This four mile segment of the Royal River Water Trail features New Gloucester’s Intervale Preserve. The Intervale provides some of our watershed’s most valuable habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl, and game birds. This section of the water trail begins at the boat launch at the RRCT Intervale Preserve at Intervale Road (Route 231) and ends at the boat launch at RRCT’s Intervale Preserve at Penney Road. Both preserves have good parking, though hand-carry boat access at both ends involves steep muddy banks. This is a good segment for fishing, hunting, and birding in addition to paddling.
At higher water levels this segment still enjoys slow currents, so paddlers may be able to venture upstream from the Intervale Road boat launch until hitting impassable beaver dams.
Headed downstream from Intervale Road, the four mile stretch to Penney Road is narrow and winding, and can be challenging. There are many obstacles in the first few miles including shallow logs that can be floated over in all but the lowest water, and piles of jackstraw that require more careful navigation. This stretch of river is a 20- to 50-ft wide canyon with steep muddy banks. It runs between fields and woodland, but minutes after launching from Intervale Road, all signs of civilization are gone. The river has a firm, sandy bottom with splashable shallows as well as deep pools. Large hardwood trees overhang the stream and create a shady tunnel. Roughly one mile of the shoreline on this trip is conserved by the Royal River Conservation Trust, with open public access from the shoreline. Transmission lines and the sound of fast-moving water signal your arrival at Penney Road. Immediately downstream of the takeout at Penney Road there is a steep 30 foot rapid ending in a pool.