The South Branch of the Ashuelot is a steep narrow river with a consistant gradiant. The river shares a narrow valley with a NH state highway. The river passes under the highway several times as it banks on hard corners from either side of the valley. In high water consider this a class IV, IV+ run, there are only a few micro eddies to catch along the way. In the early 90's NH state route 12 was rebuilt and widened. As a result jagged rock, concrete, and old guard rail cables were dumped into the river adding to the hazard. Take particular note of the second route 12 crossing over the river. As you approach it from the right side of route 12 the river takes a sharp left and passes under a long but wide culvert under route 12. The river bed at this point is a flat concrete slab that can be shallow in low to medium water. About halfway through this tunnel another slab section is ajoined about 1' lower than the slab above. This creates a river wide hole that can be stickey. At certain low to medium levels the hydraulic can be difficult because of the shallow approach to it and the shallow hydralic from one concrete wall to the other. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that it is in the middle of the tunnel several yards from the entrance or exit making it very dark and impossible to scout. Be careful here. The river then exits the tunnel and takes a sharp right against the bank then passes under rt 12 once again. This section has a lot of old construction debris.
The correlation gauge is an estimate. if you run this section please a comment with flow beta.
Put in elevation........899'
Take out elevation......689'
River width average.....20'
River geology...........small to medium granite boulders, concrete
River water quality.....Good, clarity good.
Scenery.................Steep river valley sharing state highway and river.
Wildlife................hawks, good trout stream.
Interstate 93 to NH 101 West(south of Manchester).
West on NH 101 for approximately 48 miles to Keene.
Take a left on state route 12
Approximately 5 miles look for a small abandoned factory on your right, park here.
Head back in the direction you came towards Keene.
2.5 miles just before the intersection with Webb Depot road.
Park on the shoulder on the right just above a small dam on the river.
2 years ago
by Peter Ashley
There is a USGS gage near the takeout which has been off line for several years now. The hand painted gage at the bridge is has faded and is of no use at this time. Check other gages in the area for a possible corrolation, the best one would be the Upper Ashuelot gage. At a reading of 7.0 the South Branch should be high. Look at the river and decide for yourself.
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.
Riding the hydraulic
Hydraulic in the tunnel
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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.
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