A gentle breeze wafts across the back porch of Point Camp. Waves lap gently against the rocky shoreline edged with spruce, Canadian holly, alder and cedar.

The great cliff face up to my left glows with the golden light of late afternoon, while brilliant white clouds scud over the ridgeline to my right across the blue waters of Fourth Debsconeag Lake. Relaxed with feet up and cold beverage in hand, life couldn’t be any finer.

The day has been a beauty. Hiking meandering foot paths to secret spots. Paddling a canoe to grand views of majestic Katahdin. Swimming in the crystal clear lake. Now there’s time to just sit, read a few more pages of a good book and drink it all in. A hearty dinner will follow. With the evening chill there’ll be a warming fire in the wood stove. And at nighttime a billion stars will put on a spectacular show in the dark heavens.

Point Camp is one of six cabins clustered together on Fourth Debsconeag Lake, just shy of two hours north of Dover-Foxcroft. All are painted deep red and trimmed with forest green, and comfortably outfitted with simple furnishings. Putting my hand on the cabin wall, I run my fingers along the grain of the old logs and am instantly connected to over a century of rich and colorful history.

Beginning around 1900, Pleasant Point Camps hosted visitors from Boston, New York, Philadelphia and the like, who traveled here by passenger train, boat, portage trail and canoe.

These wealthy “rusticators” spent weeks at a time at the camps on Fourth Debsconeag, relaxing deep in the Maine woods, enjoying three square meals a day, fishing for trout and hunting deer.


In 2006, the camps were sold to the Chewonki Foundation, an environmental education organization based in Wiscasset, which was looking for a remote site to operate a girls’ camp. Renamed the Debsconeag Lake Wilderness Camps, the facility sits on 11 acres leased from the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, which owns the surrounding 43,000 acres of the Nahmakanta Public Lands in the heart of the 100-Mile Wilderness.

The girls’ program was moved back to Wiscasset in 2020, and today, except for a few dates reserved for youth programs, DLWC is open to the public from mid-May through early October. A one-night rental might do, but I can tell you from first-hand experience that multiple days or even a week at this off-the-grid paradise will assuredly be a better plan.

“This place is at the end of the road. It’s more than 20 miles by gravel roads from the nearest pavement, so you have to make an effort,” said Greg Shute, Chewonki’s Director of Northern and Coastal Properties, who oversees all of their lands outside of Wiscasset. “The last leg of the trip is by freighter canoe up the lake or you can walk the three-quarters of a mile in. By the time you get here you know you’re arrived at someplace special.”

On my last visit, I was out and about either mornings or afternoons, with the rest of the time devoted to just enjoy being there. The trail to the top of cliffs overlooking Fourth Debsconeag Lake rewards with an enormous panorama of Katahdin. The Debsconeag Backcountry Trails and more of the Debsconeag chain of lakes and ponds are easily accessible. A paddle, a mile-long hike, and more paddling gets you out onto Third Debsconeag Lake in the adjacent 46,000-acre Debsconeag Lakes Wilderness Area.

“This is traditional Penobscot homeland, hunting territory that they used for thousands of years. Time immemorial, really,” noted Shute. “It’s a privilege to be here and take care of the place. The lack of development, the deep quiet, the night skies, all you can do right from here. It’s priceless.”

An understatement, for sure.

Cabins sport a table and chairs, beds (bottom sheet but no bedding; bring your own or a sleeping bag), pillows (with cases); propane lights, stove and fridge (with small freezer), cooking utensils and cold running water. There are privies nearby, and a shower house (with hot water) and toilet house by the main lodge. Canoes are available for guest use, with some staged at several of the remote lakes and ponds in the area.

Start planning your own summer or early fall DLWC adventure with a visit to the Chewonki website at chewonki.org/vacation-rentals/debsconeag-lake-camps.

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island is the author of Beer Hiking New England, AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, and the AMC Maine Mountain Guide. Follow more of Carey’s adventures on Facebook and on Instagram @careykish.

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