Redux Paddle Routes

This story featured in the March 2013 issue.

Photos: Peter Bower

Photos: Peter Bower

By Conor Mihell

These paddle routes will have you in the wake of explorers, fur traders and wilderness visionaries on waterways that have only improved with the passage of time.

Thoreau’s North Woods

From Chamberlain Lake to the confluence with the St. John River, the Allagash flows nearly 100 miles through lakes, ponds, runnable Class I to III whitewater, falls and short portages, making this the quintessential seven- to 10-day Maine canoe trip.

The Voyageur's Highway

Two hundred years ago, the polished granite shores of Ontario's French River echoed with the chansons of the voyageurs, those jaunty and tireless canoemen who were the engines of the Canadian fur trade.

On the Trail of Lewis and Clark

Central Montana's Upper Missouri River proved to be one of the most challenging and inspiring parts of the Corps of Discovery's 1804-1806 expedition across America.

The Singing Wilderness

Few had a greater impact on protecting wild places in the 20th century than writer and naturalist Sigurd Olson (1899-1982), whose collection of lyrical stories immortalized the Boundary Waters Canoe Area.

Powell Country

A hard-ass, one-armed Civil War veteran named Major John Wesley Powell led the first team to descend the turbulent waterways that have since become America's best-known rafting rivers.

The River of No Return

Whitewater paddlers ought to thank the late U.S. Senator Frank Church, the father of the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, for legislation to preserve free-flowing rivers. Closest to Church's heart was Idaho's Salmon River.