Contoocook River

Jaffrey, New Hampshire 3452

Contoocook River

Contoocook River Professional Review and Guide

"An easy half-day paddle through the New Hampshire countryside. The Contoocook is one of New Hampshire's high-volume rivers, beginning near the Massachusetts border in Jaffrey and flowing north to enter the Merrimack River in Concord. The “Took” is well known to whitewater paddlers for an exciting Class IV run of rapids called Freight Train, followed up by S-Turn in Henniker.

In contrast, the section of the river described in this trip is a placid flatwater paddle in the village of Contoocook that flows past farms and is bordered by floodplains covered in beautiful forests of silver maples. While this is usually an easy paddle, it can be tricky or even dangerous in high water—the current gets very turbulent and pushy, requiring you to use the paddling skills outlined in the introduction to this chapter. The best time to run this river is in fall, when the current is negligible and the trees are ablaze in color."

Contoocook River Reviews

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This trip is great for beginners. The water is flat all the way. There are a few sand bars and beaches along the way if you want to get out and take a swim. I uploaded gps trail coordinates for all to use. The trail starts at the center of Contoocook, NH (N43 13.328 W71 42.869(. This trail exits all the way down by the first dam at a boat launch and is 10.7 miles. One can go past the listed exit at Broad Cove (N43 13.962 W71 38.826) point to the Contoocook River Canoe Company at horse hill road & bog rd (N43 15.050 W71 37.405) or continue on to the dam at a boat launch (N43 15.983 W71 36.814) . Just watch out for power boats as they tend not to slow down and run very close to you and make a lot of wake. The exit at Broad Cove is an up hill short hike if you are carrying a Kayak or Canoe.
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The ride is fantastic. It's a relaxing glide through mostly forests and fields, with few developed sections. We met several pontoon boats, which can cause quite a wake, but most slowed down so as not to tip our canoe. The put-in is easy to get to, and convenient for unloading. However, from the river, the take-out point and trail can be easily missed if you don't know what you're looking for. There is also a portage of about 100 yards from the river take-out to the parking area.

Contoocook River Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Skill Level
3.5 hours
Best in fall
USGS Hopkinton
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Nov 2018