From the put in boaters must paddle 1-1/2 miles across the lake hugging the left shore to the remains of Lower Dam. Lower dam looks like an old delapitated covered bridge with the ends removed. This is the start of the river portion of the trip.
"The river itself is worth the trip. Clean, great scenery, some nice relatively easy and safe III-IV with maybe one of the best playspots in New England. The river ends in Lake Umbagog. It is then necessary to paddle 3/4 of a mile to a well hidden take out trail in a cove on the left side of the lake. Look for streamers in the trees and a few small paddle boats lying up on the shore. It is best to have someone familiar with the take out location with you. After all this is finished, you can then get in your second car and spend the rest of the day trying to figure out how the heck to get back to your first one.
Most people who run the Rapid will tell you it's worth the trip. If you are lucky while you're there you might be able to run the Magalloway, which is also nearby.
Some people disagree with the "easy and safe" designation, because the river is very shallow in places. I'd hate to have to call in an ambulance after a flip on one of the many "long, powerful, and shallow" pitches on this run. In an emergency a couple years back a power boat was "borrowed" from the Cedar Stump campground just downstream from the end of the river as it enters Lake Umbagog. From here it is a 30 minute power boat ride to Errol then another 45 minutes to the nearest hospital in Berlin NH.
Put in elevation........1398'
Take out elevation......1243'
Average drop/mile.......68'(river portion only)
Distance................2.25 miles (river), 2.3 miles lake
1st mile drop...........35'
2nd mile drop...........80'
2.25 mile drop..........20ÂÂÂ80 ' average
River width average.....50'
River geology...........medium granite boulders and some ledge
River water quality.....Good, clarity good.
Scenery.................Excellent, a few camps on river right.
Wildlife................Deer, moose, loons, eagles.
After a 1-1/2 mile flat water paddle from the put-in the first drop is welcome. From the put-in follow the left shore of Pond in the River. Where the lake constricts you will notice a small rapid at the top of the river. This was the location of Lower Dam which was torn down and removed in 2004. Small rapids with several surfing possibillities continue for 1/4 mile up to and past three small cottages on river right. The first cottage has a nice surfing wave near the top of the drop. Shortly downstream a second cottage is where Louise Dickinson Rich wrote a best selling book "We Took to the Woods". Aldro French currently owns the property and is happy to show visitors around. There is a good surfing wave in front of this building especially at the lower 1300 cfs releases. 1/4 mile downstream you will view the "Sugar Shack" the third and last cottage on river right. There is a nice surfing wave here at the remains of another dam. Shortly downstream from the "Sugar Shack" the river widens and goes over a rather shallow rocky rapid as it swings to the right. There is a small sand beach on the right just below this rapid. This is a good rest and boat draining spot before attempting the Three Pitches just downstream from here.
I'm pretty sure access from Rt 26 is getting increasing restricted. Any beta?
Call 1-800-557-3569 for the latest release information. The rivers flow is controlled from Middle dam at the lower end of Lake Richardson. Releases of 1300 and 1800 cfs are scheduled for the warm dry weekends in Summer. Usually the last two weekends of July and the first two weekends in August.
2011 Rapid releases *Updated 6/5/11*
*Although the dam stops releasing at noon, dropping river levels usually are not noticeable at Smooth Ledge until 3 pm. Flows start at 6:00pm before 1st scheduled day and end at 12 noon on last scheduled day. Actual flows subject to modification due to lake levels.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Second Pitch on the Rapid
Lower Dam on the Rapid
First Pitch on the Rapid
Rapid River Shuttle Map
Outflow to Pond in the River
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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.
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