This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III(IV)
Length 8.5 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 12/15/2014 10:41 pm

River Description

Fairly continuous class II (+/-) water until a right hand bend, and a small island and horizon line. A relatively short ledge (maybe 5'?) in a narrow, walled in canyon creates a real uniform backroller, not unlike a low-head dam reversal. While it may be runnable at LOW water levels, you are advised to scout. Be real confident and sure of your ability to catch an eddy and get out quickly, or take out early. If not runable, you will have to rope boats and carefully climb down the steep wall to put into the river below.

A couple hundred yards more class 2 (+/-) lead to the end of the short canyon, where again there is another atypical drop (class III-III+ at good waterlevels). A narrow tongue skirting a couple wave/holes banks just left of center and curves back to the right through a sweet wave/hole for its finish. The remainder of the run is more continuous class 2, but now with a couple bigger waves thrown in, and actually a spot or two pushing into almost class III, and allowing some sweet surfs in a few places.

Most boaters will take-out at trailhead parking about 1 mile up from the mouth to avoid the 'out-of-character' (much tougher) drops and strenuous carry-out in the park. The rating in parenthesis refers to this additional section including Fred's Falls (class V) and 1/4 mile of class III-IV beyond. This will necessitate a carry out to Hwy.61 in the state park.

The gorge in the park is extraordinarily scenic (from shore). The river is twisted, squeezed, and tormented as it churns through a contorted, polished volcanic rock gorge. This makes a great, though mildly strenuous (I.E., not 'handicapped accessible') hike for boaters and non-boaters alike to enjoy. At flows which make the rest of the river runnable, this gorge looks deadly. We do have information which suggests that (at low summer flows) a team of expert boaters have roped into the gorge and have run most of it's drops.

Rapid Descriptions

USGS sampling site

Class - N/A Mile - 8.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

A USGS sampling site (for rather random occasional "Field Measurements") lists drainage area at this location of 185 square miles (which makes it the second largest of the drainages for which USGS has a listed site).


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Visual inspection. If rapids at put-in or near trailhead parking (about 1 mile upstream from mouth) look good, the run should be fine.

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.

No Accident Reports



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.

Matt Muir




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192763 04/18/05 n/a n/a
1196616 11/21/09 Rob Remove dead link.
1203927 12/15/14 Rob rename/resequence