This photo needs editing.
Difficulty III+(IV)
Length 3.8 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 03/08/2010 12:32 pm

River Description

Lat/Longitude data are very approximate.
Brandon Cain sez:

This stream is only a class IV on a HUGE day. just because it is not Class V doesn't mean it isn't fun. If you feel that you are really good try the race held in early spring.



Ryan Gerry:

This stream is a great "fun run" and an awesome place to learn to boat. But don't be deceived, high levels (3ft+) can get pushy and "Grand Falls" isn't something to take lightly. Also directly below the "Rec Center" is an excellent retentive hole and the "Cement Plant" wave can be a lot of fun.

Rapid Descriptions

Manning Mill

Class - I Mile - 0

This is typically the put in. There is a rapid just up stream of the bridge but access has been an issue in the past. The land owners on both sides of the river have been known to take issue with trespassers, however with permission this can be a fun extra extension. There is a fun little wave/hole right after the bridge that should be played in. There is also a launch pad on the bridge abutment that can be used at higher levels, probe first but this can be a fun start to the run.

Boy Scout

Class - II Mile - 0.3

This is a ledge drop, stay right of the knuckle. Open boaters stay on the river left shore line. At low levels there is a small wave after the pool that can be used to introduce a joey to surfing.

Emerson Mill

Class - III Mile - 0.7

Set up center right and start to drive right. There is a clear tongue here. Open boater take the line on the left almost in the trees. This can also be a fun little boof in a kayak. After the bridge there is a wave train with a surfable wave towards the end (some times). The gauge is painted on the river left side of the bridge.

Great Expectations

Class - II Mile - 1

A couple of bumps here before a big pool. The last wave can be a lot of fun depending on the level but is generally just frustrating.


Class - III Mile - 1.1

This is the most technically demanding rapid on the river. The traditional line here is to hang left through the intial wave trains and start driving left as the river starts to bend right. Skirt the hole right before the drop to the left then start moving right. Strainers often show up on the left here so be ready to move right. At lower levels (at about 0) you can duck under the point (right side) and hug the right shore line. If you can catch the pillow eddy behind the point this a easier line however if you miss it is higher consequence.

Gravel Pit

Class - N/A Mile - 1.3

Early season if there is enough snow on the ground this can be used as a sledding hill, if you hit it right you can slide right back into the river, if you hit it wrong you can slide right into the woods.

Paper Mill

Class - II Mile - 1.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This is pretty straight forward, there is a big-ish wave after the bridge and maybe a hole after. This wave is a little to slanted to get a good surf on and it can be shallow behind to make a good down river move. Above 1.5ft the ladder is less important.

This is often used as a take out if you do not want to run Grand Falls, there is also a mandatory portage after this rapid for the spring canoe race.

Grand Falls

Class - IV Mile - 1.6

Certainly the most intimidating rapid on the Sou. Take a good look at this before you drop and then remind yourself that it is easier than it looks. The line is on river left, duck under (to the right) the breaker wave off the left shore and aim for the left corner of the whole RIGHT BEFORE the drop. Punch this hole and aim for the black tongue, square the hay stack up and hold on for the ride.

Rec Center

Class - III Mile - 1.65

This is mostly run-and-gun wave train with waves coming and going depending on the level. This is continuous white water for 40 yards so be ready. There is an excellent hole that forms under the dam right after the beach above 2ft. This is a common takeout.


Class - N/A Mile - 1.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The river meanders through the woods for more than a mile, some bends can be cut off at higher water levels where you can literally float through the forest.

Cement Plant

Class - II Mile - 2.25

Excellent play wave and good eddy access right below the snowmobile bridge. (level at 2ft+)

Hell’s Gate/Waterworks

Class - V Mile - 3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

This rapid is bellow the Main Rd bridge in Hampden, boater usually take out right before the bridge but if you are going to drop this LOOK AT IT FIRST!! This rapid is tidal dependent as well as flow dependent. Even if it looked solid when you set shuttle it doesn’t mean it’s good to go. Because it varies so much there isn’t a clear line. Scout first then run whatever looks good. The good news is there is an enormous bay to collect your gear after the show is over.


default user thumbnail
Bill Blauvelt
5 years ago

I hear if the Kenduskeag is 5.0 the Sou is usually good.

No Gage

Gage Descriptions

Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.

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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
1994-03-26 Medium Near Miss/Rescue Other Read More



article main photo

Bellows Falls (VT) Flow Study Reveals Hidden Whitewater

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


Nick Lipowski


Ryan Gerry


Jason Hook


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1197357 03/07/10 Ryan Gerry
1197372 03/08/10 Ryan Gerry
1190696 06/28/01 Jason Hook n/a