While it’s more than feasible for experienced canoeists to brave either the Allagash  or St. John  by themselves, hiring a guide can make a trip more fun by providing information on natural and human history, and smoothing the logistics of boat travel in a remote area.
A good choice is Allagash Canoe Trips (207/237-3077, www.allagashcanoetrips.com ), a family-run business whose guides have more than 100 years of experience on the river between them. Chip Cochrane, his wife, Lani, and his father, Warren, lead week-long trips on the Allagash ($930 adults, $750 children under 18) that begin at Chamberlain Lake and include several scenic hikes along the way.
They also offer a shorter trip on the Allagash starting at Churchill Dam ($825 adults, $660 children), and a trip down the St. John River ($930 adults or teens) in early spring that begins with a floatplane ride to the upper ponds. Trips leave from Greenville with a shuttle service available from Bangor .