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Maine Whitewater Rafting

It's the thrill of wild rapids ... the smell of fresh Maine pine and the spray of the cool river waters that makes Whitewater Rafting such a popular sport in Maine.

In Maine, the state regulates the number of rafters allowed on Maine's rivers each year. This site will help you prepare to make sure YOUR one of them.

MaineOutdoors.com is proud to provide this resource for whitewater rafting in Maine. Follow the links to find an outfitter, plan your river trip by the scheduled dam releases, even create a checklist for what you should bring during your Maine Adventure. Current flow rates for the rivers is found in the Dam Release Dates info.

Complete list of White Water Rafting Companies in Maine

River Release Info for the Kennebec, Penobscot & Dead Rivers

Water releases on the Kennebec vary from 4,500 cfs to 6,500 cfs. Florida Power and Light - Maine operates a toll free number you can call to obtain current river conditions.
Call FPL's Flow Line at 1-800-557-3569 for more information.

Lower West Branch of the Penobscot:
Great Northern Paper Company operates Ripogenus Dam / McKay Station. Water releases from 1,500 cfs to 3,600 cfs are considered normal for the summer months. Great Northern operates a hotline which provides current information on all their dams and current water release information.
You can call 1-207-723-2328 for more information.

Dead River:
The Dead River is also dam controlled and released at high levels only at certain times during the rafting season.The lower Dead River is one of the finest stretches of whitewater in the Northeast. With 16 miles of class II and III rapids in a wilderness setting it is a true Maine experience. The Dead River is usually runnable only during a dam release.

Call FLP's Flow Line for current information at 1-800-557-3569. (The information for the Dead River is under the Kennebec option and is the Flagstaff Dam choice)


River Classifications:

Class I : Easy

Flatwater to occasional rapids characterized by low, regular waves. Obstructions such as rocks are easy to avoid.
The best route down the river is easily recognized and easy to maneuver through.

Class II : Medium

Frequent rapids characterized by high regular waves up to three feet in height. Easy to medium chutes, ledges, or falls.
Back eddies and different currents are easy to negotiate. The best route is easy to recognize and maneuver.

Class III : Difficult

Numerous rapids with high, irregular waves, rollers, breakers, and back eddies. This will require skilled maneuvering.
Chutes, falls, and ledges are considered difficult.

Class IV: Very Difficult

Long, difficult sections of rapids with high irregular waves, breakers, powerful back eddies, whirlpools,
sharp bends, and constricted canyons. Chutes, falls, and ledges have powerful rollers and undertow.

Class V: Extremely Difficult

Long sections of continuous violent rapids with very high irregular waves. Most of the waves are unavoidable.
The current is usually very fast with powerful eddies and whirlpools. River routes are usually complicated.

Class VI:

All whitewater Class VI rapids are considered nearly impossible and extremely dangerous.
These rivers are run only in the best of conditions.

Planning Your Trip

It is important to remember while you are visiting Maine that the weather can change quickly. Try to be prepared for just about any weather situation, especially May-June and September-October.
What Should I Wear?:
  • A pair of sneakers you don't mind getting wet (sneakers should lace up so they don't fall off)
  • Wool socks
  • Bathing Suit
  • Shorts
  • A piece of clothing that retains heat when it gets wet like wool, pile, polypropylene, and or neoprene
  • Rain Jacket and Rain Pants
  • Hat or visor
  • Wool Gloves
  • Sunscreen / Lipscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera

Most Rafting companies have wetsuits you can rent. Most companies require wetsuits when running the rivers in May, early June, September, and October. Sometimes a wetsuit is good to have when it is raining or overcast. Life Jackets, Helmets, and Paddles will be provided by the rafting company. All of the companies provide expert instruction and Lunch! They also provide the FUN.

What kind of weather should I expect?

The weather in May,June, September, and October can vary greatly and have lows in the 20's, 30's and 40's while having highs in the 60's and 70's. The months of July and August have lows in the 50's and highs in the 80's.

Is the water cold?

The water is colder at the beginning of the rafting season and gradually warms by July and August. During the months of September and October to water temperature can be warmer then the air temperature

Is it better rafting on the weekend or the weekday?

The weekdays have better rafting because there is more water released from the dams because there is a higher demand for power.

What to expect when contacting a Maine Rafting Company:

When should I call?

Most rafting companies are taking reservation all year long either by mail, email, or phone. Plan ahead early if you have a date in mind or trying to raft the river when there is a planned release.

Are there Group Discounts?

Yes, some of the companies provide a discount to groups interested in rafting and to the people organizing the groups.

Can I bring my children?

Many of the rafting companies have a minimum age for rafters. Check with the company to see what the age is.

What kind of physical shape should I be in?

It is a good idea you feel comfortable in the water. You should also be able to paddle and have some upper body strength.

I am not an expert paddler is that ok?

The guides at each of the rafting companies will work with you to improve your skills. They will make you feel very comfortable on the water.

Should I confirm my reservations?

