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Saco River Pedal/Paddle Tour

I like combining bicycling with kayaking or canoeing. I call these Pedal/Paddle Tours. Usually a Pedal/Paddle Tour involves two legs: a kayaking or canoeing leg down a river, followed by a bicycle leg back to where we launched the boat. We accomplish this by stashing our bicycles at a location where it’s easy to take the boat out of a river. We drive to a place to launch the boat and paddle downriver to the place where we stashed the bikes. Then we ride our bicycles back to where the car is parked and go get the boat.

The lower Saco River, in Saco, Maine is perfect for a Pedal/Paddle Tour. The lower Saco River is tidal from the dam at Saco Island, between Saco and Biddeford, down to Camp Ellis. The roads near the ocean in Saco, Camp Ellis, Ocean Park and Old Orchard can make a nice coastal bike route.

For this trip, we stashed the bikes at a parking area along Ferry Road in Saco, near Camp Ellis. There is a sandbar there where we could take the Kayak out and carry it up to the road. Another option would be to put your bikes at the Camp Ellis parking lot, at the pier.

After stashing the bikes, we drove back into Saco and launched the Kayak from the public boat launch on Front Street, next to the Yacht Club. Then we paddled downriver to the sandbar.

It took us about 45-50 minutes to paddle; experienced paddlers could do it in 30 minutes. The river was high; high tide had crested at 6:48 AM. The ride back was quick and easy. Much of the bike route back has a paved recreational path.

We saw some wildlife on the trip. When we were stashing the bikes, a whitetail deer was browsing in the high grass near the sandbar. Three times, while kayaking, cormorants flew so close we could hear their wings flapping. When we were loading our Kayak, an immature bald eagle circled over us several times.

Click the image below for a larger map.

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