This is a nice easy run suitable for first time river runners, family, or just an easy day floating on a river. The put in is just below a class II+ ledge at the route 175 bridge. The river below is mostly quickwater with an occasional class I rip. There are a few sections that could prove to be more difficult when the river flow heads directly into a bank and takes a sharp turn amoungst boulders. Also be carefull of newly fallen trees in the channel about 1/2 mile below the Thornton town bridge at "Robin's Nest".
The river itself is shallow and flows over a gravel bed with wide gravel and sand beaches in the summer. Interstate 93, route 3, and 175 cross over the river several times. Most of the river is very close to one of these roads but mostly out of site. You will see an occasional house or condo, two campgrounds, and a golf course along the way. At mile 9.5 there is a nice swimming hole with a rope swing in a deep pool at a sharp river bend. After this bend the river splits around an island either channel is runnable but the right one is more interesting.
Access can also be acquired at the halfway point in the town of Thornton. Look for "Robin's Nest Road" on state Route 3 just north of the Thornton town hall. Putting in at this point the river is more sluggish than above.
Put in elevation........605'
Take out elevation......535'
River width average.....70'
River geology...........gravel river bed and banks, some ledge
River water quality.....Good, clarity good.
Scenery.................Good, but highway can occasionaly be heard but are
usually just out of sight. Golf course
Wildlife................Deer, Moose, Bank swallows, merganzers.
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.
This section of the Pemi flows most of the Summer unless it has been very dry. Some wading in the wider shallow sections is necessary when the flow drops below 400 cfs.
8 years ago
by Mark Lacroix
10 years ago
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Easy trip on the upper Pemi
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
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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.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
American Whitewater and Merrimack Valley Paddlers have reached an agreement to purchase a 10-acre parcel fronting on Contoocook River in Henniker, NH. The land serves as an important launch point for whitewater paddlers enjoying the popular section of the river that runs from Hillsborough to Henniker. This section of the Contoocook River contains rapids ranging in difficulty from Class II to Class IV.
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