This photo needs editing.
Difficulty III-IV
Length 8.7 Miles
Gauge Wild River at Gilead, Maine
Flow Range 4.50 - 8.00 FT
Flow Rate as of: 36 minutes ago 2.91 [FT]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/03/2014 1:22 am

River Description

[Note: Commentary and description taken from email from Gary Bamberger. Eventually we'll write up a proper description of this river.] Yahoo, we finally caught the WILD RIVER at a prime level. We did 2 runs today and as the AMC Guide says...a few inches makes a BIG difference! On the first run we decided to take the left fork in the road (Me Rte #113) at the suspension bridge and run Evans Brook which runs along route 113 down the north side of Evans Notch into the WILD RIVER and then down the Wild to the take out at Rte. #2. Evans Brook is a really small stream and it will likely be a while before it's runable again. Although it did have a bit of wood in it, we were able to paddle through without getting out of our boats. The second run we ran the more traditional Wild river trip by driving/walking up the right fork in the road to the upper section. All in all we agreed that the best paddling/play is really below the suspension bridge so even if the gate is locked to Wild RIver haven't miss too much play. HOWEVER, when Me. Rte #113 (the Evans Notch Rd) is closed, as it was today, it's a long walk to the confluence of Evan Brook and the Wild River at the suspension bridge...a minimum of ~1 1/2 miles and more if you want to run Evans Brook or the upper section from Wild River Campground (~5 miles)...However, we had the key to the gate hee- hee! ;-) Anyway here's our consensus: The first run according to the USGS gage was running ~7 feet (~3500CFS) and on the second it had dropped to 6.5' (~2500CFS). On both runs the water was up into the trees/bushes along the riverside. The first run felt a little washed out with some good sized waves, many holes you really would really rather look at from the other side of the river, and few eddys to rest in. The second run was much more playful with wave upon wave to surf and more friendly holes to play in. It surprised me that just 6 inches made such a difference. I had heard from other local paddlers that 6 to 8 feet was the level to try to catch the Wild at, and I would have to agree with ~6.5' for play and ~7.5' for big water river running. We agreed that the run is primarily class III with several class IV drops thrown in to keep you on your toes and felt a lot like Lower Poplar Rapid on the Dead at 5500CFS, but with WAY MORE PLAY. The river definitely goes in my book as one of the great "Play Rivers" since as soon as you washed off one wave and turn back around downstream, there were 3 or 4 more looking you in the face! :-) One of the paddlers in our group compared it to the Donnaconna section of the Jacques Cartier, although a smaller version. I never been up there but maybe this summer. Sooooo, attached below are some personal notes I made about the Wild RIVER in my computer and let's not hope it's another 5 years before this gem runs again.

WILD RIVER- 4/28/05 Park at take out at USGS gage at Rte 113 & Rte 2. which is 10.9 miles east of NH Rte #16/#2 intersection in Gorham, NH and/or 9.5 miles west of Bethel, ME on Rte #2. It's then 1.5 miles to the Maine DOT Gate that closes Evans Notch in the winter and then an additional 1.4 more miles beyond that gate to the fork in the road at the Suspension Bridge. (Confluence of Evans Brook and the Wild River) We did 2 runs 1st @ 7.0' (3400CFS) Evans Brook-Wild River to the take out and the 2nd @ 6.5" (2500CFS) which was a better level Wild River all the way. Best play from suspension bridge to rte #2 (~3 miles). Class III with ~4 class IV drops-all boat scoutable. Note at these levels the water is up into the trees/brush along the river. Future recommendations-between 6 and 7 feet on the USGS gage.

Gary Bamberger, DVM
407 White Mountain Rd.
North Conway, N.H. 03860

PS: Oh yea, I almost we were taking out after our second run we ran into the USGS "boys" who were just about to take a reading of the river manually to calibrated their gage. It was really interesting to watch them work. They climb up into a 2 man "cable car" running across the river at the USGS gage and lower a heavy sensor into the river. The cable is marked off in what looked like 10 foot increments and they would go to each spot on the cable and take a reading of the flow starting on the right shore and working slowly over to the left shore. One of the men had what looked like a huge wrist watch on his left wrist from which they received the data from the submerged sensor while the other man wrote down the info in a logbook. We talked to them a little on shore and it seemed that they found our playing in the river as interesting as we found hearing what exactly they were doing. I just wish they would put that Ellis River Gage back in though... gary

Rapid Descriptions

Put in

Class - Mile - 0
Put on on Blue Brook at the Wild River Campground just above where the brook flows into the Wild River. The brook flows directly into the middle of a nice drop; some people drag their boats thru the woods and put in directly on the Wild above this first drop.

Second Major Drop

Class - III+ Mile - 1.1
The second major drop (the first is at the put-in) has a large ledge extending out to river center from the right. The remaining left and center of the river is completely covered by a series of large holes that feed into one another. Care is recommended here.

Le Rebord Du Garçon (The Boy's Ledge)

Class - III Mile - 4
A great surfing spot next to a huge flat rock. Nice spot for lunch (similar to Smooth Ledge on the Rapid).

Suspension Bridge

Class - II+ Mile - 5.8
The suspension bridge crosses over the river just below where the campground road forks off of Route 113. The marks the start of the most interesting section of river. During the off-season when the campground road is closed and gated this is the usual put-in.

Play Area

Class - III Mile - 5.9
A great play area is found just below where the campground road branches off Route 113. A large gravel beach, good for a long lunch stop is on river left. An added advantage making this a good lunch spot is it is just below the suspension bridge allowing easy access to food, etc, stored in cars parked along the road nearby.

Biggest Drop

Class - IV Mile - 7.1
The most difficult quarter-mile section of the river is where two class IV drops are seperated by several hundred yards of class II/III water. Scout the top part of this area just downstream from a roadside pull-off aproximately one-and-a-half miles upstream from the take-out. Walk (drive) downstream a short distance and walk thru the woods for a look at the lower half.

Take Out

Class - II Mile - 8.7
The take-out is by the gage where Route 113 meets Route 2.


Gage Descriptions

Gage located near the takeout bridge in Gilead.


Access to the river is via Wild River Road (FR 12, Maine).  This road is closed through the winter months and may not be opened until well after mud season.  Go to the National Forest Services "Forest Road Status" to find out if and when the access road is open.

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



article main photo

Protecting Access to New Hampshire Rivers

Robert Nasdor

Northeast boaters can celebrate that another beloved whitewater gem has been protected. Paddlers on the Winnipeseaukee River are now assured that the put-in on the Lower Winni in Northfield, NH will be forever protected thanks to the donation of a parcel from Gloria Blais in memory of her husband Roger. Gloria donated the land to the Town of Northfield for the purpose of assuring that future generations of boaters will have access to the river. Protecting river access to the Winni is part of an ongoing effort by AW in the northeast region to protect river access.

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

AW, MVP Protect Land and Access on the Contoocook River (NH)

Robert Nasdor

American Whitewater and Merrimack Valley Paddlers have reached an agreement to purchase a 10-acre parcel fronting on Contoocook River in Henniker, NH. The land serves as an important launch point for whitewater paddlers enjoying the popular section of the river that runs from Hillsborough to Henniker. This section of the Contoocook River contains rapids ranging in difficulty from Class II to Class IV.

article main photo


Nick Lipowski


clinton begley


Skip Morris


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1203857 12/03/14 clinton begley added to NH rivers as well
1190718 11/05/05 Skip Morris n/a