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Difficulty IV
Length 1.75 Miles
Gauge SMITH RIVER NEAR BRISTOL, NH
Flow Range 3.80 - 6.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2.77 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 11/25/2011 5:26 pm

River Description


The Smith River in central NH is a steep, spring runoff river. This section parallels the old route 104 (Smith River Road) which has long since been bypassed by the new route 104. In winter/early-spring, it is usually plowed just past a bridge over the river, which is the normal put in. Early in the season you may wish to carry (or drag over the snow) upstream a little to access one of the good drops on the river. Some people prefer a little warm up and will drive the extra half mile upstream on Smith River Road (or, if it is snowed in, the new route 104). Access the river at a left turn on Smith River Road (once again only plowed up to the last residence on the road).

The run is continuous from the put in. The most difficult rapid is located just upstream from the Cass Mill Road bridge. Ray's Rapid can be sneaked on a small channel on river left, but is often choked with logs and ice early in the season. The river slackens a little after the bridge.

While the listing name suggests Cass Mill Road as the take out, more usually boaters continue to a clearing formed by some overhead power lines. (From the road, you will be able to see the river in the valley.) Optionally you can continue two additional miles downstream to the take out at Berry Road bridge. This part of the river is mostly class II with a few strainers to avoid. (See additional listing.)
 

Technical info

Put in elevation 725'
Take out elevation 570' (481' at Berry Bridge)
Total drop 155' (244' to Berry Bridge)
Average drop/mile   89'(65' to Berry Bridge)
Distance 1.75 miles (3.75 to Berry Bridge)
River width average      25'
River geology Small to medium granite boulders, some ledges
River water quality Good, clarity average
Scenery Nice river valley usually sometimes within view of old route 104, a few homes/camps on the banks.
Wildlife Occasional deer, hawks, otters

Directions

Put in

Interstate 93 to exit 23 (NH 104).
Left (west) on NH 104 through the town of Bristol approximately 9 miles.
Left at Cass Mill road.
Take a right at the intersection just before the bridge over the Smith.
Approximately 1-1/4 miles park on the right after another bridge over the Smith.
Put in upstream of the bridge.

Take out

Head back and through the intersection with Cass Mill Road.
Approximately 1/2 of a mile past this intersection park by some overhead power lines.
 

Rapid Descriptions

Map of the Lower Pemi region

Class - Mile - 0

Comments

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clinton begley
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4 years ago

Paddled the Smith today at 5.0ft. Confirmed the tree that was previously in Rays is gone. No other wood of note as far as the powerlines.

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David Su
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5 years ago

2013 April: Smith is clear of wood from intersection of old Smith River Rd & Murray Hill Rd (43.54076, -71.82057) to the power line easement after Cass Mill Rd (43.56112, -71.78730), including both routes around the island - Ray's Rapid - approaching Cass Mill Rd and Class II, except for Ray's Rapid (III), @3.82' on the Bristol gauge. UNNAMED FALLS: We cannot find previous discussions of an unnamed waterfall and rapids farther downstream, "Pre-file Falls"(?) [IV-V] running from the bridge at the intersection of Smith River Rd and Borough Rd (43.56112, -71.78730), to a take-out on Smith River Rd (43.569134, -71.738051) opposite a wide, distinctively cleared yard on the south (right) bank of the Smith. These drops significantly precede Profile Falls farther downriver. Both Profile and Prefile Falls clear of wood 4/19/2013 and runnable @3.82' on the Bristol gauge.

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10 years ago

wondering if anyones run it all the way to pemi

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Mark Lacroix
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7 years ago

The Smith river was paddled (post Irene) on September 10th and found to be clear of debris and without any noticable change in river features with one exeption. There is a river wide strainer on the left channel of the Cass Mill rd to Berry road section. A short portage on the left is necessary or take the narrow bypass channel (also on the left) if it looks clear.

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9 years ago

Profile falls downstream of the takeout looks unrunnable. cllass 5 lead in to a class 6 drop.

Gauge Description


The Smith is generally a spring runoff river normally run in late March and early April. It occasionally comes up in late spring and early summer after heavy rains. There is a hand painted gauge river left on the upstream abutment at the Cass Mill road bridge just below Ray's Rapid. There has been bridge reconstruction recently so the old gauge was destroyed and a new paddlers gauge was painted on the new abutment. Currently boulders are piled up in front of the gauge making it difficult to read. The USGS gauge is currently the best resource for levels on this river. A gauge correlation between the new USGS gauge and the old hand painted gauge is shown below. Thanks to Tim Driscoll for this information.

 

Automatic           Painted
 Gauge:              Gauge: 
Bristol	    CFS    Cass Mill Rd       Interpretation
	 
|--------|--------|-----------------|---------------|
  4.0       388         -.1              Minimum
  4.1       423          0.0             Very Low
  4.15      441         .1
  4.2       460         .2           |---------------|
  4.25      480         .3
  4.3       500         .4                 Low
  4.35      520         .5
  4.4       540         .6
  4.45      561         .7           |---------------|
  4.5       581         .8
  4.6       623         .9
  4.7       666         1.0               Medium
  4.8       710         1.1
  4.9       755         1.2
  5.0       799         1.3          |---------------|
  5.1       844         1.4                High
  5.3       940         1.5
  5.5       1030        1.6
  5.6       1080        1.7          |---------------|
  5.8       1190        1.8               Very high
  5.9                   1.9
                        2.0
                        2.1
                        2.2
                        2.3
  6.0                   2.4
  6.02                  2.5


  Note: Some people do run the river all the way down to 3.75'   
 

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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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Alerts

News

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