Chandler Brook is the Middle Branch of the Royal River. It can be explored in sections or all at once. There’s something for everyone here: peaceful flatwater, fun whitewater, or true adventure navigating nearly impassable stretches of water. Chandler Brook can be paddled at high water levels (in the spring or after significant rain) with the exception of a few sections that are impenetrably clogged with strainers. We have divided this paddling route into four sections. Visitors can also enjoy paddling Runaround Pond from the boat launch at Runaround Pond Park.
Upstream Boat Launch Directions & Maps
To reach the boat launch at Runaround Pond Park, take Exit 22 off I-295 in Freeport/Durham. Turn right onto ME-136 North and drive 6.2 miles. Turn left onto Rabbit Road and continue onto Runaround Pond Road for 1.1 miles. Look for the entrance to the parking area and boat launch on the right.
For other paddling start and end points, refer to maps for road names in Pownal and North Yarmouth.
- Chandler Brook Paddling Route – Downloadable PDF
- Chandler Brook Paddling Route at Maine Trail Finder
- Runaround Pond Paddling at Maine Trail Finder
Chandler Brook Paddling Sections
- Runaround Pond to Poland Range Road. This 2.3 mile segment (4.6 miles round trip) is best done as a round trip beginning at Poland Range Road. For the downstream option, begin by launching at the Runaround Pond Recreation Area (Durham) and paddle a very short distance on the pond to the Old Chandler Mill Dam. Then portage on river left (pond left) along the steep ledges and rejoin downstream of the dam. (Scout the dam first; depending on water levels portaging around the dam could be a challenge; you might choose to portage directly from the parking area at the Recreation Area to a point below the dam.) Some beaver dams and strainers (downed trees) can be a challenge just a few hundred feet downstream from the dam, depending on water levels. From below the dam, Chandler Brook is flatwater to Poland Range Road (Pownal). This stretch is easily paddled in either direction, including launching at 799 Poland Range Road, paddling upstream to the dam, and returning to the same launch. At low water, the trip is best done in this upstream direction and it requires no car shuttle. Some beaver dams and strainers (downed trees) can be a challenge just downstream from Runaround Pond’s dam, but the trip is surprisingly remote and pristine.
- Poland Range Road (Pownal) to Elmwood Road (Pownal). This three mile section of Chandler Brook can be paddled only during spring high water or after heavy rain, with some level of paddling skills and willingness to get wet and muddy. To determine water levels, stop on Lawrence Road in North Pownal and take a look at the river as it runs parallel to the road. If the water is high enough to run those rapids, the water is high enough to run the entire brook. The most fun rapids are just downriver from the Bradbury Corridor trail bridge crossing the stream below Pownal’s Sweetser Road. Expect some strainers (downed trees) which will require that you pull your canoe up muddy banks, portage for a stretch, and the lower your canoe and yourself down muddy banks. Bridges at Poland Range Road, Lawrence Road, and Elmwood Road have ample access and safe shoulders, allowing paddlers to adjust trip length. Please respect any private property postings at bridges; all bridges including Pownal Sweetser Road have enough public access if you hug the bridge abutments tightly respecting private property signs.
- Not Recommended – Elmwood Road to Chadsey Road; Milliken Road downstream. This section is not recommend for most paddlers. In 2017, significant major strainers (downed trees) made it very frustrating to paddle the brook between Elmwood Road and Chadsey Road or from Milliken Road downstream to the confluence with the East Branch. The trip from Chadsey Road to Milliken Road is sweet and typically passable, and includes a delightful small ledge drop, but this is a very short trip.
- East Branch to Royal River (reverse direction, North Yarmouth). The lower-most reaches of Chandler Brook can usually be paddled upstream and back by starting and ending at the hand carry boat launch at Old Town House Park on the Royal River at Route 9. In the middle of this segment, the North Road bridge creates a short rapid that can be waded upstream at most water levels or paddled upstream at higher levels. Strainers above the confluence with the East Branch block upstream travel prior to reaching Milliken Road.
Runaround Pond Paddling
Runaround Pond is always an exceptional paddling experience. Paddlers may begin and end at the Runaround Pond Recreation Area’s hand-carry boat launch. Soon after leaving the boat launch the winding pond creates a near-wilderness experience with miles of undeveloped forested shoreline. Fish and wildlife include beavers, otters, eagles, osprey, kingfishers, herons, frogs, turtles, bass and pickerel.
Map of Runaround Pond Recreation Area – Downloadable PDF
Connecting Trails & Preserves
All sections of the stream have some strainers (downed trees) that might require a short portage with steep banks. Stream conditions vary considerably from year to year, and from storm to storm.