Location: Gilead to Bethel, Oxford County
Description: A six-mile excursion from Gilead to Bethel along a beautiful stretch of the Androscoggin River. The paddle, at a leisurely pace, takes three to four hours and winds through the spectacular beauty of the Mahoosucs, the northernmost extension of the White Mountains that extend across the border between Maine and New Hampshire. There are occasional Class I rapids and shallows where the river forks around small islands.
Activities: Paddling, birding, wildlife watching, photography
Favorite Season(s) to Visit: Late summer—early fall
Why It’s Special: I’d heard about the beauty of this paddle but experienced firsthand while helping lead an NRCM member paddle in September 2013. We saw lots of birds, including a family of Common Mergansers near the river bank and a Bald Eagle soaring overhead. This part of the river offers great fly-fishing, and one enthusiast in our group gave it a try. We enjoyed our picnic lunch on a small island in the river. It was a perfect, blue-sky day, and the temperature was ideal.
Tips: Contact Bethel Outdoor Adventures in Bethel to arrange a shuttle. They also rent gear, if you don’t have your own. The staff members are helpful and will explain which way to go as the river forks.
More Info and Directions: Launch is off Bridge Street in Gilead; ends at Bethel Outdoor Adventures in Bethel.