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New England Whitewater Rafting

Picture of Whitewater RaftingWhite water boating (canoeing, kayaking, or rafting) can be fun, exhilarating, exciting, and physically demanding. It can also be dangerous and even life threatening.

There are numerous ways to travel river rapids. Perhaps the most popular is rafting where an inflatable boat consisting of rubberized fabrics is used. Other popular ways of navigating rapids include canoes and kayaks.

Whitewater rafting is popular in the spring into the summer. It is in the spring, however, with the snow melt, that rapids are typically at their most intense.

Rating the Rapids

White water rapids are rated on the International Scale of River Difficulty from 1 (mild) to 6 (crazy). Following is a brief synopsis of the classifications:

Class Description Skill Risk
Class 1 Fast moving water with small waves. Few obstructions that are easy to navigate around. Novice Slight
Class II Fast moving waters with moderate waves. Wide channels with occasional maneuvering necessary. Novice Seldom cause injury
Class III Fast moving water with moderate and irregular waves. Some large waves and strong eddies. Tight passages. Complex maneuvers necessary. Intermediate Injuries rare
Class IV Intense, powerful, but predictable. Turbulent water with large unavoidable waves. Constricted passages. Requires precise boat handling. Advanced Risk to swimmers in the water is moderate to high.
Class V Long, obstructed, violent rapids with rocks, hazards, and drops. Difficult and physically demanding. The upper ends of a class 5 rapid are designated 5.1, 5.2, 5.3… Each step up is the equivalent of the difficulty increase of going from Class IV to Class 5. Expert Swims are dangerous and rescues are difficult.
Class VI Extremely difficult, unpredictabil3e and dangerous. Considered unraftable Strong risk of serious injury or death. Successful navigation considered a matter of luck.

New England’s Rafting Rivers

Many New England states are known for excellent rapids that range from the easy Class I rapids to the challenging and dangerous Class V rapids. Some of the best known rivers for rafting in New England include:

Connecticut Rivers

  • Housatonic River – Class II to Class IV rapids at Bull’s Bridge

Maine Rivers

  • Dead River – Class II to Class IV
  • Kennebec River – Class I to Class IV
  • Penobscot River – Class I to Class V

Massachusetts Rivers

  • Concord River – Class III+(IV)
  • Deerfield River – Class I to Class IV
  • Millers River – Class II to III(IV)

New Hampshire Rivers

  • Androscoggin River – Class I and Class II
  • Ashuelot River – Class II to Class IV
  • Bearcamp River – Class II to Class IV
  • Saco River – Class II to Class IV
  • Swift River – Class I to Class IV+

Vermont Rivers

  • West River – Class I to Class III

Note: All rapids ratings are from the National Whitewater Inventory from American Whitewater.

New England Whitewater Rafting Outfitters

Clarke Outdoors – Canoeing, kayaking, and rafting on the Housatonic River in Connecticut. Contact them at:

Clarke Outdoors
163 Route 7
West Cornwall, CT 06796
Phone: 860-672-6365


Crab Apple Whitewater – Offer whitewater rafting on the:

  • Dead River in Maine
  • Deerfield River in Massachusetts
  • Kennebec River River in Maine
  • Miller’s River in Massachusetts
  • West River in Vermont

Contact them at:

Crab Apple Whitewater
3 Lake Moxie Road
The Forks, ME 04985
Phone: 800-553-7238


Moxie Outdoor Adventures – Whitewater rafting on the:

  • Dead River in Maine
  • Deerfield River in Massachusetts
  • Kennebec River in Maine
  • Penobscot River in Maine

Contact them at:

Moxie Outdoor Adventures
HC 63 Box 60
The Forks, ME 04985

1 Thunder Road
Charlemont, MA 01339
Phone: 207-663-2231
Toll free: 800-866-6943


New England Outdoor Center – Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, Kennebec River, and Penobscot River in Maine. Contact them at:

New England Outdoor Center
Millinocket, Maine 04462
Toll Free: 800-634-7238
Offices: 207-723-5438


Northeast Guide Service – Whitewater rafting on the

  • Dead River in Maine
  • Kennebec River in Maine
  • Penobscot River West Branch Section in Maine
  • Penobscot River South Branch Canada Falls section in Maine
  • Penobscot River Seboomook section in Maine

Contact them at:

Northeast Guide Service
142 Moosehead Lake Road
Greenville, Maine
Phone: 888-484-3317 or 207-695-0151


North American Outdoor Adventure – Whitewater rafting on the:

  • Dead River in Maine
  • Deerfield River in Massachusetts
  • Housatonic River (Bulls Bridge) in Connecticut
  • Kennebec River in Maine
  • Penobscot River (Canada Falls) in Maine

Contact them at:

North American Outdoor Adventure
West Forks, ME 04985
Phone: 207-663-4472


North Country Rivers – Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, Kennebec River, and Penobscot River in Maine. Contact them at:

North Country Rivers
Gadabout Gaddis Airport
36 Main St
Bingham, Maine, 04920
Toll free: 800-348-8871
Local: 207-672-4814


Northern Outdoors – Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, Kennebec River, and Penobscot River in Maine. Contact them at:

Northern Outdoors
1771 US Route 201
The Forks, ME 04985
Phone: 800-765-7238


North Woods Rafting – Whitewater rafting on the Androscoggin in New Hampshire and the Magalloway River in Maine. Contact them at:

North Woods Rafting
308 NH Route 16
Milan, NH 03588
Phone: 603-449-BOAT


Penobscot Adventures – Whitewater rafting on the Penobscot River in Maine. Contact them at:

Penobscot Adventures
102 B Millinocket Lake Rd
Millinocket, ME 04462

27 Meadow St
Bingham, ME 04920
Phone: 877-356-9386


Professional River Runners – Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, Kennebec River, and Penobscot River in Maine. Contact them at:

Professional River Runners
West Forks, ME 04985
Phone: 207-663-2229
Toll free: 800-325-3911


Raft NH – Whitewater rafting on the Androscoggin River in New Hampshire. Contact them at:

Raft NH
196 Main Street
Gorham, NH 03581-1509
Phone: 603-545-4533


Three Rivers Whitewater – Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, Kennebec River, and Penobscot River in Maine. Contact them at:

Three Rivers Whitewater
2265 US Route 201
The Forks, Maine 04985
Phone: 207-663-2104

Medway Road
Millinocket, ME 04462
Phone: 207-723-3200


Windfall Rafting – Whitewater rafting on the Dead River, and Kennebec River in Maine. Contact them at:

Windfall Rafting
697 Main Street
Moose River, ME 04945
Phone: 800-683-2009


Zoar Outdoor – Whitewater rafting on the:

  • Concord River in Massachusetts
  • Deerfield River in Massachusetts
  • Miller’s River in Massachusetts
  • West River in Vermont

Contact them at:

Zoar Outdoor
7 Main Street
Charlemont, MA 01339
Phone: 800-532-7483


A listing here does not constitute an endorsement by Travel New England.

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