's Bridge~ 5-6 hours paddling
OVERNIGHT TRIPS: -Swan's Falls to Walker's Bridge~ 1 day paddling, easy -Swan's Falls to Lovewell Pond~ 1.5 days paddling, easy -Swan's Falls to Brownfield Bridge~ 2 days paddling, easy -Swan's Falls to Hiram Allow 3 days minimum for this option.
Tubes and floats take 2-3 times longer than a boat!
There are mile markers along the Saco River from Swan's Falls to the Brownfield Bridge. Always be aware of where you are in case you need to call for help. This will save precious time and help our first responders get to you in a timely manner.
Parking and Access
The following parking areas are managed by the SRRC. All cars left in these lots must have a valid parking pass.
Weston's Beach in Fryeburg offers free day parking only. No overnight parking allowed. There is limited parking available at the Lovewell Pond Landing in Fryeburg at no cost. Walker's Bridge is a privately owned and operated fee parking area.
Maine State Law requires each passenger on board to have a properly fitted personal floatation device (PFD)
Children aged 10 and under must wear a PFD at all times while aboard a watercraft
PFDs must be type I, II, or III, U.S. Coast Guard approved, and wearable
Cushions do not count as required safety information
Boats longer than 16ft must have a throwable PFD
Life jackets are not required for anyone over the age of 10 using an open bottom tube, but are still recommended.
Floats and inflatables with solid or mesh bottoms do require PFDs.
The Maine Warden Service recommends that everyone wear his or her lifejacket while boating or floating on the Saco River.
Attention: TUBES AND FLOATS TAKE TWO - THREE TIMES LONGER THAN A BOAT. Shortest section from Swans Falls to Canal Bridge is a 4-5+ hour float. Plan accordingly. Westons beach to Swans Falls can take 7 HOURS BY FLOAT!
The Saco River Recreational Council would like to welcome and encourage everyone to come and enjoy a wonderful excursion on the Saco River.
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?
Everyone in the group needs to know the plan.
Where do you begin and where do you end your trip?
Where are you camping?
What are the laws?
What are the weather and river conditions?
There is a limit to the amount of alchohol transported into Maine from out of state.
~~avg paddling time 2 mph * ATTN TUBES AND FLOATS- tubes and floats take 3 times longer than boats. Aprrox 5-6 hours from Swans to Canal, depending on conditions. Call for questions! ~~ THERE ARE MILE MARKERS ALONG THE SACO RIVER FROM SWANS FALLS TO HIRAM. ALWAYS BE AWARE OF WHERE YOU ARE IF YOU NEED TO CALL FOR HELP. THIS WILL SAVE PRECIOUS TIME AND HELP OUR FIRST RESPONDERS GET TO YOU IN A TIMELY MANNER.
SACO RIVER ACCESS POINTS
Please come for an enjoyable trip while being respectful of the river and the rights of others.
Destination-If you have your own canoe, how long of a trip do you want to take, use the maps and charts above? Where are you going to start and end? This will depend on how long and how much you want to travel or paddle. Check maps above for mileage and access information. Are you leaving a vehicle at the other end or are you arranging a pick up from a canoe livery etc?
Overnight trips-Where are you staying? There are some non posted private beaches where you can stay if respectful and carry out what you bring in or there are some very nice campgrounds that you can paddle to and have the amenities you need, such as outhouses, dumpsters, stores, picnic tables and more. There is a FEE at these campgrounds, again check our website or call for more information.
Life vests are required for every person in the boat. 10 years of age and under must wear them!
Fire permits are required for sandbars and beaches only. Fires in the woods are not allowed.
Make sure you have the necessary fishing licenses and boat registrations. All boats or crafts with motors must be registered and have a milfoil sticker. Make sure all motors and boats are clean to prevent the spread of invasive plants.
The amount of alcohol being transported from out of state will be monitored as there are limits. You can not transport more than 1 gal of wine, 1gal spirit, 30 pack of beer per vehicle into Maine.
No kegs allowed on the river.
Firewood can not be transported from out of state due to the invasive insects that are threatening our trees and spreading in New England.
Fireworks are illegal along the Saco River.
Parking-areas along the Saco do charge a fee. All money raised in these parking areas go back into the river for cleanup, education, trash removal and law enforcement.
Weather and river conditions-always check for the latest weather and river conditions as they can change overnight, heavy rain can cause rising rivers very quickly.
Pack accordingly, bring sunscreen, bug repellent and rain gear if necessary.
DRIVERS SECURE YOUR KEYS, CLIP TO YOUR CANOE OR KAYAK OR EVEN, SECURED TO YOUR COOLER.
Everyone on the trip should know the plan and where the vehicles are left in case you are seperated. Have an emergency phone number written down in your vehicle or in a safe place in case of loss of cell phones!
The Saco River Recreational Council and its partners, The Nature Conservancy, Leave No Trace, law enforcement, and private property owners on the river want everyone to come out and have an enjoyable time on the river while being safe and being respectful of the environment and everyone around you. PLEASE help us protect this river so everyone can have an enjoyable experience on this one of a kind recreational river in the White Mountains and Saco River Valley.
Please help protect this river by carrying everything out and respecting all laws of the river. FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL along the Saco River.
Try this carry out method for human waste on the river or use the outhouses located at all take out points.Restop carry out bags. Restop.com
Please always carry out what you bring in. Dumpsters and outhouses are located at all take out points and campgrounds along the river.
"I think it much better that, as we all go along together, that every man paddle his own canoe."- Character of 'The Indian' in The Settlers in Canada by Captain Marryat (1844)
$250 BARGE PERMITS REQUIRED
Date launching barge________________
Date removing barge_________________ Reciept #_________________
I the undersigned am registering a barge or manmade water craft for recreational use on the Saco River in Fryeburg, Maine.
I understand the Town of Fryeburg has passed an ordinance requiring registration of all manmade barges or flotillas used for recreational purposes on the Saco River in Fryeburg, Maine.
All manmade barges or flotillas must obtain a refundable $250 permit to be carried with them on the river. These permits can be obtained at Swans Falls Campground. Refunded at Swans Falls with proof of removal off the river. Any barge permittees who do not remove barges from the river will forfeit their deposit.
If the barge has a motor Maine State law requires it to have a boat registration and milfoil sticker. This form must be kept with you on the barge and returned to the Saco River Recreational Council upon return. Failure to have required permits could result in fines or further actions by the Saco River Patrols.
Barges that are deemed to be dangerous or a hazard will not be allowed. Failure to remove the entire barge and follow all laws may result in fines or further police action. Manmade barges and flotillasŁ are not recommended by the Saco River Recreational Council or any local or state agencies. These vessels are difficult to maneuver in this river and are the full liability of the registered owner/s. Go to sacorivercouncil.org or to Fryeburg police website for details on this ordinance
Form of Payment: Cash or pre-approved credit card payment only
Will be returned to you with proof of removal off river and ID.
City and State_____________________
Phone number_____________________ This form must be filled out completely
FIREWOOD ALERT! LEAVE YOUR FIREWOOD AT HOME. IT IS THE LAW! Buy where you are camping. BeetleBusters LEAVE NO TRACE CENTER FOR OUTDOOR ETHICS
Thank you to LNT for all of thier assistance through the years helping us get the word out about respecting nature and our environment including the Saco River.
Please support the Leave No Trace Travelling Trainers and LNT programs by becoming a member today