Lamprey - Upper Lamprey


Lamprey, New Hampshire, US

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Upper Lamprey

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 3.9 Miles
Avg. Gradient 49 fpm
Max Gradient 86 fpm

Miller Time


Miller Time
Photo by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
LAMPREY RIVER AT LANGFORD ROAD AT RAYMOND
hads-RAYN3 4.50 - 7.50 ft IV 2y211d06h38m 2.13 ft (too low)


River Description

The Upper Section of the Lamprey River is a delightful class III/IV creek located in south-central New Hampshire. It's close location allows for short-notice paddling after work on weekdays. Be aware that the river rises and falls quickly with rain so one must act fast to catch it up. Additionally care is required because of strainers which can be plentyful on narrow creeks thru the woods like this.

There are six major drops on this section of the Lamprey; the majority of them class IV. In between the river varies from quickwater to class II/III. A typical run takes one and a half to two hours.

Directions

The whitewater section of the Lamprey is located in Deerfield, NH (just northwest of Raymond, and about halfway between Manchester and Rochester). It's about a 20-25 minute drive from Manchester.

From Manchester take route 101 east to exit 3. Follow route 43 north to the takeout at the southern juncture of routes 43 and 107.

From Portsmouth take Route 101 west to exit 5. Take route 102 north then route 107 west to the takeout at the juncture of routes 43 and 107.

The put-in is about three-and-one-quarter miles north on 43/107 where the road crosses over the river where Lamprey exits the dam on Freeses Pond.

A second put-in is at the first major drop; 0.6 miles south just off 43/107, where James City Road (also called Nottingham Road) crosses over the river.


StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2008-09-30 15:30:38

Editors


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Upper Put InPutin Access Photo
0.0Freeses Pond DamII+Putin Access Playspot Photo
0.6Barking Boy Falls (aka James City Falls)IVPhoto
0.7Lower Put-inPutin Access Photo
0.7Paddler's GagePhoto
0.8Double DropIII+Photo
1.3WetlandsI
1.9Hairpin RapidIV+Photo
2.1Low BridgePortage Hazard Photo
2.1S-Turn RapidIIIPhoto
2.2Miller TimeIII
2.5Miller TimeIII+Photo
2.6Trees in Miller TimeIII+Hazard Playspot Photo
2.6Mill SlotII+Photo
2.9Yet another place to duckHazard Photo
3.5Snowmobile BridgePortage Hazard Photo
3.7Stone WallIII+Hazard Playspot Photo
3.9Take outTakeout Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Upper Put In

Upper Put In

Upper Put In
Photo by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

The upper put-in (location 43" 09.048', -71" 14.027') has plenty of room for parking plus a reasonable amount of privacy for changing.

Freeses Pond Dam (Class II+, Mile 0.0)

Freeses Pond Dam

Freeses Pond Dam
Photo by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

Put on the river just below the dam. The river starts fast, there is a short but enjoyable wave train plus a surfing wave or two. Afterwards there is a half-mile of quickwater before the first drop (allowing the boater a decent warm-up time).

Barking Boy Falls (aka James City Falls) (Class IV, Mile 0.6)

It starts with a roar!

It starts with a roar!
Photo of Butch Mixon by Skip Morris taken 10/05/05 @ 6

The first major drop is found at the remains of what looks to be an old mill just above the lower put-in (43" 08.573', -71" 13.942'). If there is enough water here then the entire run is boatable.

Lower Put-in

Upper Lamprey Put In

Upper Lamprey Put In
Photo of Upper Lamprey Put In by Skip Morris taken 10/05/05 @ 6

The second put-in is just off routes 43/107 where James City Road (also called Nottingham Road) crosses over the river (location 43" 08.573', -71" 13.942'). Park on either size and walk along upstream along a path and put on either above or below the first drop. This is also a great place to stop and scout the first drop or just check water levels. [The paddlers' gage will be painted here on the upstream left bridge abutment.]

Paddler's Gage

Paddler's Gage

Paddler's Gage
Photo of Paddler's Gage by Skip Morris taken 09/03/06

The Paddler's Gage is located on the upstream side of the river-left abutment wall of the bridge at the lower put-in. This is a new gage so levels are still being calibrated.

