City dwellers' salvation: Canoeing in New Hampshire

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of May 2-9, 1996
Pilgrimage to mountain biking mecca: Moab, Utah
City dwellers' salvation: Canoeing in New Hampshire
Adventure hikes at the Grand Canyon
East Coast beach vacations
Rafting Colorado's Animas River
Planning your next family-style ski vacation

City dwellers' salvation: Canoeing in New Hampshire
Question: Wanted for Memorial Day: three days, two nights of riverside camping/light canoe trip, within a four- to five-hour drive of New York City. Destination must include canoe-rental outfitter. Heard New Hampshire was nice, but can't find an outfitter. Please, oh please, help.

Peter Stern
New York (not exactly an outside mecca)
[email protected]

New Hampshire's Saco River is perfect for a long weekend: 43 miles of flatwater canoeing and riverside camping
Adventure Adviser: Don't worry! A long weekend escape from the madness of Manhattan is as easy as dodging fleeing city dwellers on the New England Thruway and driving six hours (hope you can handle it) to the Saco River in New Hampshire.

This three-day, 43-mile flatwater paddle starts in Center Conway, winds through a wide valley of lush green forests and farmlands, crosses the Maine border, and winds up in the small town of Hiram. The water's clean and shallow, and you can picnic and camp almost anywhere. Best of all, you'll have only two portages to contend with--one optional 20-yard end run around the remains of a wooden dam at Walker's Falls, and a mandatory 300-yard schlep around the mini-hydro dam at Swan's Falls.

Bring your fishing rod and bathing suit, since brook trout and bass are abundant, as are swimming holes and riverside beaches. Be sure to check out the mile-long side channel to Lovewell Pond--about 21 miles downstream from Center Conway, for spectacular views of Mount Washington and other peaks in the Presidential Range. When it comes time to pitch your tent, you'll have your pick of four commercial campgrounds, two Appalachian Mountain Club campsites, or any one of the many unposted sandbars from the Maine state line to Hiram.

For rentals and shuttles, try Saco Bound (603-447-2177), Canal Bridge Canoes (207-935-2605), Saco River Canoe & Kayak (207-935-2369), or River Run (207-452-2500). For more information, contact the Appalachian Mountain Club, or check out "Our Favorite Places" in Outside's summer 1996 Family Vacations guide.

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