Week-Long Map | Day 0 (Check-In) | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
Day 2 – Caribou to Madawaska – September 10
Day 3 – Layover day in Madawaska – September 11
“The Heart of the St. John Valley”
Heading due north, the Day 2 route takes us to Van Buren, another town located on the Canada–US border, and named after President Martin Van Buren. From there, we bike along the St. John River, through the small towns of Keegan, Notre Dame, Lille, Grand Isle, and St. David. Our home for two nights is Madawaska, which is well known for its friendly people and great hospitality. It serves as the center of Acadian culture in Maine and features easy access to its Canadian neighbor, Edmundston, and its extensive system of off-road bike paths.
- Mileage: 49.5 miles
- Elevation Gain: 1980 feet
Madawaska – Heart of the St. John Valley:
The Greater Madawaska area is well known for its friendly people and great hospitality. Serving as the center of Acadian culture in Maine, Madawaska has much to offer its BikeMaine guests, including a visit to its sister city, Edmundston, New Brunswick, Canada.
Madawaska is home to many cultural and historical sites, all of which tell the story of its French-Acadian settlers. The spot where its ancestors first stepped foot in northern Maine is marked with a large cross, erected at the location where Acadians landed after fleeing from their Nova Scotia homeland in 1785 to avoid being deported by the British. During the early colonial period, Madawaska was a meeting place and hunting/fishing area for the Maliseet nation. Later, it was at the center of the bloodless Aroostook War. The final border between the two countries was established with the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which gave Maine most of the disputed area, and gave the British a militarily vital connection between the province of Québec and the province of New Brunswick.
Madawaska is the northernmost town in New England and its economy centers on the Saint John River paper industry. The river historically provided water power for the mills and was the route of log drives bringing pulpwood from upstream forests. The river still provides the water supply for paper manufacture, but environmental concerns encourage pulpwood delivery by highway and rail. Canadian corporation Twin Rivers (originally Fraser Papers) has a large facility located in Madawaska which processes the pulp produced by the mill’s main plant in Edmundston. The pulp is shipped across the border through a mile-long high pressure pipeline running between both facilities, and is made into paper in Madawaska. The Madawaska mill specializes in fine-grade papers. The town’s economy is highly dependent upon cross-border trade, to the extent that Madawaska and its larger sister city of Edmundston are considered by residents under many aspects, a single economic entity.
BikeMaine riders who want to experience both Madawaska and Edmundston on the layover day need to make sure their passports are up-to-date. Edmundston is home to one end of the Petit-Temis, a path connecting New Brunswick and Québec, dedicated solely to biking and walking.