Once you enter the gorge below Harris station, you are commited to the run. The gorge has sheer walls with class IV big water running for approximately 2 miles. The main concern is big waves, crosscurrents, and some large holes. The shoreline is shale that tends to break up into sharp jagged edges.
The Alleyway continues up to Cathedral eddy were there is a good wavetrain. After Cathedral eddy the Kennebec widens and the shear gorge walls dissappear. Z-turn rapid lies 1/4 mile downstream. This is an easy class II playspot with surfing waves and an ender/sidesurfing hole.
Another 1/3 of a mile below Z-turn is the biggest drop on the Kennebec. Run left for a dip into Magic Hole. At levels above 3500cfs Magic Hole can be punched but be ready to roll. Below 3500cfs Magic gets sticky and trashy. Take the "Highway" which runs just left of center of the river. Do not run river right at any level below 8500 cfs. Maytag hole can hold rafts for days. This is the most significant horizon line on the run, so if you are not sure of where you are and you come to a horizon line, you are at Magic falls. Maytag is below Magic, on the center right.
The takeout is another 1-1/2 miles downstream at Carry brook. There is a steep stairway on the left. Trips can continue down to the Forks (9 miles) but the river becomes more sluggish the further downstream you go.
The following information is from AW Director Tom Christopher, quoted in various message boards:
1. The 300 cfs minimum flow will not be in place until FPL receives their operating license from FERC, hopefully in about a year. It is an excellent Class II-III run, fine for open boats and not pushy, with 2, perhaps 3, easy Class IV drops that can be easily portaged. It will provide a wonderful opportunity for folks with a lower skills level to enjoy the remote beauty of the Kennebec Gorge.
2. The normal 4800 cfs release is a classic Class IV run with big water waves and crosscurrent crashing off of the Gorge walls, a few serious holes, and multiple opportunities for long nasty swims especially below "Big Mama" (8 ft. waves) and into the "Alleyway".
If you do not have a combat roll or have limited Class IV experience, it is probably not a good idea to run at this level.
3. At 2400 cfs all of the above is significantly magnified. There are more holes with consequences, much stickier and nasty. The river become more technical at this level and now becomes a more difficult Class IV+ river that will require a good solid skills level for the trip to be run safely.
Take I-95 North to Maine Exit 36 (Route 201) in Fairfield or Skowhegan. Go north on 201 to The Forks (about 60 miles north on 201 from I-95). This will get you to West Forks Maine. You will start seeing outfitters about 5 miles before the Moxie Falls road turnoff to the putin.
1) Begin at Webbs/Berrys on US-201 and go Southeast for 0.4 miles (0.4 cumulative)
2) Turn left on Moxie Rd,Moxie Falls Rd and go East for 5 miles (5.6 cumulative). Location marked by a "W" on the map.
3) Turn left on Indian Pond Dam Rd and go North for 8 miles (13.5 cumulative) Location marked by a "X" on the map.
4) Check in at the gate house then proceed through the gate .2 miles (13.7 cumulative). Location marked by a "Z" on the map.
1) Begin at the put in (Harris station) head south on Indian pond dam road 4.0 miles(4.0 cumulative)
2) Turn right at a dirt road intersection with a small shed size building on the right. Location marked by a "Y" on the map.
3) Approximately 1.5 miles of good to poor dirt road to take out (5.5 cumulative)
Put in elevation........844'
Take out elevation......706'
River width average.....50'
River geology...........Slate ledge
River water quality.....Good, clarity good.
Scenery.................Excellent, isolated steep walled gorge
Wildlife................Deer, moose, loons, eagles.
Largest waves on the Kennebec. 6-8 foot waves. Some people attempt to surf Big Momma. Best approach is from an eddy on river right just above the wave. Long eddy on river left allows you to feed back in but the wave is harder to catch from this side. At 3200cfs this turns into a large hole that can be punched on the left or threaded on the right.
This gauge is not accurate. For accurate flow information visit h2oline.com and Kennebec River at Harris Station. This gauge is reading in the Forks which is well below the run and accounts for inflow from multiple other streams
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.
The Kennebec is a dam controlled river. An agreement worked out between the rafting, boating, and power company has guaranteed water on weekends. Normally you can expect 4800 cfs from 10 am until 2 pm but that can change depending on conditions. At times of drought the flows will remain at 4800 cfs but the release times can be cut back 2 hours (10am to 12 pm). Early in the season (May) flows may be higher (6000 cfs) and for longer durations.
In addition to the daily flows stated above a new settlement agreement between FPL and American Whitewater goes into effect this year. There will be four 8,000 cfs release scheduled along with several 2400 cfs releases. (See below for dates). 8000 cfs releases increase the overall difficulty to class IV+. 2400 cfs releases makes for a more technical run.
From May 1st through Columbus day in October, the daily release will be a minimum of 4800 cfs, 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
From June 15th through September 15th, 1pm to 3 pm minimum release will be 2400 cfs.
Between June 15th and September 15th in consultation with AW, AMC, & NEFLOW there will be four Sunday releases at a minimum of 2400 cfs during the hours of 1pm and 3pm.
In consultation with all interested parties there will be four releases of 8000 cfs provided each rafting season during the hours of 10 am and 1 pm.
For the latest flow information call (800) 557-3569 Dial 5 for Kennebec.
2008 Kennebec Settlement Flows
Sat., June 14th
10am to 1pm
Sat., Aug 2nd
1pm to 3 pm
Sat., June 21st
Sun., Aug. 3rd
Sat., June 28th
Sat., Aug. 9th
Sat., July 5th
Sat., Aug. 16th
Mon., July 7th
10am to 1 pm
Sun., Aug. 17th
Sat., July 12th
Sat., Aug. 23rd
Sun., July 13th
Sat., Aug. 30th
Sat., July 19th
Sun., Sept. 1st
Sat., July 26th
Sat., Sept. 6th
Sat., Sept. 20th
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.
The $500,000 stairway
Cathedral Eddy Kennebec River
Harris Dam at Kennebec put in
Kennebec Put In
The Forks Maine
Warm-up Wave, Kennebec
Maytag, Kennebec River
Taking the "Highway" by Magic
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
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!