Kennebec River Ferry Service
The Kennebec River is the most formidable un-bridged crossing along the entire 2,185-mile Appalachian Trail.
The Kennebec is approximately 400 feet wide with a swift, powerful current under the best of circumstances. However, as a result of releases of water from hydroelectric facilities on the river, the depth and current of the river surge quickly and unpredictably. You cannot cross faster than the water level rises.
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy has contracted with
Greg Caruso of Maine Guide Service, LLC to provide the 2017 ferry service for AT hikers.
He may be contacted at (207) 858-3627 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Schedule for 2018
Download – 2018 Kennebec Ferry flyer – PDF
|May 25 – June 30||9 a.m. – 11 a.m.|
|July 1 – September 30||9 a.m. – 2 p.m.|
|October 1 – October 8||9 a.m. – 11 a.m.|
DO NOT ATTEMPT
- This ferry service — not fording — is the officially sanctioned means of crossing the Kennebec River on the Appalachian Trail. The A.T. was located here originally because of the existence of a ferry to provide access to Pierce Pond for visiting sportsmen.
- Hikers must meet the ferry on either the east or west banks of the Kennebec River at the point of the AT crossing. If the ferry is on the opposite side, making yourself visible to the ferry operator will assure a timely crossing.
- Hikers will be required to sign a release form, wear a life jacket, and follow the instructions of the ferry operator. If river conditions or weather make the crossing dangerous in the judgment of the ferry operator, the service will be discontinued until conditions improve.
- Large groups – please call ahead to indicate when you will need the ferry service. No camping and no fires are permitted within the Trail corridor on either side of the Kennebec River. Camping and fires are permitted only at designated campsites.
- This service is provided only for users of the Appalachian Trail and is not available to the general public.
- For service outside of the regular season (see the above dates) there is a $50 fee per crossing (one or two hikers). Please plan ahead and call or e-mail well in advance. Absolutely no service will be available between November 1st and April 30th.
2017 Kennebec River Ferry Report
Greg Caruso, Maine Guide Service, LLC
I am happy to report that the 2017 Appalachian Trail Kennebec River Ferry season has come to a close without injury or incident of any kind related to the ferry. Again, we had a record number of hikers this year. The final numbers for the season break down as follows:
- Southbound through hikers: 428
- Northbound through hikers: 1,302
- Flip Flop through hikers, heading south when they crossed the river: 142
- Flip Flop through hikers, heading north when they crossed the river: 133
- Southbound section hikers: 181
- Northbound section hikers: 265
- Southbound organized groups: 122
- Northbound organized groups: 170
- Day use hikers: 69
- Total hikers using the Ferry Service during the 2017 season: 2,812
- We also took 48 dogs across the river this season.
- Confirmed Forders/Swimmers: 4
As in seasons past, a small minority of hikers chose to ford the river in 2017. I am encouraged by the fact that the number has been getting smaller over the past 2 seasons. Again, I have heard a few scary stories of hikers who have attempted to ford after hours and have had to be rescued by locals living downstream. I hope that by having a good understanding of the water flows and the need to plan ahead for the crossing, hikers can avoid any dangerous incidents. The river and natural stream flows can fluctuate dramatically at any time due to many conditions. The water flow from the hydro dam, 17 miles upriver, guarantees that the water will rise 2 feet or more after 2pm daily at the crossing site, within a matter of minutes. This is directly due to federal licensing agreements with the local rafting companies and other entities, making an already hazardous crossing, even more dangerous, in the late afternoon and evening.
I was again very fortunate to have the assistance of some very skilled and experienced help at the ferry crossing. Many thanks go to Registered Maine Guides Rob Starbird, Missy Herrick, Craig Dickstein, Mike McConnell, Dan Davis, Mike Pilsbury and John Philbrick for their hard work and caring service.
I am very proud to be part of a long tradition of safety and service at the AT Kennebec River Ferry Service. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of the AT experience.
Maine Guide Service, LLC
Donations to help defray the cost of providing the Ferry Service are welcome.
Click the Donate Now Link or
Send your donation to the MATC, P.O. Box 283, Augusta, ME 04332.