This photo needs editing.
Difficulty I-III(IV)
Length 0 Miles
Gauge Penobscot River at West Enfield, Maine
Flow Range 10000 - 120000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 weeks ago 12600 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 05/26/2014 10:48 am

River Description


3 Separate playspots ranging from killer big-hole surf (Gilmans, high flow), to glassy waves (Typewriter), to small-end throwdown holes (1st Trestle Hole).

PeterBuehner shared:
Gilman Falls: construction here a few years ago has made this spot only good in early spring when the levels are high. Very quickly the hole becomes too shallow.
Typewriter and Elbow on the Stillwater: You can see these rapids directly below the bridge. (take exit 193 toward Old Town). You can park in two spots:
1. Take a right onto College Ave. after the bridge. Before reaching UMaine, there is a small yellow sided building owned by the water works. There is an island on the Stillwater that you can see through the trees. Just at the end of that island is when to look for this little building. Park here, hike down to the river and paddle back upstream.
A disclaimer: There is a "no parking" sign at the yellow building on College Ave. Folks seem to park there without issue after work hours but to be safe I would recommend parking at the parking spot off of Free street by the dam. It is a slightly longer paddle but no parking issues.
2: Before the bridge take the last right onto Free Street (just before a little restaurant at the bridge). Take the next left and park right by the dam. A small trail leads to a put in. Paddle out and left and follow your nose and ears to the rapid.
Construction at the damn has changed the Typewriter. At high levels it is a complete wash. Once the Enfield gauge drops to about 30000, a wave hole starts to form in the center of the main flow but you need to wait until below 26000 for eddy service to develop and for the hole to become more retentive. The eddy is player's left and takes a bit of work to attain at the higher levels. At about 24,000 there is a small wave that forms below the main hole and just off the player's right eddy. With good technique you can front and back surf, loop without staying in, or get a cartwheel or two.
The Elbow (channel to wide river left) is a lower level-spot for beginners to learn to ferry, maybe surf, and get boat control (class I/II). I don't know how the construction has changed that side but my guess is don't even bother until the main channel is getting bony.

Click on the "Directions" tab for directions to all three playspots.
Lat/longitude coordinates are very approximate, from online maps.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

default user thumbnail
Peter Buehner
|
5 years ago

Gillman Falls: construction here a few years ago has made this spot only good in early spring when the levels are high. Very quickly the hole becomes too shallow. ------ Typewriter and Elbow on the Stillwater: You can see these rapids directly below the bridge. (take exit 193 toward Old Town). You can park in two spots: 1. take a right onto college Ave. after the bridge. Before reaching UMaine, there is a small yellow sided building owned by the water works. There is an island on the Stillwater that you can see through the trees. Just at the end of that island is when to look for this little building. Park here, hike down to the river and paddle back upstream. 2: before the bridge take the last right onto Free Street before hitting the bridge (just before a little restaurant at the bridge. Take the next left and park right by the dam. A small trail leads to a put in. Paddle out and left and follow your nose and ears to the rapid. ------------ Construction at the damn has changed the Typewriter. At high levels it is a complete wash. Once the Enfield gauge drops to about 30000, a wave hole starts to form in the center of the main flow but you need to wait until below 26000 for eddy service to develop and the hole becomes more retentive. The edddy is player's left and takes a bit of work to attain at the higher levels. At about 24,000 there is a small wave that forms below the main hole and just off the player's right eddy. With good technique you can front and back surf, loop without staying in, or get a cartwheel or two. ------------- The Elbow (channel to wide river left) is a lower level spot for beginners to learn to ferry, maybe surf, and get boat control (class I/II). I don't know how the construction has changed that side but my guess is don't even bother until the main channel is getting bony.

default user thumbnail
Peter Buehner
|
5 years ago

Just visited the Typewriter/ Elbow at 17,000. The Typewriter wave has turned into a steep entry meaty not so playful looking hole. I would say best levels for this feature are from 20,000-24,000 The Elbow is suitable for beginners. Many times you will simply find a little wave train with eddies on both sides. At 20,000 there is a very small wave at the top that is surfable with a short boat but no eddy to catch. below on player's right is a small wave that you can front surf if you stay active but that is about it. It would be a great place to take absolute beginners to learn to ferry, roll in a rapid, etc since it is a mellow runout below.

default user thumbnail
Peter Buehner
|
5 years ago

A disclaimer: There is a no parking sign at the yellow building on College Ave. Folks seem to park there without issue after work hours but to be safe I would recommend parking at the parking spot off of Free street by the dam. It is a slightly longer paddle but no parking issues. The level was at 24,000 today and the wave hole was still in great shape.

Gage Descriptions

The West Enfield gage does not provide exact data for each playspot because there are 2 dams along this stretch of river and these spots aren't exactly on the Penobscot, they are on the Stillwater which branches from the Penobscot and then returns downriver. Each spot also requires a different level for optimum play.

Gilmans river running - 10,000-25,000cfs
Gilmans surfing - 65,000-120,000cfs
Typewriter - 21,000ish, there should be some water flowing over the rock that makes the eddy
Typewriter elbow - 19,000cfs
Trestle Hole - 13,000
2nd Trestle Hole - 20,000
Tresle, Basin Mills - 20,000+

Directions Description


Although these are individual play spots they are so close together and on the same river flow that I thought they should be lumped together. The putins are as follows:

 
Gilmans - This is marked on the Maine Topo and Atlas and Gazetteer as Gilman Falls. If you come off I-95 exit 197 headed east before you cross the second bridge over the river (not more than a mile) you will see a turn out on the left for a picnic area. This is the putin.
 
Typewriter - The putin is near the corner of Stillwater Ave and College Ave. There is a turnout on the river-left side of the bridge. To get to the wave you must put on below the dam and head to the river right side of the island. The first drop is what makes the wave.
 
Trestle - Trestle is located at the confluence of the Stillwater and Penobscot. You can access it from either side of the Stillwater, but it is often easier from the river right side. Parking is easiest at the hydro station. Trestle hole is under the train trestle (figures); the 2nd hole is right before the confluence and Basin Mills is actually on the Penobscot about 100 yards downriver.

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

article main photo

Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

6/2/2015
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 !!!

7/26/2001
Nick Lipowski

KENNEBEC SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT SIGNED !!!
ACCESS FEES REMOVED!!
user-avatar

Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194912 11/13/08 n/a n/a
1203411 05/26/14 Matt Muir Added concern about College Ave. parking.
1203410 05/26/14 Matt Muir Added coords and text from comment.