Old Town House Park to Royal River Park (Rt. 9 to East Elm St.)

This six mile segment of the Royal River is a flatwater stretch beginning at Old Town House Park on Route 9 in North Yarmouth and ending at Royal River Park at East Elm Street in Yarmouth. It is one of the most popular segments of the Royal River, and as it is entirely flat with no current, this segment can be paddled upstream, downstream, and round trip from either hand-carry boat launch. This segment can be paddled by novices from well-maintained hand-carry boat launches at either end, where there is also good parking. The boat launch at Old Town House Park on Route 9 provides access for paddling upstream on either Chandler Brook or the Royal River for about a mile before encountering currents.

The river here is a six mile narrow pond formed by the dam at East Elm Street. With a heavily forested shoreline and meandering oxbows, this segment of river provides an escape into the quiet woods of Maine, with only occasional houses or docks visible from the river, and abundant birds and wildlife. Steep banks allow very few locations for picnics or swimming.

Canoes are available to rent at Royal River Park.Rentals include paddles and PFDs, and are available from May 1 through November 1 for $10-$15. Call 207-846-2406 for more information on rentals.  Small sculls also use the river. In the winter, depending upon conditions, this stretch of river is popular for ice skating, snowmobiling, Nordic skiing, and fat tire biking.

More Information

Maps, Guides, and History

  • Map: Old Town House Park to Royal River Park (Rt. 9 to East Elm St.) – Downloadable PDF
  • Brochure + Map: Old Town House Park to Royal River Park (Rt. 9 to East Elm St.) – Downloadable PDF
  • Map & Guide:  North Yarmouth Historical Society (2006), Natural & Historic Features of the Royal River — Downloadable PDF
  • Narrative Historic & Paddling Guide: Maine Geographic (Delorme, 1983), excerpt: Canoeing the Royal River, Zip Kellogg — Downloadable PDF

Connecting Trails & Preserves

Looking for an adventure out of the boat? Here is more information on the land preserves & trails you can explore on foot along this segment.


Swimming from railroad bridges and travel along any rail line is illegal and deadly. The dam at East Elm Street is a mandatory portage, and the beginning of a stretch of river with extraordinary water falls and other risks. Please proceed with care and site-specific scoping.

Fish Passage & Future of the Dams

Information on the long-term dialog to improve fish passage or remove dams is provided here.


Paddling down Stephen King’s river” Bangor Daily News, May 2017

Royal River: Blood, Sweat, and Gear” Portland Press Herald, May 2010

Wescustogo Park to Old Town House Park ← Previous Segment
Next Segment → Royal River Park to Yarmouth Town Landing