The Best Fall Whitewater: Dead River, Maine

Best for non-stop whitewater

Oct 1, 2012
Outside Magazine

   Photo: Chris McNulty

The 15-mile whitewater run from Spencer Stream to the Forks, where the Dead River runs into the Kennebec, is the most continuous stretch of whitewater in New England. The rapids start right below the put-in with the Class III Spencer Rips, and run through rapids like the aptly named Mile Long, a Class IV. There are lots of surf spots, like Elephant Rock, and the miles of busy water gives boaters plenty of places to play. The Dead only runs on certain weekends—there are only eight commercial-level releases scheduled for this year—which means that excitement levels are usually high, but boater’s experience levels can be low. Unemployment Hole, in the last rapid, Big Poplar, is known for swallowing boats. The Forks is full of paddlers in the summer, but it usually quiets down by September. Your best bet for socializing, and beer, is to stop by Northern Outdoors's brewery for a raft-guide-brewed Kennebec River IPA.