The Gale is a beautiful northern NH river. The river starts out class II and picks up in intensity as a boater heads downstream. The first mile is class II, the second mile is class II-III, the last mile is the class IV gorge section. The last mile is the toughest as the river cuts a deep narrow gorge through an old basalt lava dike. The change in geology is responsible for the ledgy nature of the gorge section. The gorge contains several class IV ledge drops.
Put in elevation........850'
Take out elevation......650'
River width average.....70'
River geology...........Medium to large granite boulders,
basalt schists ledge at the gorge
River water quality.....excellent, clarity good.
Scenery.................excellent northern spruce/fir forest scenery,
river is wild and isolated.
Wildlife................Deer, hawks, moose, merganzers, coyotes.
Interstate 93 to exit 38 (Franconia).
Left at the end of the ramp towards Franconia.
Right on NH 116 north at the stop sign.
1.3 miles take a left on Streeter Pond Road.
2/3rds of a mile take a left over the truss bridge on Crane Hill Road (dirt).
2/3rds of a mile past the open field into the woods park where the river comes close to the road.
Head back to Streeter Pond Road.
Take a left after the bridge.
Approximately 3 miles take a left on Sherman road.
Approximately 1/2 mile park on the rail trail just before the bridge over the Ammonoosuc River. The Gale enters the Ammo about 1/8 of a mile downstream from this point. Carry up along the rail trail.
Comments From Jeff Swett:
Ran it above 7ft according to the gauge on this page on Sunday morning. Great fluid run, we all portaged the first hole at the entrance to the gorge but it looked runnable. Scout the next two drops from here- the sneak river right was good. Everything was scoutable and portageable.
11 years ago
There is a paddlers gage painted on the river left bridge abutment used to access the put in from Streeter Pond road. Below is a table with matched data from two other local USGS gauges and the paddlers gage. Use this data as a general guideline to determine runnable levels on the Gale.
Gauge correlations for theÂ Gale river
Sugar Hill NH
East Branch USGS
*RR=rising rapidlyÂ RS=rising slowlyÂ
S=steadyÂ FR=falling rapidlyÂ FS=falling slowly
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.
Scouting the Gorge Entrance
Scouting the gorge
Guardian of the gorge
Gorge at high water
Gale river source
Pat at Lava
Shreder at Lava
Below Streeter ledge
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
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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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