Summer Boating Guide

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This guide is not meant as a substitute for a guidebook, it is meant to provide a quick reference guide for intermediate level summer trip planning. The rivers included are the ones that run every summer but if there is a lot of rain, rivers that are not on this list will run as well. There are a few runs local to Hanover which run regularly but are not included such as Hartlands, the White, the Wells, and the Ottoquechee. There are also some good runs not mentioned here because of the driving distance from Hanover including the Upper Yough, Lower Yough, the Gatineau. Summer term is a good time to run overnight trips to further away rivers that are dam released. For full descriptions look at the American Whitewater website, the Dartmouth Outing Guide on the DOC website, or any of the printed guidebooks.

Winnipesauke, NH

1.25 hours away, class III Watch AW for this one. There have been negotiations for summer releases on weekends which were successful in 2008. This is a great daytrip.

Dryway, MA

2 hours away, class III(+) The dryway section of the Deerfield river has scheduled releases throughout the summer which include most weekends. This is a good destination for a day trip.

Dead, ME

5 hours away, class III/IV The Dead has regular releases throughout the summer with releases of 3500cfs and greater making for a worthwhile trip. The Dead is right next to the Kennebec so they can be combined into a trip. This is a longer river with some flatwater.

Kennebec, ME

5 hours away, class III bigwater The Kennebec is guaranteed to release from 10am-noon every day of the summer although it typically releases until at least 1pm. This is one of the biggest, most fun, and safest rivers that can be run. You can camp right at the put-in at Indian Pond Campground.

Magalloway, ME

3 hours away, class III The Magalloway releases on the weekends that the Rapid does not release. It is right next to the Second College Grant so camping there is a good option.

Penobscot (Ripogenous Gorge), ME

7 hours away, class IV bigwater The Penobscot releases every day of the summer. A good weekend trip is to pair the Penobscot with the Kennebec if you have a skilled enough group. Along with the Rapid, this is one of the most scenic runs and the whitewater is really good. There is riverside camping at Chewonki’s Big Eddy.

Rapid, ME

3 hours away, class III(+) The rapid has releases approximately every other weekend throughout the summer although it is runnable at all times. Due to the time intensive nature of hiking in, this should be considered an overnight trip (stay in the Second College Grant or at Cedar Stump Campground run by Northern Waters) but it is well worth it. This river is one of the most scenic in all of New England and has some of the best whitewater. The play spot, smooth ledge, is well worth-it. A solid combat roll is advised, although it is feasible to take intermediates who occasionally swim. Certain sections, like the “crux” S-Turn rapid just after smooth ledge, are rockier than you might expect. Paddlers at risk of swimming might want to consider portaging this rapid to spare themselves a battering of bruises. CAMPING: The Cedar Stump campsite is by far the most convenient and will save you the roughly 1 hour of driving that it takes to get from the grant to the put in, as well as the paddle across lake Umbagog to get to the river. Cedar Stump must be reserved well in advance as it books up quickly. If you can’t find space at Cedar Stump and all of the rentable cabins in the Grant are reserved, consider talking to the Director of OPO. You might be able to use Ledyard’s good-standing relationship with the Grant from First Year Trips to secure permission to camp at the end of the airstrip. This works and is free, but again it saps away time at both ends of the day as you commute the logging roads from errol to the put-in. DIRECTIONS*: These can be tricky, and so it is best to have someone in your contingent who has already been there. From Errol, cross over the Androscoggin (The infamous “Errol Stretch” rapid from Trips) and head on past Northern Waters. Continue for a ways (maybe 5 or 10 minutes) until you see the turn-off on your left. This road is paved, but pay attention because very few of these roads are named. Head up a mile or two, cross over a small bridge, and then you will make a left onto a fairly large dirt road. Follow this windy logging road up and around for a long time and beware of moose. Then at some point you will see another dirt road branch off on your left (a single stop sign faces one direction at this small intersection). Go left and follow this road, for the most part, to the put in. You’ll know you’re at the put in when you see cars squeezed in along the side and can’t go any further. The trail that leads down to the lake is on your left and also unmarked. In general, if you see roads along the way that aren’t very big, go way uphill, have a gate, or just don’t feel right, they probably aren’t right. Just keep on going. You might also want to print off the satellite view from google earth to get an idea of how the logging roads are organized near Lake Umbagog region. These directions are from summer 2009 compiled by Max Van Pelt.

  • Another note: Do not take a microbus! The two track logging road that you take to the put in does not fare well with the huge rear overhang on these vehicles. If you don’t want to file an accident report after the trip, consider taking a sprinter van or a personal vehicle with decent ground clearance.

Seboomook Section of the Penobscot, ME

7 hours away, class III This is a good alternate to the Ripogenous Gorge section of the Penobscot for people looking for an easier run with some great playboating in it. This section releases often during the summer, check the release schedule before going.

SB Penobscot(Canada Falls), ME

7 hours away, class IV This is a creekier feeling piece of river near the Seboomook section that releases on Saturdays and on other days due to large amounts of rain.

Hudson Gorge, NY

3 Hours away, class III+ Indian River releases daily from 10-11:30am which feeds into the Hudson. This is a long run so the group needs to keep moving to avoid falling behind the bubble.

Black, NY

5.5 Hours away, class II The black has 2 playspots which are in most of the summer known as Hole Brothers and Route 3 Wave. These are good places for novice to advanced playboaters.

Jacques Cartier (Tewkesbury Section), Quebec

5 hours away, class IV big water This river runs all summer on natural flow and is more interesting than the Kennebec. See

Lachine, Quebec

3.5 hours away, class IV really bigwater The lure of Lachine is the world-class surf wave “Big Joe” which tends to be in towards the end of the summer. Everyone needs to be really solid boaters here, a swim is really bad and will result in ending up several miles downstream.

67, Quebec

3.5 hours away, class III 67 is the more user friendly version of Lachine. If Lachine is slightly too high, 67 is usually in.

Ottawa, Ontario

7+ hours away, class III+ bigwater The Ottawa is always releasing but the level varies a lot so plan your trips around the levels and what play features you hope to surf. This river has a few world class surfing spots. This trip has the added complication of being in Canada so everyone needs passports and the fleet gas-cards don’t work. Contact Jim Coffey at Esprit Rafting for camping and tell him you are from Ledyard.