Many folks don’t like the rain. If you enjoy the local rivers and streams, especially by the power of a paddle than the rain is a good thing. Right here in Carrabassett we have the beautiful Carrabassett River which runs along the Maine High Peaks scenic byway from New Portland to the Sugarloaf access rd. This river has something for everyone, and when it’s rained a couple inches and the river swells up, you’ve got to get it while you can…
Last week we got a few inches of rain within 24 hrs and water levels were enough to run an exciting stretch of the Carrabassett.
So here’s what usually happens: A phone call late in the day. “hey, the river is up! Wanna paddle tomorrow morning?” If there isn’t anything pressing than the answer is “heck yeah!” then deciding where to go (there are a LOT of options in the High Peaks region). Well that day last week we decided to hit up a stretch of the river we hadn’t done in a few years, the Carrabassett from the state rest area in Carrabassett Valley to the dam in Kingfield.
Its always nice to paddle in the summertime close to home. Usually we’re taking advantage of the spring runoff in cold temps in April and May, or the fall rains in october and early november. Not ideal temperature wise but, you got to get it while you can.
For this section you’ll mostly find class I and II whitewater with three or four easy class III sections mixed in with some quickwater. We ran this section in recreational kayaks. It’s a wise idea to have a spray skirt to keep the water out of your boat. Otherwise you’ll be stopping often to empty your boat of river water.
The river offers lots of fun as you follow it along route 27 occasionally heading away from the road usually finding fun rapids as well as some unique natural features.
As you get closer to Kingfield you encounter what they call the “Rock Garden” which will keep you on your toes, especially at lower water levels. It’s great to see rt27 from a different point of view as well.
As you reach downtown Kingfield the river sweeps away from the road, then back to where the West Branch of the Carrabassett comes in and you soon reach the centennial bridge in Kingfield and the dam. We took out on river right just past the bridge and behind Longfellows restaurant.
Successful trip! No one swam (fell out of their boat) and high fives and recounts of certain sections were retold as we headed north back to the rest area and vehicle we had left there.
Get out and enjoy all that Maine’s High Peaks region has to offer… and remember the river levels will not wait for you. Being at the headwaters of a lot of rivers and streams it doesn’t take long for the high water to subside. So… GET IT WHILE YOU CAN!