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Difficulty III-IV
Length 3.5 Miles
Gauge Kennebec River at The Forks, Maine
Flow Range 350 - 13000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 33 minutes ago 3560 [CFS] ℹ️
Next Release 2017-10-07
Reach Info Last Updated 01/05/2017 1:28 am

River Description


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.
 

Directions to the Forks


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. 
 

Directions to the put in from the Forks


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.
 

Directions to the take out from the put in


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)
 

Technical info

Put in elevation........844'
Take out elevation......706'
Total drop..............138'
Average drop/mile.......40'
Distance................3.5 miles 
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. 


Rapid Descriptions

The Forks Maine

Class - Mile - 0

Map Key

Class - Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
1. Webb’s Dead River Campground & Shuttle Service: Shuttles to the Dead put in, campground with showers. To book a site at Webb's campground or shuttle call River Drivers to make the reservations. That phone number is: 207-663-4475. The cost is $8.00 per person, per night, plus 7% State tax.
2. Appleton’s restaurant: Pizza, subs, ice cream, breakfast (207) 663-2114 .
3. River Drivers: Rafting, etc 207-663-4475.
4. Paddling shop: Dead River Outfitters
5. Berry’s General Store: Gas, Beer, food, supplies, pizza, subs
6. The Ball field campground: Primitive campsites, porta-poties, no showers. Take out for Lower Kennebec.
7. Crab Apple Camping Rafting, hot tub, bar, food.
8. Public Picnic area: also used as Lower Kennebec take out.
9. The Marshall Hotel (Hotel Cocktails): Food, bar, horse shoes, pool table.
10. Dead River takeout.
11. Majic Falls Rafting: Raft trips, camping
12. Three Rivers Whitewater & Kelly Brook campground
13. Northern Outdoors Camping, Rafting, restaurant, hot tub, bar, entertainment
14. North Country Rivers Rafting, etc.
15. Professional River Runners: Rafting, etc.
16. New England Outdoor Center: Rafting, paddling shop, etc.
17. Indian Pond campground
Not on map:
Moxie Gore cabins: : $30 per night
Moxie Outdoor Outfitters: 866-663-2646 Large cabins $75 per night

Put in

Class - Mile - 0.01
At the gate to Harris Station you will need to sign a waiver form for Florida Power and Light. The old $1 access fee is no longer collected thanks to the hard work of Tom Christopher of American Whitewater.

Drive past the gate to an open area by some service buildings, to the left is the commercial raft companies meeting area and a new public bathroom facility. To the right is the private boater parking area. If you get there before 9:30 am you can drive in through the gate just before the service road, to drop off boating equipment at the top of the stairway. You cannot leave your vehicle here; it must be brought back up to the private boaters parking area.

Boaters no longer have access to the paved road drop off to the base of the river. Homeland security concerns has limited this area to authorize personal only.

Taster

Class - II+ Mile - 0.25
Easy big water rapids with lots of surfing opportunities. Ball Buster wave can only be surfed by long boats. Disappearing wave is a little further downstream. This wave pulses on a gradual cycle from being a great wave to just a flat spot in the river.

Rock Garden

Class - III+ Mile - 0.75
Big waves with some rocks and holes on river left. Best run right of center then cut across to river left just below a large hole. Catch the eddy for some surfing at the base of the rapid.

Big Mama (aka Three Sisters)

Class - IV Mile - 0.9

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.

Alleyway

Class - IV Mile - 1.3
Long series of waves with much turbulence. A swim here will be about 3/4 of a mile to Cathedral Eddy. This section is similar to the waves and turbulence found in the Grand Canyon.

Z-turn

Class - II+ Mile - 2.2
Small easy rapid known for its playspots.

Magic

Class - IV Mile - 2.6
Big turbulent rapid similar to Grand Canyon rapids. Run left for the drop into Magic hole. Left of center (The Highway) to avoid Magic and Maytag hole on river right. Caution do not run Maytag unless levels are above 8500 cfs. Magic hole becomes nasty at levels below 3400 cfs.

Comments

default user thumbnail
Taylor Walker
|
9 months ago

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

Summary of Gauge Readings

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

Date

Time

Flow

Date

Time

Flow

Sat., June 14th

10am to 1pm

8000 cfs

Sat., Aug 2nd

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., June 21st

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sun., Aug. 3rd

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., June 28th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., Aug. 9th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., July 5th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., Aug. 16th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Mon., July 7th

10am to 1 pm

8000 cfs

Sun., Aug. 17th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., July 12th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., Aug. 23rd

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sun., July 13th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., Aug. 30th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., July 19th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sun., Sept. 1st

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., July 26th

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

Sat., Sept. 6th

10am to 1pm

8000 cfs

1pm to 3 pm

2400 cfs

 

 

 

Sat., Sept. 20th

10am to 1pm

8000 cfs



 

 

Gauge NameReadingTimeComment
Kennebec River at The Forks, Maine
AW Gauge Info
3560 cfs ℹ️ 00h33m

Release Schedule

For the latest flow information call (800) 557-3569 Dial 5 for Kennebec.

More Information

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.

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Directions Description


We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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Date Flow Result Factor  
2008-08-21 High Fatality High Water Read More
2004-09-11 High Fatality High Water Read More
2001-07-01 Medium Fatality High Water Read More
1996-07-16 High Fatality High Water Read More

Alerts

News

article main photo

Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

2015-06-02 15:57:00-04
Robert Nasdor

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. 

article main photo

KENNEBEC SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED !!!

2001-07-26 00:00:00-04
Nick Lipowski

KENNEBEC SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED !!!
ACCESS FEES REMOVED!!
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Mark Lacroix

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Thomas O'Keefe

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Bill Hunt

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Jeremy Cass