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Difficulty II
Length 2.65 Miles
Gauge Saco River near Conway, NH
Flow Range 250 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 34 minutes ago 108 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 05/03/2018 3:26 pm

River Description

Conway rips is a popular class II run which commonly has enough water in late June and will often come up when we have extended rainfall in the Fall months. The 2 covered bridges offer scenic photo opportunities and the much of the river side is undeveloped, we can hope it remains this way. If you put in at the West side road bridge over the Swift be careful of the strainer that is on the center bridge abutment especially in high water.

The Rapids between the Swift river put in and the Saco River put in are a normally a fairly easy class II with some maneuvering required in easy current. Below the Saco River Covered bridge is flat water for about 1/4 mile till the next rapid which is short and a very easy Class II then another 1/4 mile of flat water to Power Line rapid a nice wave train with 2 to 3 foot waves at normal levels. at higher levels some nice surfing on right, catch an eddy about half way down Power Line rapid, there are 2 waves but at the right level the one is sweet.

After Power line there is a fairly long stretch of flat water before you arrive at the top of the 302 bridge rapid the last rapid of the trip. On river left just before the 302 bridge rapid you will find the USGS gage station.

The last rapid is the longest of the trip usually with slightly smaller waves than power line but with more maneuvering required. At Medium levels the holes don't look to ominous but there has been a report from Tina Sweet & Darron Laughland of large a large nasty hole that develops at high levels near the top on the left.

There are a number of excellent Class II play spots on this run which makes it a good run for a group with mixed abilities. Darron Laughland wrote, "there are some ledges. great side surfing, medium big water can spin and throw ends. some funky currents below that. at meduim and higher levels there is a great surf wave about 15 yards from the top of the rapid, eddie on river right. its a surf all day wave. several others below that. also - some sticky ledge holes on right about half way down - can also flat spin and pop enders. avoid swimming through this area as there is a vertical crack in one of them thats a bit scetchy."


Put In: Is near the Confluence of the Swift and Saco Rivers

Driving North on Rt. 16 Take a left at the light in the village onto West Side Road, drive about 1/4 of a mile and you will see a covered bridge on the right you can drive across the bridge and park in the parking lot on the right and put in at the beach or you can continue on West Side road till you cross a bridge over the Swift river take a right after crossing the bridge and you can put in under the West Side road on the Swift river and catch a couple hundred yards of mild class II rapids to start your trip.

Take out: Is behind the Center Conway Police station.

Driving on Rt. 113 towards Fryeburg take a left onto Rt. 302 at the light cross over the Saco and look for the first right, Turn right onto East Conway Road, the Police station is on the corner, immediately after the Police station turn right onto Meeting house road and drive to the end you will find a parking area at the end of the road this is the take out.

Thanks to Steve Nason for providing this information.

Rapid Descriptions


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Frank Harrison
7 years ago

The PUT-IN labeled on the map page for Conway Rips is incorrect. The correct GPS Coordinates are N43.985238, W71.119228

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12 years ago

I want to clarify the comment about the nasty hole that had been posted: The hole I was referring to on the top of the rapid above the Rt 302 bridge - is a great flat spinning ledge hole. The hole itself is fine - sticky fun vs "nasty". The hazard that may be a concern for class 2 paddlers - is that the left side of the river has several shallow ledges amidst some large boulders that create a lot of funky water that might be challenging to a class 2 paddler and make for an unpleasant swim. The conservative line is center or just right of center all the way down. River left at the top has some cool play - mostly side surfing and spinning, and the river right has a couple waves adjacent to eddies. Halfway down on the right are two larger pourover holes that can be surfed and spun in. We paddled it last week and were reminded that it is a great run with good play and real easy access. Darron L

Gage Descriptions

The USGS gage is located on the north side of the river near the take-out where Route 302 crosses the river.

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.

No Accident Reports




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Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1208015 07/12/17 Steve McLuckie update access coordinates
1194395 11/04/05 Skip Morris n/a
1209445 05/02/18 Alex Barham
1209465 05/03/18 Alex Barham Name Changed
1209467 05/03/18 Alex Barham
1209443 05/02/18 Alex Barham Location