Penobscot River- Lower West Branch

Photo credit: Northern Outdoors.

About the Penobscot River – Lower West Branch

This section of the Penobscot River is 17 miles of Class III – V whitewater during normal flows.  This river is recommended for experienced boaters.  This section of the Penobscot River offers incredibly scenic views, starting at Ripogenus Gorge and passing by the base of Mount Katahdin.  Rafting trips typically paddle 12 – 14 miles of the river.

Rapids of the Penobscot River – Lower West Branch

Mile 0 – 4.5

This river is action packed right from the start, with Exterminator, a Class IV rapid.  This hole is the width of the river and gives paddlers quite a ride.  At mile 0.2 is the Staircase, a section of big water and holes.  This is where a large pour-over, called the “Fist of God” is located.  It is recommended to avoid this by going right of center.  At mile 0.8 are The Heaters, Class III+ rapids where the river splits around a rock wall.  Little Heater to the left offers a gradual drop, while Big Heater to the right offers a short, vertical five foot drop.  At mile 1.2 is Troublemaker Hole, a Class III+ rapid and a good play spot.  The Cribworks, a Class V rapid is located at mile 1.8.  This rapid is a challenging rapid that is approximately 1/4 of a mile long.  The rapid begins with big irregular waves and holes, which leads into Turkey Chute.  This is a huge and violent drop with strong eddies at the base.  Guardian Rock tends to push boaters towards a large boulder pile.  Below the Guardian is Final Chute, a ten foot near vertical drop.

Mile 4.5 – 10.5

Big Ambejackwockamus Falls (Big A) is a Class IV rapid at mile 4.5.  Lots of holes and big rapids make this a fun ride.  At mile 5 is Horse Race, an easy Class III rapid, followed by a long stretch of flatwater.  Mile 7.5 bring Nesowadnehunk Falls (Soudyhunk), a Class IV rapid that drops over a 12 foot ledge.  Abol Rapid, a Class III+ rapid, is at mile 9.5 after another long stretch of flatwater.  Big Pockwockamus Falls (Big Pock) is a Class IV rapid located at mile 10.5.  This is a nice big water rapid.