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Difficulty II
Length 3.1 Miles
Gauge OTTER BROOK BELOW OTTER BROOK DAM, NEAR KEENE, NH
Flow Range 400 - 900 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 year ago 12.2 [CFS]
Next Release 2008-05-04
Reach Info Last Updated 05/01/2018 11:59 pm

River Description


 

Lower Otter Brook is traditionally one of the first spring rivers run in NH. It is mostly a class II run appropriate for novice and intermediate paddlers.
There is a nice hole/wave play spot formed by the dam outflow at the put in. Use caution here since the concrete walls on either side could trap a paddler should the hole be the more prominent feature. It is also very shallow so watch out not to roll here.
The river starts out with class II, winding its way through an alder thicket. This section is very narrow and occasionally contains strainers and overhanging alders. Recent beaver activity has added to the hazard. As of March 2002 a rather large beaver dam has been built about 1/4 mile below the Middletown road bridge. Currently this dam is breaching in the middle and creating a very nice drop and surfing wave, but the dam is being washed away slowly with each release or high water event.
The lower section of the river is wider with the additional flow from the Miniwawa river. Just above the intersection with the Miniwawa there is a nice two foot ledge (Otter Ledge) drop with a steep channel on river right. At levels above 600 cfs this river should be rated class II/III.
 

Technical info

Put in elevation........656'
Take out elevation......492'
Total drop..............164'
Average drop/mile.......53'
Distance................3.1 miles
1st mile drop...........66'
2nd mile drop...........36'
3rd mile drop...........62'
River width average.....25'
River geology...........small granite boulders some ledge
River water quality.....Good, clarity average.
Scenery.................Suburban a few homes and mobile homes on upper reach,
                        more urban near takeout.
Wildlife................Beaver, deer, hawks, Otters?. 

Directions


Put in

Interstate 93 to NH 101 West(south of Manchester).
West on NH 101 for approximately 45 miles to Marlborough.
Just past the Keene town line take a right on Branch rd (should be a small sign for Otter Brook dam).
Approximately 2 miles to put in at the base of the dam.
 

Take out

Head back in the direction you came to NH route 101.
Take a right (west).
Approximately 1/2 mile take a left just before NH Route 101 spans the river.
Park on the right at any convenient takeout location.

 

Flow Info:

 

The flow in this section is controlled by the Otter Brook Flood control dam located at the put-in. Otter Brook USGS gage is located at the dam.

Estimated chance (%) of finding the river runnable.
Month............% chance.................comment
 

January ............ 5%....Usually frozen
February............10%....Usually frozen.
March...............50%....Opens up early in the month.
April...............70%....Best chance in early April 
May ................30%....Best chance in early May. 
June................10%
July.................5%
August...............5%....Just a trickle 
September...........15%....Tropical storms and their remains
October........?....20%
November............40%....Fall rains, dormant trees 
December............35%....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 5% probability for August means on average you can only expect 1-1/2 days of water. One year there could be 3 days in August with water, other years none. Spring levels are usually higher than fall levels.
 

2008 Otter Brook releases

Date

Time

Flow

Notes
Sat. March 29th 9:00am-until water depleted  300 cfs Recreational
Sun. March 30th 300 cfs Recreational
Sat. April 26th 300 cfs Recreational
Sun. April 27th 300 cfs Recreational
Sat. May 3rd 300 cfs Recreational
Sun. May 4th 300 cfs ACA NH WW

Note: If there is not enough water available for the May weekend Saturdays release will be cancelled.

 

 

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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Lora Fulton
|
5 years ago

Three of us ran Otter Brook on 4/15/2012, no significant strainers to worry about. There is some wood, but easy to navigate around. Fun run. Update: ran it again on 6/30/2013, again no significant wood in the way (thanks to the racers who cleared it out earlier this season).

default user thumbnail
Christopher Schmidt
|
10 years ago

04/08/08 We paddled Otter Brook today. Fantastic day, great temps, all around incredible day. Removed a large branch overhanging the river immediately after the beaver dam. The river was free and clear of strainers today, some potential strainers due to a few overhanging trees. The run is in great shape.

Release Schedule

We have had releases on this reach but don't show any currently. This information is gathered by the public. If you know about releases then contact us about them. If you would volunteer to enter the releases, then reach out to us.

Gauge Description


The flow in this section is controlled by the Otter Brook Flood control dam located at the put-in. Otter Brook USGS gage is located at the dam.
Estimated chance (%) of finding the river runnable.
Month............% chance.................comment
 

January ............ 5%....Usually frozen
February............10%....Usually frozen.
March...............50%....Opens up early in the month.
April...............70%....Best chance in early April 
May ................30%....Best chance in early May. 
June................10%
July.................5%
August...............5%....Just a trickle 
September...........15%....Tropical storms and their remains
October........?....20%
November............40%....Fall rains, dormant trees 
December............35%....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 5% probability for August means on average you can only expect 1-1/2 days of water. One year there could be 3 days in August with water, other years none. Spring levels are usually higher than fall levels.
 

2008 Otter Brook releases

Date

Time

Flow

Notes
Sat. March 29th 9:00am-until water depleted  300 cfs Recreational
Sun. March 30th 300 cfs Recreational
Sat. April 26th 300 cfs Recreational
Sun. April 27th 300 cfs Recreational
Sat. May 3rd 300 cfs Recreational
Sun. May 4th 300 cfs ACA NH WW

Note: If there is not enough water available for the May weekend Saturdays release will be cancelled.

 

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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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No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

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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.

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Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

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AW, MVP Protect Land and Access on the Contoocook River (NH)

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