Ashuelot, S. Branch, New Hampshire, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||91 fpm|
|Max Gradient||110 fpm|
|ASHUELOT RIVER AT WEST SWANZEY, NH|
|usgs-01160350||1300 - 2500 cfs||III-IV||01h00m||1720 cfs (running)|
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' Total drop..............210' Average drop/mile.......91' Distance................2.3 miles 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.