West Branch of the Penobscot River - Roll Dams, Ripogenus Gorge, and Lower West Branch

Millinocket, Maine

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This eTrail includes two sections of Maine's Penobscot River - West Branch: Seboomook Dam to Roll Dam Campgrounds and McKay Station to Pockwockamus Falls. The Roll Dams section of the Penobscot is considerably easier than its downstream cousin, Ripogenus Gorge, but it still provides interesting whitewater and a beautiful setting for intermediate paddlers in search of a challenge. The run is short—only 2.5 miles—so it can be repeated several times in a day. The ledgy character of the Roll Dams is unusual for a New England river, and creates mazes of channels where the river runs through various breaks in the ledges. Paddling both sections involves a long day with lots of pond crossings, so many boaters choose to run Ripogenus Gorge and then drive down to one or two rapids below as a finale. The gorge is the most difficult section, with at least three bona fide class V rapids, one of which, the Cribworks, is among the more difficult drops in New England.
Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Classic Northeastern Whitewater Guide

by Bruce Lessels (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)

This eTrail includes two sections of Maine's Penobscot River - West Branch: Seboomook Dam to Roll Dam Campgrounds and McKay Station to Pockwockamus Falls. The Roll Dams section of the Penobscot is considerably easier than its downstream cousin, Ripogenus Gorge, but it still provides interesting whitewater and a beautiful setting for intermediate paddlers in search of a challenge. The run is short—only 2.5 miles—so it can be repeated several times in a day.

The ledgy character of the Roll Dams is unusual for a New England river, and creates mazes of channels where the river runs through various breaks in the ledges. Paddling both sections involves a long day with lots of pond crossings, so many boaters choose to run Ripogenus Gorge and then drive down to one or two rapids below as a finale. The gorge is the most difficult section, with at least three bona fide class V rapids, one of which, the Cribworks, is among the more difficult drops in New England.

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

Activity Type: Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing
Nearby City: Millinocket
Distance: 13.5
Class: Class III-V
Local Contacts: Gauge location and water level information is provided in the eTrail if available.
Driving Directions: Directions to West Branch of the Penobscot River - Roll Dams, Ripogenus Gorge, & Lower West Branch

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Apr 2018