Kennebec River

Photo credit: North Country Rivers.

About the Kennebec River

The Kennebec River is a great beginner whitewater river.  The river has two distinct sections- the upper gorge and the lower quickwater.  Whitewater is mainly in the upper gorge.  Boaters start out paddling past steep rock walls covered in evergreen trees and head straight for 3.5 miles of Class II-V whitewater rapids.  Waves can reach 6-8 feet in the bigger rapids on the river.  This river offers consistent Class II – IV rapids, and is dam controlled for daily whitewater all summer and fall.  Daily water volumes are 4,800 – 6,000 cfs.  Most rafting trips paddle 12-14 miles of the river.

Upper Kennebec River Rapids

Taster is located at mile 0.3 and is a Class II+ rapid.  Here you’ll find BB Wave, short for Ball Buster Wave.  Disappearing Wave is also located in this rapid further downstream.  Rock Garden rapids are Class III+ at mile 0.8.  This rapid offers some big waves and holes.  Big Mama, also known as Three Sisters is an exciting Class IV rapid at mile 0.9.  These are the largest waves on the Kennebec, reaching 6-8 feet in height!  At mile 1.3 is Alleyway, a Class IV rapid.  This rapid is a long series of waves with a lot of turbulence, comparable to the waves and turbulence in the Grand Canyon.  Z-Turn is at mile 2.2 and is a Class II+ rapid.  This rapid is small and easy with many play spots.  Magic Rapid is a Class IV rapid at mile 2.6.  It is a large, turbulent rapid also similar to Grand Canyon rapids.  Maytag, a hole at the right of the river, acts like a washing machine in levels below 8,500 cfs.

Lower Kennebec River Rapids

Starting from Carry Brook, this section of the river offers Class II – III rapids.  Most of this section is quickwater.  This section stretches 7.8 miles to The Forks.  The only major rapids in this section of the river is Big Black Brook Rapid, a Class III rapid at mile 0.5 after Carry Brook.  Waves can become huge in 6,000+ cfs in this rapid.