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Difficulty II-III
Length 1 Miles
Gauge Cobbosseecontee Stream at Gardiner, Maine
Flow Range CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 19.3 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/13/2020 8:56 pm

River Description


Put-In for this section is at what is currently listed on Google Maps as the Gardiner Dog Park. Driving West out of downtown Gardiner on Rt 9/126, you'll see the dam on your right with a road going down the hill back the way you came, that's the one you want. The building there controls the outflow of the dam, and historically the dam manager has preferred that boaters not park down there at the turnaround, though he is fine with folks driving down to unload boats there. Park in the dirt lot across the road from Spruce Street.

Take-Out parking is the Municipal Parking on Arcade Street, though if water is high and things are pushy, it might be easier to use the Gardiner Landing for your take-out.

500cfs is on the low side for this section (runnable but you'll scrape). 800cfs is a nice medium level. 1000cfs+ and things get pushy but not too crazy. There is not necessarily an upper runnable limit for this section, and higher water for the most part does not make any moves significantly more difficult. This is all true for kayaks, duckies, OC1, decked canoes, rafts, etc. Open tandem canoes might have some trouble on this section at higher flows, as there are not many spots to stop and dump your boat.

Typical put in is below the outflow from the station, though many choose to launch as close to the dam as possible, which offers a fun, slightly steeper upper section. Take caution if doing this, as the embankments can be tricky. Scout this section before putting on, as there aren't a lot of stopping points once you're in the rapid.

At the hydro station, things open up pretty wide and shallow, but they quickly narrow again into the next rapid. This one has a surf wave in it that can be caught on the fly or from the eddy on river right.

This rapid flushes into a large dam-created pool. Paddle down the length of the pool and take out on the left side to portage around the dam. Rumor has it the dam is runnable in a kayak, but only at very high flows.

Be careful of the strange currents below the old dam when putting back on, they can be quite surge-y and swirly. Continue downstream past the old factory/warehouse and before the bend to the left there will be a surprising hole on river right that has flipped a fair share of canoes and small unsuspecting rafts. After the bend to the left, the river cuts back to the right, and there's a bit of a straightaway before going under a railroad bridge. The next to last opening in the bridge is the best one to go through, and the last is a fair alternative. This is one of the trickier spots on the river due to the tightness of the bridge openings and the abrupt 90 degree turn.

Below the bridge, the river splits around a small island. The smaller channel to the left is fun when there's more water, but can be bumpy at lower levels. The right line is the standard line.

Continue downriver through some boogie rapids, nothing of major consequence. There are two car bridges below the train bridge that you'll go under. The second one has a surf wave just upstream of it and a hole underneath it. The take-out is just after the second bridge.


From a comment, 2008:
"I ran this stretch years back in an inflatable kayak, I would say it was more class III. Good size waves when we ran it. Put in at old factory, took out near Hannaford, before confluence with Kennebec. Fun but short, made multiple runs."
See also the Cobbosseecontee Lake to Pleasant Pond reach.

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

Gage Descriptions

This gage is an accurate reading of the water level on this section. It is partway down the run and includes both the flow through the station and over the dam.

Directions Description


Put-In for this section is at what is currently listed on Google Maps as the Gardiner Dog Park, at 44.222653, -69.785360. The building there controls the outflow of the dam, and historically the dam manager has preferred that boaters not park down there at the turnaround, though he is fine with folks driving down to unload boats there. Park in the dirt lot across the road from Spruce Street.

Take-Out parking is the Municipal Parking on Arcade Street, though if water is high and things are pushy, it might be easier to use the Gardiner Landing for your take-out.

This is an easy section to do a bike/run/walk shuttle and is a good one to do laps on.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2005-04-04 n/a Fatality High Water Read More

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!!
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Houston

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Matt Muir

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214613 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214614 04/08/20 Houston updated stats
1214617 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214615 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214618 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214619 04/08/20 Houston directions to the river
1214616 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214620 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214621 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214622 04/08/20 Houston updated stats
1214623 04/08/20 Houston updated stats
1214624 04/08/20 Houston updated stats
1214625 04/08/20 Houston updated description
1214680 04/13/20 Houston updated description
1198035 08/08/10 Matt Muir Added gage, link, text from comment, and abstract.
1198037 08/08/10 Matt Muir Fixed link.
1190574 05/20/01 n/a n/a