Browns - Westford to Lamoille River

Browns, Vermont, US


Westford to Lamoille River

Usual Difficulty II-III (varies with level)
Length 4 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04292500 1000 - 6000 cfs III 34d04h32m ~ 2160 cfs (running)

River Description

This year we finally broke the foul weather jinx that has plagued the Browns-Lamoille trip for several years. The morning was brisk, but by the 1:00 start time the sky was clear, the temperature comfortable. The Browns River was running just high enough to avoid scratching, and well below the heavy push of the previous week. The turnout was excellent, six kayaks, three solo canoes and a tandem canoe. The Browns River put-in is in Westford, just south of town, about 1/4 mile above the washed out dam which is just below the bridge behind the store. The dam is a difficult Class III when the river is high, the river right passage is the preferred route. When the river is low the preferred route is to carry around, which we all did.

The Browns River runs several miles before reaching the Lamoille. The current runs fast and fun for short stretches, slow and lazy for others. There are two distinct ledges to negotiate. Some of the less experienced decided to line through. The group divided into two after the second ledge, allowing some of the faster boaters to move ahead. At the Lamoille the water level was at a low spring level, quick but easily managed. The entire trip ran just over four hours. No swimmers, plenty of sunshine, and a great day on the rivers. -- Mark Willett
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-04-19 10:50:05

Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
August 2 2013 (1994 days ago)
jomamasurf (155258)
Gauge Info: USGS Flow: 3300 cfs; USGS Station: East Georgia Lamoille [A comment about the Browns
River flow... The Lower Lamoille cfs flow figure on the East Georgia gauge can be misleading for
this river. However, a more complete estimate can be had by looking at the level of change per
hour. If the Lamoille is climbing the Browns will likely be proportionately higher and vice-versa
if the Lamoille gauge is dropping it will likely be proportionately lower.] On Apr 11, 2012 we put
in at the excellent parking area just south of Westford Village Green by the Rt. 128 bridge. The
flow was medium-low. Some of the group eddied out (river left) to shore scout at the dam after
passing under the covered bridge in Westford Village. All but one paddler then picked a line from
river-right to left around the lead-in ledge pourovers to negotiate the slide on far river-left at
the collapsed dam. A few rolls and braces were required by the tilted ledge at the foot of the
tongue but others thumbed their noses as they paddled away from the large toilet bowl swirl
river-center at the base of the broken-up dam. The next feature, sometimes referred to as S-turn
Rapid, is the liveliest rapid on the run. There are good eddies for practice throughout. The main
flow takes aim at a large rock river-center if you are too passive with your paddle through this
section. As flow increases there also is a diagonal wave mid-way and a pillow forms hiding the
rock. The last road access parallels on river-right just after this rapid. Around a bend and a few
hundred yards is the next feature, a river-wide 3' ledge drop (scout on river left). Everyone
cleanly ran left of the large rock (river center) . A short distance later, the group again choose
center lines between a rock and island ledge in the 2-step, slide-drop section of this 3' drop.
There were a few light scrapping sounds through the shallower section that followed but it was all
reasonably fluid on this day. The final double-island feature came up after 1-1/2 mile of flat
water ending with a fun rock-garden lead-in rapid. Some river scouted from an eddy overlooking the
river-right rocky slide, and then everyone elected to bounce down through that option rather than
paddle either of the river left channel alternatives. The Rt 128 take-out bridge came into view,
after another 3/4 mile section of flat water. Take-out is on either side at the bridge (or after on
river left 40 yards downstream). The takes out options are not the friendliest but access to the
road-side parking area is good. Other options for take out are river-right just after the next
bridge on McNall Rd. (+1-mile) or to the Lower Lamoille put-in (+ 2.2-mile) or the Lamoille
take-out (+6-mile - see Lower Lamoille).
April 18 2010 (3196 days ago)
thegoodgoose (151717)
Brock Richardson This run correlates fairly well with the Lower lamoille gauge. Low runnable is
about 1000cfs on the Lower Lamoille at this level it is a scratchy class II. We ran it today at
around 4000cfs on the Lower Lamoille and at this level it had several class III sections.
March 11 2009 (3599 days ago)
Dan BeideckDetails
A few experienced paddlers ran this section last Fall. I was universally agreed that this is more
significant than class II. Class III is probably more appropriate.