Double Drop (Class III+, Mile 0.8)

First Hole in Double Drop

First Hole in Double Drop
Photo of Mell Noll by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

The second major drop (location 43" 08.446', -71" 13.837') starts as a right-then-left jog turn. Only the first turn is visible from the river; scout the drop if you are unsure. Run the top of the drop along the right dropping into an eddy along the left half way down. A route through the eddy on the right is also possible at some water levels.

Wetlands (Class I, Mile 1.3)
One-half mile below Double Drop you enter a wetlands area with a lazy current that lasts 0.4 miles.

Hairpin Rapid (Class IV+, Mile 1.9)

Hairpin before the turn

Hairpin before the turn
Photo of MVP Boater by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

The third major drop (location 43" 07.775', -71" 13.812') starts as a left turn as you come thru the forest. The river gets very steep and narrow with two ledges on the right and a swift narrow channel on the left with big waves. Halfway down the river makes an abrupt hairpin turn to the right. A river right route into an eddy between the two ledges is recommended otherwise you may to get swept into the trees by the swift current on the left at high water. Exit the eddy at the edge of the second ledge letting the hole help you navigate the hairpin turn and finish the rapid. Scouting this rapid is recommended (either side is OK); portaging is easily done along a path on river right.

Low Bridge

Low Bridge

Low Bridge
Photo by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

A mandatory portage is at a small bridge (location 43" 07.623',-71" 13.891') where the supports extend down to the water level. A short rapids starts immediately below. This bridge is accessible from the main road by following a private road behind a construction company (remember to ask permission).

S-Turn Rapid (Class III, Mile 2.1)

Entering S-Turn

Entering S-Turn
Photo of MVP Boater by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

A short enjoyable rapid (location 43" 07.623', -71" 13.891'). At high levels you may want stay left, since the main tongue goes straight over a pourover.

Miller Time (Class III, Mile 2.2)
Eddy out on river left directly above a small bridge for a look down the length of the longest rapid on the river. It's a reasonably straightforward run; stay mostly right-of-center with some quick maneuvering a number of rocks, holes, and waves. Watch out for a large tree growing in the center of the rapid about 2/3's of the way down.

Miller Time (Class III+, Mile 2.5)

Entrance to Miller Time

Entrance to Miller Time
Photo of MVP Boater by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

Eddy out on the left just above a bridge which signals the entrance to Miller Time (43" 07.342', -71" 13.981'). From there the run thru the entire rapid is visible. The entrance to the top of the rapid (immediately under the bridge) can be tricky with two wide overlapping holes at higher water. At higher water the difficulty of this rapid approaches a class IV level.

Trees in Miller Time (Class III+, Mile 2.6)

Trees in Miller Time

Trees in Miller Time
Photo by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

Miller Time is a fun run, it's the longest rapid on the river. However be aware there are numerous trees growing in the middle of the current that need to be avoided.

Mill Slot (Class II+, Mile 2.6)

Mill Slot

Mill Slot
Photo of MVP Boater by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

The river narrows and steepens at the remains of an old mill (location 43" 07.256', -71" 14.057').

Yet another place to duck

Low Bridge

Low Bridge
Photo by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

Another low bridge can be paddled under in all but the highest levels. It is unknown if this bridge can be easily accessed from the main road.

Snowmobile Bridge

Snowmobile Bridge

Snowmobile Bridge
Photo of MVP Boater by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

A snowmobile bridge (location 43" 06.729', -71" 14.334') is usually under water and provides probably the only experience where a paddler normally passes *above* the bridge. At low and medium levels a portage is required.

Stone Wall (Class III+, Mile 3.7)

Stone Wall Rapid

Stone Wall Rapid
Photo of MVP Boaters by Skip Morris taken 05/31/06 @ 1.5

The last major drop is located just above the takeout (43" 06.603', -71" 14.431'). It's named for the stone wall along the river. It can be easily viewed by stopping on the main road just above the bridge near the takeout. There is a small path into an overlook where the majority of the rapid is visible. [Note: As of June 2006, a large tree has fallen across the bottom of the drop, leaving just barely enough room to duck under. Care and scouting are recommended since it are not obvious from the top of the rapid.]

Take out

Upper Lamprey Take Out

Upper Lamprey Take Out
Photo of Take-out for Upper Lamprey by Skip Morris taken 10/05/05 @ 6

The take-out is at the southern juncture of routes 43 and 107, right along the road (43" 06.499', -71" 14.489'). A reverse shuttle may be recommended if you are using the lower put-in since there is more parking here.


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