Otter Brook - East Sullivan to Otterbrook Park


Otter Brook, New Hampshire, US

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East Sullivan to Otterbrook Park

Usual Difficulty III-IV (for normal flows)
Length 3.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 82 fpm
Max Gradient 95 fpm

Upper Otter Brook


Upper Otter Brook
Photo by Mark Lacroix taken 03/29/03 @ 2.25' visual

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
OTTER BROOK BELOW OTTER BROOK DAM, NEAR KEENE, NH
usgs-01158600 240 - 800 cfs III-IV 360d02h05m 12.2 cfs (too low)
ASHUELOT RIVER ABOVE THE BRANCH, AT KEENE, NH
usgs-01158110 400 - 900 cfs III-IV 01h05m 174 cfs (too low)


River Description

Otter Brook is a small creek located in southwestern NH. NH route 9 parrallels the run for most of the way but is only occasionally visible from the river. It has a continuous gradient over its three mile course. The first half of the river is steeper with a few rock strewn ledge drops one of which is approximately 3’. This one is located behind a home where the river swings left away from the road. Most paddlers boat scout the river as they run. Be aware that strainers are common; often trees will completely cross over and block the river. In medium to high water be especially cautious of strainers since the velocity of the water will shorten maneuvering time. At the two mile mark you will come across the new Granite Gorge Ski area which was recovered and rebuilt from the old abandoned Pinnacle ski area. From here down the gradient slackens off and becomes more class II-III in nature. This is an alternate put in / take out. Early in the season the take out road at Otter Brook Park may be gated and closed due to snow. It will be necessary to carry up the hill approximately .2 miles. When open the take out is at a picnic area with picnic tables and bathroom facilities. The river from this point on is usually ponded by a flood control dam down to Lower Otter Brook about three miles.

Technical info

Put in elevation........997'
Take out elevation......735'
Total drop..............262'
Average drop/mile.......82'
Distance................3.2 miles
1st mile drop...........95'
2nd mile drop...........92'
3rd mile drop...........65'
4th mile drop...........10' (average 50')
River width average.....25'
River geology...........small to medium granite boulders, some ledge. 
River water quality.....Good, clear except for quick runoff periods.   
Scenery.................Good to excellent forest scenery.  Route 9
                        occasionally visible along the river. About three or 
                        four homes visible along the banks.
Wildlife................Occasional deer, hawks, Turkeys


Flow Info

This section of Otter Brook lies above the flood control dam and therefore is a natural flow river. Lower Otter Brook is below the dam and has scheduled spring releases. The USGS gauge is located below this flood control dam 3 miles downstream from the take out, therefore it should only be used as reference since the Army Corps of Engineers could be holding back water for flood control. To get a more accurate reading on the flow go to Army Corps of Engineers Otter Brook tabular data and look at the last reading under the "inflow cfs" heading. There is a hand painted gauge on the upstream side of the bridge at the put in where route 9 crosses Otter Brook. A good level is above 1.5 ft on this gauge located in East Sullivan. There is somewhat limited information at this time correlating the gauges. As more info is gathered the following table will be adjusted.

        (Sullivan)          (Otter lake)
          Put in gauge    Inflow gauge  
Minimum.      1.25        ~240 cfs
Scratchy      <1.3        ~255 cfs
Low           <1.8        ~330 cfs
Low to medium <2.1        ~425 cfs
Medium        <2.5        ~620 cfs
Medium high   <2.8        ~750 cfs
High          >2.8        ~750 cfs

Thanks to Will Kranz for the information used to build this table.


Estimated chance (%) of finding the river runnable.

 

Month............% chance.................comment 
January ............ 0%....frozen. 
February.............0%....frozen
March................25%....Usually frozen. 
April...............60%....Best chance 
May ................18%....Best chance in early May with rain. 
June.................6%
July.................4% 
August...............3%....Just a trickle
September............3%....Tropical storms and their remains 
October........…....15%
November............35%....Fall rains, dormant trees 
December............30%....River starts freezing about 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 3% probability for September means on average you can only expect 1 day of water. One year there could be 2 days in September with water, other years none. Spring levels are usually higher than fall levels. An occasional summer storm could bring the river up for a couple hours.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-05-01 23:52:31

Editors


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 8 2012 (2300 days ago)
cgvann (154555)
The gauge on here is the same as the one for the lower stretch, I'm pretty sure its just the
outflow from the dam, so it doesn't seem particularly reliable for the upper stretch. A better
measure is the guage painted on the route 9 bridge at the put in. I ran it yesterday at one or a
hair over on that guage and its was runnable but bumpy. I wouldn't run it lower than that.
September 7 2008 (3671 days ago)
x (1)
9/7/08 Ran this at about 375 (inflow at Otter Brook Dam, below) today, and there were about 6
strainers. All were avoidable at this level, although some could be harder to avoid at higher
levels. You need to be wary throughout a trip on this river for strainers until these clean out.


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