Contoocook, New Hampshire, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV (varies with level)|
|Avg. Gradient||54 fpm|
|Max Gradient||70 fpm|
|CONTOOCOOK RIVER NEAR HENNIKER, NH|
|usgs-01085000||6.00 - 14.99 ft||II-III||01h18m||7.72 ft (running)|
|Great level for III boaters.|
The Contoocook has a fairly large drainage area for a New England river therefore, it holds water
well into Spring then rises occasionally after a moderate rainfall in the Fall. The Contoocook is
a popular run for great reason.
The put-in and take out locations are on private land. Please be curteous, change discretely and pick up your trash, keep a good boater reputation and this run will remain.
Contoocook dam removal
On Tuesday June 29th 2004, a 100 year old dam a half mile below our old take out on the Contoocook was breached. This was an historic moment and the first time in history where American Whitewater, FLOW, AMC, MVP and others have actually helped to pay for a dam removal to improve whitewater boating. The result was 3/4 mile extension of the river trip with two new rapids. There is a new takeout just downstream on river left of the twin truss bridges.
Additional parking is available at the old mill site. The take out at the old mill site is a lot easier and shorter.
Put in elevation: 550'
Take out elevation: 400'
Total drop: 150'
Average drop/mile 50'
Distance: 3.0 miles
River width average: 50'
River geology...........Small to medium granite boulders
River water quality.....Fair to good, clarity fair to good
Scenery.................Good forested scenery, a few homes along the way
Wildlife................Deer, Merganzers, Blue herons
I-93 from southern NH just before Concord take I-89 to Route 202 West. Follow Rt 202 past
Take the first Hillsboro exit then make a left at the bottom of the ramp. Shortly after the on ramp back onto rt 202 take a left onto Contoocook Falls Road, which becomes Western Ave once you are in Henniker again. Follow Western Avenue to the put-in, which will be on your left.
A new parking area has been constructed on the left just upstream of the old put in with a path to the river at the rear of the lot.
Alternate directions from Rt 101 Manchester. Rt 114 North to Downtown Henniker. Cross the bridge and take a left onto Western Ave. Follow it to the put in, passing the takeout on the way.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|0.0||Rivers of the lower Contoocook region|
Playfull little rapid with lots of surfing possibillities. The hole at the bottom of this rapid is the best on the river. Great playspot.
Stay left of center then move left. Right side of this rapid has left over dam debris.
Great surfing and play area. Hole by the rock in river center left under the power lines is a good ender spot.
River takes a sharp right then drops through a long series of twisting channels, holes, and other goodies. River right at the top of the rapid has a nice 4' to 6' verticle drop between boulders at levels above 8.6'. The last two ledges on the river should be run from center (first ledge) to right (last ledge) to avoid stickey holes. Last ledge has a stickey trashy playspot on the left.
Long rapid with large holes. Stay in the middle to avoid nasty pourovers and pinning spots along both shores. All holes in the middle can be punched but may flip you. At levels above 9.5 there is a nice surfing wave on river left about 3/4 of the way through the rapid.
The map on the right shows the old take out prior to June of 2004. Be aware this takeout could shortly or may even be now posted "No tresspassing". The new take out is river left 3/4 of a mile further downstream just past the twin truss bridges.