Imagine a place where the air is crisp and clean, the scenery is breathtaking, and the sound of rushing water is the only noise that breaks the serene silence. This is what awaits you when you embark on a hiking adventure to the majestic Fish River Falls in Fort Kent, Maine. Nestled in the heart of the North Maine Woods, this hidden gem offers a unique blend of untouched wilderness, exhilarating hiking trails, and awe-inspiring waterfalls that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a novice looking for a new adventure, the Fish River Falls trail is a must-visit destination.

Getting to Know Fish River Falls

Fish River Falls, also known as “The Grand Canyon of the East,” is a spectacular waterfall located on the Fish River, a major tributary of the St. John River. The falls drop approximately 40 feet into a deep, narrow gorge, creating a stunning spectacle that is a sight to behold. The surrounding area is a lush, verdant forest teeming with wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

The Hiking Trail

The Fish River Falls trail is a moderately challenging 1.7-mile loop that offers a variety of terrain and stunning views of the falls and the surrounding forest. The trailhead is located off Route 11, about 5 miles south of Fort Kent. The trail is well-marked and maintained, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels.

What to Expect on the Trail

The trail begins with a gentle descent through a mixed forest of spruce, fir, and hardwoods. As you continue along the trail, you’ll cross several small streams and pass through a beautiful grove of white birch trees. The trail then steepens as it approaches the falls, offering a challenging climb that is rewarded with stunning views of the waterfall and the Fish River gorge.

Wildlife and Flora

As you hike, keep an eye out for the abundant wildlife that calls this area home. You may spot moose, white-tailed deer, and a variety of bird species, including bald eagles and peregrine falcons. The forest is also home to a diverse array of plant species, including wildflowers, ferns, and mosses, adding to the trail’s natural beauty.

Planning Your Visit

Before embarking on your hiking adventure, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you prepare for your visit to Fish River Falls.

When to Visit

The Fish River Falls trail is open year-round, but the best time to visit is from late spring to early fall when the weather is mild and the trail conditions are optimal. During the winter months, the trail can be used for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

What to Bring

  • Sturdy hiking boots: The trail can be rocky and uneven in places, so it’s important to wear sturdy footwear that provides good ankle support.
  • Water and snacks: There are no facilities along the trail, so be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep you fueled and hydrated.
  • Camera: You’ll want to capture the stunning views of the falls and the surrounding forest, so don’t forget your camera!
  • Binoculars: These can be useful for spotting wildlife from a safe distance.

Safety Tips

While the Fish River Falls trail is generally safe, it’s important to take precautions to ensure a safe hiking experience. Stay on the marked trail, keep a safe distance from the edge of the falls, and be aware of your surroundings to avoid encounters with wildlife. If you’re hiking alone, let someone know your plans and estimated return time.


Exploring the majestic Fish River Falls in Fort Kent is more than just a hike; it’s an adventure that immerses you in the beauty and tranquility of the North Maine Woods. Whether you’re seeking a challenging hike, a peaceful retreat, or a chance to connect with nature, this scenic trail offers something for everyone. So lace up your hiking boots, pack your backpack, and set off on an unforgettable journey to one of Maine’s most spectacular natural wonders.

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