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Keswick Island Route, Keswick River

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Nackawic to Big Axe Brewery Route


Nackawic to the Big Axe Brewery Route Gallery


Store Lower St. John River Region

Quick Facts

Features brewery, scenery
Access dock
Route Difficulty easy
Water Body Type open lake
Current Type none
Route Type loop
Route Distance 6.3 km return
Portage Distance none
Estimated Time 3 hours
Elevation Change none
Scenery Rating beautiful
Cell Reception strong
Fees none


This route is in the lake created by the Mactaquac Dam. For this reason current isn't an issue, but the river is wide here so wind may impact your paddle. The dam lowers the water levels when rain is in the forecast. This may impact how much beach is exposed along the shoreline.

We launched at the docks at the Big Axe Marina in Nackawic and crossed over to the point (cross the river to the right) to make this route more interesting. We then turned right and followed the shoreline towards the Pokiok Bridge (larger bridge you would have crossed coming off the highway). There are no houses along this section of the shore except a beaver hut in one of the coves.

Paddling along the east side of the St. John (Wolostoq) River near Nackawic

Near the point you will see where the old highway drops down below the water. This old highway was flooded when the dam was built. You may also see stumps under the water. We have seen eagles and osprey in the trees in this area.

When you start to come to houses in Hawkshaw it is time to cross back over the river and find the brewery. Look for the bright red roof. They usually have a dock in the water out front. It is to the left of the Wesleyan Church in that same valley.

The docks at the Big Axe Brewery in Nackawic

Once you have a pint at the Big Axe Brewery get back in your boat and turn left to follow the shore back to Nackawic. The mill in the distance will provide a guide. After passing by a few houses and the Wesleyan Church you will be following along the Nackawic Nature Trail. Here you will find several coves that hold ducks and loons. Eventually you will come back to the Nackawic waterfront in front of the ballfields where you will see the yellow handle of the largest axe in the world poking up through the trees.


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For directions to Nackawic go to the Nackawic page.

This route starts at the dock at the Big Axe Marina.

Trail Last Hiked: August 24, 2022.

Page Last Updated: May 27, 2023.