Kennebec River Harris Station Dam to The Forks Route 201

West Forks, Maine

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The Kennebec is released daily throughout the spring, summer, and fall at levels varying from 1,500 cfs to 8,000 and higher. While each level has its advantages and disadvantages, generally levels below about 3,600 cfs are considered low—Magic hole is grabby and powerful, and the waves in the rest of the gorge are on the small side. From about 3,600 to 5,600 cfs the river is big, continuous, and most features are pretty soft. At these medium flows Magic hole has two distinct foam piles and a soft spot in the middle. At 6,000 to 8,000 cfs and higher, the river is characterized by lateral breaking waves, and already scant opportunities for rescue are nonexistent. The first mile and a half are very continuous and the water is very turbulent. The Kennebec runs through a slate gorge north of The Forks, Maine. It is released from Indian Pond at Harris Station Dam and fed at its source by Moosehead Lake. Putting in on the gorge for the first time can be intimidating, since the Kennebec’s reputation precedes it and you know that once you round the first bend there’s virtually no other way out but down the river. To run the Kennebec, you must have a strong roll that’s been proven in combat situations. A swim can be serious because of the size and continuous nature of the water. Walking out, while possible, is difficult.
Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide

by Bruce Lessels (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

The Kennebec is released daily throughout the spring, summer, and fall at levels varying from 1,500 cfs to 8,000 and higher. While each level has its advantages and disadvantages, generally levels below about 3,600 cfs are considered low—Magic hole is grabby and powerful, and the waves in the rest of the gorge are on the small side. From about 3,600 to 5,600 cfs the river is big, continuous, and most features are pretty soft. At these medium flows Magic hole has two distinct foam piles and a soft spot in the middle. At 6,000 to 8,000 cfs and higher, the river is characterized by lateral breaking waves, and already scant opportunities for rescue are nonexistent. The first mile and a half are very continuous and the water is very turbulent.

The Kennebec runs through a slate gorge north of The Forks, Maine. It is released from Indian Pond at Harris Station Dam and fed at its source by Moosehead Lake. Putting in on the gorge for the first time can be intimidating, since the Kennebec’s reputation precedes it and you know that once you round the first bend there’s virtually no other way out but down the river. To run the Kennebec, you must have a strong roll that’s been proven in combat situations. A swim can be serious because of the size and continuous nature of the water. Walking out, while possible, is difficult.

©  Bruce Lessels/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: West Forks
Distance: 11
Class: Class IV
Local Contacts: Gauge location and water level information is provided in the eTrail if available.
Driving Directions: Directions to Kennebec River: Harris Station Dam to The Forks (Route 201)

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Apr 2018