Imagine the heart-pumping thrill of paddling down a narrow river gorge churning with the roar of whitewater, pushing hard through the frothy rapids, splashing down through holes and over drops, and eddying out below with a big smile and sense of accomplishment. That’s the essence of whitewater kayaking in Maine, and we’ve got plenty of it for all ability levels!
Maine is home to three world-class whitewater rivers that draw kayakers from near and far. If you’re seeking the challenge and adventure of whitewater rivers in unbeatable natural settings, we’ve got what you’re looking for, from the “Big Three” of the Penobscot, Kennebec and Dead Rivers to a multitude of smaller rivers, streams and creeks.
The Penobscot River offers paddlers twelve miles of Class III-V rapids. The fun begins immediately with the Exterminator Rapid at the head of Ripogenus Gorge. Paddle down through Staircase Rapid before tackling the multiple challenges of the Cribworks above the calm of Big Eddy. Downriver, in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, the excitement continues with river-wide, twelve-foot falls at Nesowadnehunk, and the rapids of Big Ambejackmockamus, Abol and Pockwockamus.
The scenic Kennebec River challenges whitewater boaters with the Class II-IV rapids. Huge waves at Big Mama and Whitewasher lead to an exciting plunge through Magic Falls, the best hit on the river. Kayakers who enjoy playboating will find plenty of holes to their liking for hours of wet and wild enjoyment between the dam at Harris Station and the village of West Forks.
The Dead River offers boaters sixteen miles of nearly continuous whitewater ranging from Class II-V. Starting with the mild Spencer Rips, your run progresses to the turbulent waves at Humpty Dumpty and Elephant Rock before finishing up with a bang at Big Poplar Falls, sure to challenge your paddling skills and bring a happy sigh of relief below.
Numerous river outfitters offer inflatable kayak rentals and equipment, plus whitewater kayaking instruction for beginner to advanced paddlers, and expertly guided trips that get you out on the river to experience the best river kayaking Maine has to offer at a level that is comfortable for you. Lodging packages include accommodations, meals, instruction, gear and river running.