This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-V
Length 8.5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 12/19/2014 11:20 pm

River Description

This is a fairly long run, with numerous mandatory portages (for most mere mortal paddlers, anyway). A long eddyless section preceeds one of the mandatory portages. Extreme caution should be used.

The first roughly half of the run (about 4 miles at 45fpm) is SIGNIFICANTLY tamer than the latter half (4.5 miles at 160fpm). Access may be possible via Schroeder-Tofte Road/4 to do less than the whole segment, however that stub may be impassible early season.

Rapid Descriptions

Start of a nice sequence

Class - II Mile - 0.7
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We do not have much accurate information about specific drops on this run (nor names for them). Therefore NONE of the 'names' here are actual names, but rather are just descriptions. Do NOT expect this to be an accurate account of every significant feature on the run. What follows is strictly what can be perceived from aerial views online, and should be taken primarily as 'way-points and mile markers' to anticipate or judge how far along you are down the run. Aerial view of the river is often obstructed (especially in narrow, tree-lined areas or gorges), which will preclude perception of some drops from online inspection.

Anyone having more/better information is highly encouraged to help your fellow boaters by either (1) email me, via address listed on 'Credits & Network' tab, (2) use the 'Add a Comment' button below, or (best of all) (3) email me to volunteer as StreamTeam member so you can update this description (or any of the other awesome North-Shore rivers you have familiarity with).

Island Rips

Class - II Mile - 1.25
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Another fine rips begins before a decent-sized island and continues a ways downstream.

slightly more significant drop

Class - III Mile - 1.6
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There appears to be a bit more rocky obstruction just before a jig-jog bend in the river. Downstream, it appears the river is sqeezed a bit as it bends back to the right. We expect this may be at least class II, possibly pushing into class III.

Island and bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 1.96
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A long, thin island splits the river (major flow goes right). After about a tenth of a mile, as the island ends, a bridge is encountered. (Appears to be a single-track truck trail or snomobile trail; No forest road or trail is indicated here on the online maps.)

Significant rocky outcropping

Class - III Mile - 2.46
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A fairly significant rocky outcropping in the streambed here may cause a significant rapids here. I'm guessing likely class III.

Stumble Creek

Class - N/A Mile - 4.175
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(Way marker) Stumble Creek enters from the right. Schroeder Tofte Road (mislabeled 'Schroeder Tote Road on Google Maps) meets Stumble Creek not far upstream, and *might* be possible access/egress at this point.

Superior Hiking Trail

Class - N/A Mile - 4.725
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At about this point, the Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) nears and parallels on river-right.

Significant rocky drop

Class - III Mile - 5.07
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A significant looking rocky area, probably class III.

major drop

Class - N/A Mile - 6.38
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Significant Drop / SHT

Class - N/A Mile - 6.54
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Approaching a bridge/crossing of the Superior Hiking Trail, there appears to be quite a significant rapids. Afterwards, the river heads round a quarter-mile loop away from the trail, but soon swings back Easterly, encountering a large island (majority flow river-left) before a right-bend where it resumes a SSE direction. From this point, the "Cross River Spur" (of the Superior Hiking Trail) is fairly immediately to river-left for most the rest of the run.

Major drop sequence

Class - N/A Mile - 6.95
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From here down, there is greatly increased gradient. Exercise due diligence not to boat too far beyond good eddies and good egress, lest you get too close to falls (past a point of no return).

Prepare to exit

Class - N/A Mile - 7.5
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If you've paid attention since the SHT bridge (at mile 6.54), the river has three times (in about 1.5 miles) swung almost due East for short stretches (on its otherwise predominantly SSE direction the latter half of this run). At this point, it takes a sharp (90-degree/right-angle) to the WEST. This is your cue to be very cautious about how far downstream you go. Right at this bend SHT is very close on the left, but it veers to the left as the river veers right, meaning you'll be bushwacking from shore anyplace downstream. (Not that there is any sort of dense underbrush, just that there is not a wide groomed trail.) Downstream of this right-elbow bend, the pace accelerates.

(All fellow boaters and I would appreciate update/revision if the above description is inaccurate!)

Major drop

Class - N/A Mile - 7.7
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SHT bridge

Class - N/A Mile - 7.9
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A bridge offers a look at the river upstream and down, if you care to take the detour on your carry out. IIRC, the view from the bridge is not particulary exceptional, but downstream around a bend (where there are houses up on shore, precluding much casual access for viewing) the river drops some serious final gradient heading down to Hwy.61 before easing off for the remaining short distance to Lake Superior.

USGS site

Class - N/A Mile - 8.5
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USGS lists a sampling site (for random "Field Measurements") with 91 square mile drainage. Oddly, the coordinates given (in two different ways on two different listings) do not map all that close to the river (apparently the data layers are not in sync). No description is provided, so we do not know if the site is at Hwy.61 (as we are displaying) or somewhere slightly upstream or down. The purpose of including this info is primarily for better understanding the relative sizes of these North Shore rivers' watersheds, to understand their likelihood of adequate flows. This information puts this as 8th-largest) of the nearly three dozen (mostly random-sampling, not real-time) sites USGS has on the North Shore.


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Directions Description

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article main photo

Penobscot River Dams to be Removed!

Kevin Colburn

Atlantic Salmon and other imperiled fish species will soon have hundreds of additional miles of habitat. A recent decision between a power company, NGO's, tribes, and government agencies calls for the removal of two dams on Maine's Penobscot River and the bypassing of a third. American Whitewater applauds this huge win for rivers and is recruiting volunteers to assist with our work on the project. There is a public meeting December 2nd.



Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1203940 12/19/14 Rob minor edit
1192320 05/05/09 Rob n/a