Be sure to confirm your reservations prior to arrival.

What time should I arrive?

Also check to make sure what time you need to arrive at the rafting company. Most have 7am or 8am arrival times.

Where is the best place to stay?

It is best to arrive the night before and stay locally. Check with the rafting company or other online resources for more information.

Do the rafting companies have accommodations?

Many of the rafting companies have accommodations available for before and after your trip.

What sort of weather should I expect:

In Maine we have a common saying "If you don't like the weather ... wait a minute, it'll change" At any time of year, Maine's weather can be completely different depending on where you are in Maine. It can be perfectly sunny along the coast, but raining cats and dogs in the western mountains. Try to be prepared for just about anything and keep one eye to the sky.

Along the coast:
(Bar Harbor, Boothbay, Camden, Portland, etc)

The coastal sea breeze can keep Maine's coast 10 to 20 degrees cooler than just a few miles inland. In the winter - the coastal areas typically are warmer and receive less snow due to salt from the ocean. However, Maine's coast has more fog than inland Maine and can make for difficult driving along Maine's popular coastal Rt. 1.

During the summer, evening temperatures can drop into the 40's, and even the 30's in the spring and summer months. Daytime highs generally reach 70's with occassional 80's and 90's.

A fair bit of warning with regard to water temperature's along Maine's coast. In late August, the warmest you might find the water is in the 60's - but, expect much cooler water when venturing in.

(Bangor, Waterville, Newport, Millinocket, etc)

Summer temperatures are a pleasant 70's to 80's with occassional spells of 90's. Humidity is fairly mild, but occassionally can seem high. Long dry spells in the summers are rare.

Winter months can be very cold, with wind chills in sub-zero ranges. Snow amounts vary thoughout the state - but snow generally begins in November and goes through March.

Western Mountains:
(Jackman, Bethel, Rangley, etc)

The high elevations in Maine's western mountains tends to create a cooler climate. Higher elevations can see low temperatures in the evenings - even during the summer months. Temperatures can range in the 60's and 70's during the summer months. Low evening temperatures are generally in the 40's and 50's.

Links to Rafting Companies in Maine:

Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort 
Maine's Adventure Resort is a true 4 season vacation resort, with something for everyone of all ages! Whitewater rafting, hiking and direct access to ATV snowmobile trails! Classic Maine lodge, wide range of lodging and camping options. Enjoy great food and fresh ales from our Kennebec River Pub & Brewery. Call for your FREE Getaway Guide.

Below are links to other whitewater rafting companies in Maine. Most companies also provide lodging. Enjoy your adventure!

  • AAA Whitewater Information
    Discover whitewater rafting on the Penobscot, Kennebec & Dead rivers. Trips run daily. No experience necessary. Call toll free for rafting, camping & lodging package. AAA North Country Rivers, P.O. Box 47 East Vassalboro, Maine 04935
  • Crab Apple Whitewater, Inc 
    Offering 13 different activities ranging from scenic float trips to world class whitewater. Open year round: whitewater rafting, hunting, snowmobiling, nordic skiing. Basic to luxury lodging.
  • Magic Falls Rafting Company 
     Striving to individualize your experience by keeping our groups small. We aim first for safety, second for a trip that touches the heart and excites the soul.
  • New England Outdoor Center
    We may raft in the wilderness but our base facilities are most civilized, and the best of any whitewater outfitter in Maine. Choose from a charming B&B, fully equipped contemporary and traditional housekeeping cabins, cozy cabin tents, or campsites.
  • Northeast Guide Service 
    Whitewater Rafting, Moose Tours, Inflatable Kayaking, Overnight Trips & Instructional Clinics on the Kennebec, Dead, & Penobscot Rivers. We are a full service outfitter with meal & lodging packages located on beautiful Moosehead Lake in Greenville Maine.
  • Professional River Runners of Maine, Inc. 
    1-6 day Maine rafting and canoeing trips. Island campout with Maine lobster cookout, lake touring, private beaches, campfires and hand-cranked ice cream. Scenic snowmobile lodging with direct access to Maine ITS snowmobile trail.
    Pro River Runners of Maine P.O. Box 92 - Route 201 West Forks, ME 04985
  • Sunrise Ridge Guide Service
    Family Vacations, Canoeing & Kayaking, Swimming in our in-ground pool. White Water Rafting. Guide Service - Bear Deer and Bobcat Hunts. Newly constructed log cabins -modern and convenient. Come and enjoy all that Maine has to offer.
  • Three Rivers Whitewater
    Whitewater Rafting on the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead Rivers in Maine, USA. Full service Rafting Outfitter with accommodations ranging from river side camping to a classic Maine Inn.

Sponsored by:  Northern Outdoors Whitewater Rafting
Daily whitewater rafting on the Kennebec, Penobscot & Dead Rivers. Classic Maine lodge, wide range of lodging and camping options. Great food and fresh ales from our Kennebec River Pub & Brewery. Call for your FREE Getaway Guide.

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