Pemigewasset - 3) North Woodstock–Woodstock

Pemigewasset, New Hampshire, US


3) North Woodstock–Woodstock

Usual Difficulty II (for normal flows)
Length 4.25 Miles
Avg. Gradient 27 fpm
Max Gradient 38 fpm

Ledges on Woodstock section of the Pemi

Ledges on Woodstock section of the Pemi
Photo of Nancy Gero by Mark Lacroix taken 05/16/02 @ 894 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01075000 350 - 2000 cfs II 00h42m 312 cfs (too low)

River Description

Class II river good for novice and intermediate paddlers. The two most difficult sections are right at the begining and at the take out. Both can be easily avoided by portaging.


Technical info

Put in elevation........718'
Take out elevation......605'
Total drop..............113'
Average drop/mile.......27'
Distance................4.25 miles
1st mile drop...........38'
2nd mile drop...........30'
3rd mile drop...........12'
4th mile drop...........20'
River width average.....40'
River geology...........small granite boulders and lots of ledge 
River water quality.....Good, clarity good.
Scenery.................Good, but highway, homes, and a race track can be heard
                        but are usually just out of sight.
Wildlife................Deer, Moose, lots of hawks. 


Put in

From Rte Interstate 93, take exit 32 in North Woodstock. Take a right at the end of the exit ramp (from north and southbound ramps) and head west to traffic light about 1/4 mile
Left on NH route 3 South 1/4 mile to Woodstock fire station, left to parking behind station.

Take out

Continue south on NH route 3 from the put in.
1/4 mile take a left on NH route 175
Continue on NH route 175 for approximately 4 miles passing the exit 31 highway access. About a 1/3 mile after passing over the river look for "Death Valley Road" on the right which is a short dirt road directly across the street from the "other" Woodstock Fire station.
Another alternative way to get to the take out is to head back to Interstate 93 from the put in then head south
Take exit 31 and take a right then an immediate left on NH route 175 then continue as above.


The following is a list of campgrounds more suited for tents and small campers, there are a variety of private campgrounds that cater especially to RV's, they are not listed here but can be found in any national campground directory.

Hancock: National Forest campground on the East Branch of the Pemi in Lincoln open year round, 4 miles east of Lincoln exit 32 off of I93 on route 112 (Kancamaugus highway).

Russell Pond: National Forest campground open May to Columbus day, located on a high elevation lake in Woodstock, take exit 31 off of I93, head east on Tripoli road toward Waterville Valley, take a left at the sign for Russell Pond campground, 2 miles to the top of the hill.

Tripoli road: Primitive roadside camping with no facilities, open May to Columbus day, take exit 31 off of I93, head east on Tripoli road toward Waterville Valley, just after the left for Russell pond campground there is a forest service trailer, stop here and pay for your camping permit.

Osceola campground: National forest campground located in Waterville Valley, open May to Columbus day, great views of surronding mountains, take exit 31 off of I93, head east on Tripoli road (dirt) 8 miles toward Waterville Valley, look for the campground sign on your left, this one is rather far from the rivers.

Campton campground: National forest campground located in Campton/Thornton, open May to Columbus day, take exit 28 off of I93, head east on NH 49 toward Waterville Valley, 3 miles to sign, group camping on the right individual sites located on the left.

Branch Brook: Private campground located on the Pemigewasset river in Campton, open May to Columbus day, take exit 28 off of I93, head east on NH 49, 3/4 of a mile to the campground on the right.

Flow Info:

USGS gage located just above the ledges section behind the firestation. This section can and does rise and fall rapidly due to the steep upper watershed. High water is usually found in late April and early May. Medium water mid May through early June. Low water through the Summer sometimes high enough to run especially after a rain event. Forecast

Too low to scratchy low......350cfs - 500cfs
Low..........................500cfs - 850cfs
Medium.......................850cfs - 1500cfs
Estimated chance (%) of finding the river runnable.
Month............% chance.................comment

January ............ 0%....frozen. 
March................5%....Usually frozen. 
April...............75%....Best chance mid to late April 
May ................85%....Runnable most of the month
August...............35%....A thunderstorm could bring it up 
September...........45%....Tropical storms and their remains 
November............70%....Fall rains, dormant trees
December............45%....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 35% probability for August means on average you can only expect 10 days of water. One year there could be 20 days in August with water, other years none. Spring levels are usually higher than fall levels. The river rises and falls rapidly because of the steep watershed. An occasional summer storm could bring the river up for a day. People often run this stretch lower than the recommended minimum flows with some wading in the shllows.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-05-02 00:26:22


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Map of the Mid Pemi regionPutin Takeout Photo
0.1Woodstock SqueezeII+
1.3Tree Fall AlleyIIHazard
2.5Gravel Pit bypassII
4.2The LedgesII+

Rapid Descriptions

Map of the Mid Pemi region

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Rivers of the Middle Pemigewasset region

Rivers of the Middle Pemigewasset region
Photo by Mark Lacroix

Woodstock Squeeze (Class II+, Mile 0.1)
Shortly after the put in is the second most difficult drop on this section of river. The Pemi, East Branch, and Lost rivers converge at the put in then makes a hard right up against a steep bouldered bank narrows to about 20 feet wide then takes a hard left. Shortly after this hard left a large boulder sits midstream of the narrowed channel. Avoid it by going to the right or left otherwise it can easily pin your boat. At medium levels there is an eddy on river right just before the sharp left turn. Catch this eddy for an easier line through the rest of the rapid. Carry river left should you decide this drop is too much to start with.

Powerline (Class II, Mile 1.1)
This rapid starts at a powerline crossing. The river takes a sharp left then cuts through a gravel section of the river. The left bank is steep and often feeds in new boulders each spring. This rapid is rather straight forward without much hazard but be aware of shallow boulder sieves in low water especially at the top and bottom of this drop.

Tree Fall Alley (Class II, Mile 1.3)
Shortly after Poweline the river cuts through a fairly new channel. In the mid 80's the Pemi cut this new channel when a flood bypassed the old channel that went to the right above Powerline rapid. This new section is narrow and contains many old and new tree falls on both banks. Be especially catious at the end of the channel where a large tree blocks the left channel completely. As of May 2002 a small tree also blocks a good part of the right channel.

Gravel Pit bypass (Class II, Mile 2.5)
About 1/4 mile below a railroad bridge the river used to cut through a gravel pit. This gravel pit was used for the construction of Interstate 93 in the early 70's. A flood in the 80's rechannalized the river through the gravel pit for a number of years. Another flood in 1998 changed the course of the river again back to its traditional river bed. From a boating point of view the current river bed is more desirable. There are two class II drops in this section. The first one is a chute that heads straight into a bouldered bank. Avoid being slammed against the boulders by pulling hard to the right just after the river opens up wider. The second drop is another chute where the river takes a hard left. The lower part of this drop contains a fairly large hole/wave.

The Ledges (Class II+, Mile 4.2)
The final drop on this section is the toughest. It can be easily avoided by portaging on the right. If you decide to run it take out on the right and scout your line. The easiest line is to the right side of the ledge following the main flow of the water. At high levels this rapid can be very turbulent and rated class III.

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