Put in elevation........430'
Take out elevation......239'
River width average.....85'
River water quality.....Poor to fair, water clarity fair.
Scenery.................poor in spots, a few factories along the way.
From Keene NH take NH route 10 south for approximately 13 miles. Take a right onto NH route 119. About 2 miles to the put in just upstream and river right from the Ashuelot covered bridge.
From Interstate 91 in Vermont take exit 2 onto route 9 into downtown Brattleboro. Take a right then follow the signs to NH 119. Follow NH 119 approximately 8 miles to the put in.
From the put in take NH 119 west 3.5 miles into downtown Hinsdale. Look for a small dirt parking area next to the river. The new owner of the warehouse at the take-out in Hinsdale is friendly to paddlers, but requests that we park head-in by the picknick table, so as not to block a truck backing into a dock at the rear of the building.
The river is broken up into three sections. Each section is seperated by a dam which must be portaged. The upper section is a nice warmup class II. The second gets a little more difficult... up to class III. The last section is the toughest...class III-IV depending on water level. The McGoldrick Dam was removed by the NH Department of Environmental Services in 2002 thereby eliminating one portage on the lower section.
Only two portages left since the other dams have either been washed out or removed. The first portage is between the Class II and III section. The second between the III and IV.
This river holds water very well since it is at the bottom of a huge watershed, it is usually one of the last rivers in New England to be running during the spring.
Video of the Ash at 5.3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jsZIArarLlo&feature=colike
This is the toughest section of river on this trip. Just below the dam you will be passing a paper mill. There is a lot of trash in this area from that mill. Just below the factory bridge is the toughest rapid on the lower Ash. This is Papermill rapid. There is a rather clean straight line through this rapid just right of center. To the left is a series of holes that can swallow an open boat. The rest of this section is continuous class III+ water with little let up.
This section of the river can be easily scouted from the road on river right that you can pick up a mile or a mile and a half downriver from the put in, off of 119.
At 700 CFS (about 4.5 feet), this section is a 2+; at 1000 (4.9 feet), it is a good beginner's class 3. At 1500 cfs (5.35 ft), the river becomes much pushier. At this level, Paper Mill Rapid becomes a big water class 3+ to 4, depending on your rating system.
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This run is one of my favorite park and play runs. It has two major play spots that are awesome for intermediate to advanced play boaters. May I add they are both loopable. The first hole is very retentive and is great for learning to loop and cartwheel. Besides that the run is very fun too not much maneuvering but big waves and holes.
My friend and I ran the Ashuelot today 8/10/08 from just below the third dam and paddled the Paper Company Rapid at a gauge level of 5.7' which made the run a continuous class IV with some haystack waves higher than 4'. It was a thrilling and fast ride at that level with not much to play in on the way down.
2 years ago
by Peter Ashley
9 years ago
by Philip May
The river level info is from the 18-year-old AMC River Guide. Judge the quality of the information accordingly.
River Flow information
Gauge: USGS (Hinsdale) Minimum level: 4.5Â/750 cfs
Low: 4.7Â/810 cfs
Medium: 4.9Â/1000 cfs
High: 5.5Â/1500 cfs
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
mind the wood
whoa, hold on
playing in a pour over
upper play wave
First of the Third
Lower Ash put in
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Northeast boaters can celebrate that another beloved whitewater gem has been protected. Paddlers on the Winnipeseaukee River are now assured that the put-in on the Lower Winni in Northfield, NH will be forever protected thanks to the donation of a parcel from Gloria Blais in memory of her husband Roger. Gloria donated the land to the Town of Northfield for the purpose of assuring that future generations of boaters will have access to the river. Protecting river access to the Winni is part of an ongoing effort by AW in the northeast region to protect river access.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
American Whitewater and Merrimack Valley Paddlers have reached an agreement to purchase a 10-acre parcel fronting on Contoocook River in Henniker, NH. The land serves as an important launch point for whitewater paddlers enjoying the popular section of the river that runs from Hillsborough to Henniker. This section of the Contoocook River contains rapids ranging in difficulty from Class II to Class IV.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is currently investigating opportunities for restoring natural functions to the Connecticut River Watershed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. TNC's efforts are focused on reconnecting rivers and streams, restoring floodplain forests, and managing flows for people and nature. AW is working with TNC, and we are hopeful that this process will benefit several whitewater rivers and their enjoyment.
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