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Difficulty II-IV
Length 2.5 Miles
Gauge BLACKWATER RIVER NEAR WEBSTER, NH
Flow Range 250 - 1800 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 year ago 18.6 [CFS] ℹ️
Next Release 2008-04-20
Reach Info Last Updated 05/04/2018 2:24 pm

River Description


The Blackwater is located in Webster NH just west of Concord. The river alternates between flat water and violent drops. From the put in to Clothespin bridge the river has a few class I and II drops with play waves. Once Clothespin bridge comes into view, then its time for the novices to take out. The river then becomes more difficult with each drop. See description below. There is a class V-VI rapid just below Blackwater dam just upstream from the normal put-in. This rapid is short but very steep requiring a lot of manuevering around pinning rocks and big holes.

Technical info

Put in elevation........470'
Take out elevation......350'
Total drop..............120'
Average drop/mile.......32'
1st mile................10'
2nd mile................30'
3rd mile................30'
3.8 mile................50'
Distance................3.8 miles
River width average.....35'
River geology...........Granite ledge, small to medium boulders
River water quality.....Good to excellent, clarity good to excellent.
Scenery.................Good forested scenery, a few homes and camps along the way. 
Wildlife................Deer, Merganzers, Blue herons. 

Directions


Put in

Interstate 93 to exit 17 north of Concord.
Take the US-4 exit, exit number 17, towards US-3/PENACOOK/RT-132/BOSCAWEN.
Keep RIGHT at the fork in the ramp.
Go west on US-4 for approximately 4.5 miles
Turn LEFT onto WATER ST proceed for 5 miles. Water street turns into Long street
At the intersection of NH 127 take a left.
In less than 2 miles look for the Webster elementary school on your left shortly after you cross over the Blackwater river.
The put-in is behind the school.
 

Take out

Continue heading south on 127 pass the school for approximately 2 miles.
Shortly after the intersection with Tyler Road, park on the left where you can see the river down the embankment.

 

Gauge Description:

The flow through this section is regulated by a flood control dam just upstream from the put-in. There are two weekend releases scheduled for the last two weekends in April. Control releases are approximately 600-900 cfs on the old USGS gauge located 1.5 miles downstream on river left above a small class II drop (now disabled). The river is runnable at other times (300-1800 on the old gauge), see below for a general idea of when the river can be run.

The Warner gauge has been added as an estimate of when the river is running at natural flow. This is a new correlation. If you run this section or have more information please leave a comment below with more beta.

Estimated chance (%) of finding the river runnable. 

Month............% chance......comment 

January ............ 5%........Frozen. 
February............ 5%........Frozen. 
March...............50%........Ice shelves wash out late in the month. 
April...............90%........Most dependable month.
May ................40%........Flows start dropping back with leaf out. 
June................15%
July................ 5% 
August.............. 5%........Lowest water month
September...........10% 
October.............30%
November............40%........Fall rains, dormant trees 
December............30%........River starts freezing around Christmas. 


Be aware this is averaged out over several years. The % chance refers to the probability of finding the river running on any given day. For instance a 5% probability for August means on average you can only expect about 1-1/2 days of water. One year there could be 3 days in August with water, other years none. Spring levels are usually higher than fall levels. Also be aware that the river is regulated depending on expected precipitation. Drawdowns may precede a major storm in order to allow more storage capacity. At other times the dam may hold back after a major storm to prevent flooding downstream. 

 

The Blackwater releases are the last two weekends of April every year.

.

 

Rapid Descriptions

Rivers of the lower Contoocook region

Class - Mile - 0

Clothespin Bridge

Class - IV Mile - 1
When a bridge is visible on the horizon line get ready for a good ride. Clothespin is a 5' verticle drop into a frothy hole. Run right of middle and turn towards the left just as you go over the drop. Brace and be ready for a roll at the bottom. The river is very narrow at this point and can accelerate a boater into a rock wall.

A rapid

Class - III+ Mile - 2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
A fairly long rapid with lots of holes to manuever around. Nice playhole on river left at the bottom of the drop.

Eggbeater

Class - IV Mile - 2.25
One of the most difficult regularly run rapid in NH. Eddy out on river right just as the river takes a hard left and scout. This is a long steep slide that leads up to a ledge drop with a stickey hole at the bottom. The approach to the ledge is very turbulant with large stickey holes. At levels below 1000 cfs there are several micro eddy's to catch along the way. Above 1000 cfs these eddies turn into violent wirlpools and holes. After the ledge drop the river calms down a little until you reach the takeout 200 yards below the bridge.

Comments

default user thumbnail
Merrimack Valley Paddlers
|
1 year ago

There is a sneak route far left at Final Ledge. Also, the photo shows a gradual descent far right--if you can get there.

Summary of Gauge Readings

The flow through this section is regulated by a flood control dam just upstream from the put-in. There are two weekend releases scheduled for the last two weekends in April. Control releases are approximately 600-900 cfs. The river is runnable at other times, see below for a general idea of when the river can be run. USGS gage located 1.5 miles downstream on river left above a small class II drop.

Estimated chance (%) of finding the river runnable.
 

Month............% chance......comment 

January ............ 5%........Frozen. 
February............ 5%........Frozen. 
March...............50%........Ice shelves wash out late in the month. 
April...............90%........Most dependable month.
May ................40%........Flows start dropping back with leaf out. 
June................15%
July................ 5% 
August.............. 5%........Lowest water month
September...........10% 
October.............30%
November............40%........Fall rains, dormant trees 
December............30%........River starts freezing around Christmas. 


Be aware this is averaged out over several years. The % chance refers to the probability of finding the river running on any given day. For instance a 5% probability for August means on average you can only expect about 1-1/2 days of water. One year there could be 3 days in August with water, other years none. Spring levels are usually higher than fall levels. Also be aware that the river is regulated depending on expected precipitation. Drawdowns may precede a major storm in order to allow more storage capacity. At other times the dam may hold back after a major storm to prevent flooding downstream.

 

2008 Blackwater releases

Date

Time

Flow

Notes
Fri April 18th 11:00am-until water is depleted 700 cfs 25th annual

Blackwater slalom ( if not enough water, release only on Sat and Sun)

Sat April 19th
Sun April 20th

 

Note: The April 19th thru 20th weekend is the date for the 25th annual New England series whitewater slalom to be held at the put-in. Please put in below the race course.
 

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
BLACKWATER RIVER NEAR WEBSTER, NH
AW Gauge Info
19 cfs ℹ️ 1y145d00h33m
WARNER RIVER AT DAVISVILLE, NH
AW Gauge Info
4.41 ft ℹ️ ⚠️ 00h34m Located on west neighboring drainage of similar size.

Release Schedule

25th Annual Blackwater Slalom (if not enough water, release only on Sat and Sun)

We have had releases on this reach but don't show any currently. This information is gathered by the public. If you know about releases then contact us about them. If you would volunteer to enter the releases, then reach out to us.

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Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

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