Merrimack - 1) Franklin to Penacook

Merrimack, New Hampshire, US


1) Franklin to Penacook

Usual Difficulty I (for normal flows)
Length 18 Miles
Avg. Gradient 5 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01081500 400 - 20000 cfs I 01h05m 4890 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

This section is runnable most of the year. There are no difficulties worth mentioning. There are several access points along the way to start or end a trip. See below for directions to these various access points. About 3/4 of the way into the trip you will pass a nice series of high sand dunes right on the rivers edge. This is very unusual for New England. Below the NH Route 4 access point be prepared for some whitewater that could be dangerous if the water is high (>3500 cfs).

Directions to put in

Rte 93 to exit 20. West on Rtes 3/11 approximately 5 miles to Franklin High School on your left. Parking and access behind the school.

Directions to NH route 4 take out

Rte 93 to exit 17. West on NH Rte 11 approximately 1 mile. After passing over the river park on the left at the NH Park & Ride which also has access to the Hannah Dustin memorial. The take out at the NH Route 4 bridge is a long (but not too) uphill trudge.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-06-25 02:03:09


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put inPutin
6.5Mid point canoe accessPutin Takeout Access
14.0Take outTakeout Access
18.0Lower takeout accessTakeout Access

Rapid Descriptions

Put in
Look for a short dirt road behind the Franklin High school leading down to reverside access and parking.

Mid point canoe access
For a shorter trip take out or put in here. The current is usually swifter up to this access point coming down from Franklin. Below, the river flattens out. To find this canoe access head south on route 3 from the Franklin high school canoe access for approximately 6 miles. Just before the Merrimack county jail complex look for a small canoe access sign on your left. Short dirt road to the river.

Take out
After passing under the NH route 4 bridge look for a small beach on river right just before an old bridge abutement. Carry up to the Park & Ride parking area. This can be used as another access point for the river section below. While here, check out the Hannah Dustin monument on the island just downstream from the takeout beach. You can also access this island by crossing on the pedestrian side of a railroad bridge going over a channel of the Contoocook river.

Lower takeout access
This section of river from the route 4 access contains a class II rapid just above an old iron truss bridge. Just downstream from here is the Sewalls Falls dam remains. In low water there is not much here to worry about. At high water there may be turbulance and waves. Take out just below the remains of the dam on river right and carry up to the riverside parking access point.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.

No Comments

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating