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Boating in Mt. Washington Valley


Mt. Washington Valley, NH is home to waterfalls, lakes, and of course, the well-known Saco River.

With all this water flowing through the valley, what are the best ways to play on it?

We’ll tell you! You can canoe and kayak on the Saco River; you can tube it; you can take a stand-up paddle board out on a lake, and even try some yoga on it. Or, you can hop aboard a replica of the famed Mississippi River Paddle Wheelers for a lake cruise.

Canoe, Kayak and Tube The Saco River:

Tubing down the Saco River is typically number one on a visitor’s Mt. Washington Valley, NH summer vacation bucket list. And if it’s on yours too, then book a trip with one of the valley’s canoe, kayak, and tube rental centers.

There are two that specifically cater to Saco River trips, Saco Canoe Rental Center, and Saco Bound. Choose how many miles you want to paddle or tube, and how long you want to be on the river for. Depending on your answer, the staff at each rental center will determine the appropriate launch for you and your group to leave from, and where to pick you up. Shuttle service is typically included in the fare of the boat rentals.

You can choose from one-mile trips to five-mile and upwards often-mile trips, that can last anywhere from three hours to upwards of seven hours. The type of boat you choose - whether it’s a canoe, kayak, or tube -also determines the amount of mileage you can do in one trip.

When paddling and tubing down the Saco River you’ll encounter sandy beaches, mountain views, maybe even some low-level rapids. But one thing is for sure, a river trip down the Saco River is a highlight for anyone planning a vacation in Mt. Washington Valley, NH.


Guided Kayak Trips:
The Saco River isn’t the only body of water to kayak in! Great Glen Trails offers three different types of adventures for those looking to kayak in Mt. Washington Valley; A Guided Wildlife Kayaking Tour, Sunset Kayaking Tour, and Whitewater Kayaking Clinic.

You can enjoy a leisurely wildlife kayaking tour for a half or whole day, where you will explore the Androscoggin River or Pontook Reservoir. You’ll search for signs of wildlife in, and on the river, glean insights from your guide on kayaking technique, as well as local anecdotes, and find time for swimming.  

Tin Mountain Conservation Center hosts regular lake outings and canoe and kayak trips. Stay tuned to its event calendar, as it posts seasonal events ranging from “Ladies of the Lake” kayak outings to full day canoe trips on surrounding lakes in the North Country.

Go Fishing:

Randy Ouellette, owner of Swift River Ghillie, is the real deal when it comes to fly fishing guiding in the White Mountain National Forest, (WMNF). He offers half-day and full-day Wade and Drift trips.

Wade trips are a great option for the beginner fisher to the intermediate. Those that book the wade excursion can expect to wear a range of minimal gear such as water shoes to wearing a full get-up of waders and boots. Randy will take you to spots on the Saco and Ellis Rivers to enjoy a mild and low-key day of fly-fishing, where new fly fishers learn the fundamentals and rules and regulations of the sport, safety training, and spend part of the day on a wade trip testing out techniques, and hopefully catching some fish.

Fly Fishing 101 is a four to five hour excursion and great for beginners, small groups looking to try something new, and past fly fishers wanting to shake the dust off and regain muscle memory.

More experienced fly fishers, and those looking to deepen their knowledge of fly fishing in the waters of the White Mountains will find a great match in Swift River Ghillie’s “Straight Wade Trips” or “Drift Trips.” These trips are a more technical experience that borders on a fly-fishing intensive, Swift River Ghillie offers half-day and full-day Drift trips, where you’re taken by boat to fishing spots on the Androscoggin or Connecticut River.

North Country Anglers is one of the oldest independent fishing shops in the New Hampshire! It offers a retail shop and guiding service, with the largest selections of flies in New Hampshire, with over 700 patterns. It also offers guiding services with a range of local guides who partner with the shop, and have extensive experience fishing the waters in Mt. Washington Valley.

Songo River Queen:
Cruise Long Lake in Bridgton, Maine by way of the Songo River Queen II! This 100-ton boat is a replica of the famed Mississippi River Paddle Wheelers, and holds up to 350 passengers and is handicapped accessible. Take in the sweeping mountain views that surround Long Lake from the Songo River Queen’s open upper deck, or fully enclosed lower deck. The boat’s route crosses both the Eastern and Western shores of Long Lake, which provides for two different sets of scenery during your trip, and round trips can last anywhere from 6 to 12 miles depending on the length of the trip chosen.

For complete trip planning resources and information, peruse the rest of this site, or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep.  To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to

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