Camping along the Saco is available because of the generosity of private landowners. Respect private property and camp responsibly.
Free camping is available on many sandbars and beaches from Swans's Falls to Hiram. Do not stop along property marked with "posted" or "no trespassing" signs. Please adhere to the following rules and regulations to help ensure that camping on the Saco will be available for generations to come.
- Know the weather forecast and river conditions. During high water conditions, small children and weak or non-swimmers should not use the river, and all others should wear life vests at all times. If there is a chance of rain, do not camp near the water's edge - an inch of rain in the mountains can cause the river to rise up to a foot! Be prepared for all types of weather.
- Pack out what you bring in. Please bring a trash bag and carry out your waste. Dumpsters are located at all public landings.
- Building a fire? Don't forget your fire permit! Permits can be obtained at the Swan's Falls Visitor's Center, Jockey Cap Country Store in Fryeburg, and Woodland Acres Campground in Brownfield, and are by donation only. Click here for more information on what is and isn't allowed when building a fire.
- Pack out or bury all human waste and toilet paper! Remember that you are camping in the backcountry and will not have access to bathroom facilities. Waste should be buried at least 6 in. deep in soil, never in the sand, and at least 200 ft. from the shore or other nearby water sources.
- Be considerate. When on the river, avoid landing on posted private property. Respect other visitors and the quality of their experience. Please clean up after yourself! It is a privilege to be able to camp along the river and we do not wish to have all land owners post their property because of a few bad apples. Let nature's sounds prevail - avoid loud voices and excessive noise.
- For more information about responsible recreational use of the Saco River environment, visit our page "Protecting the Saco".
It is your job to camp responsibly.
Careless treatment of the river has caused some landowners to post their property, while others are considering posting if misuse of their land continues. Do your part and respect private property to help ensure it will remain open to campers in the future.
Looking for access to facilities?
Wilderness camping isn't for everyone. Some campers enjoy having use of amenities such as out houses, fire pits, and picnic tables. You can stay with us at Swan's Falls, or at one of the following campgrounds which offer sites along the river from Swan's Falls to Hiram.