Maine rafting beckons visitors from all over to see some of the most pristine scenery in the continental United States. With three major rivers to explore, rafters have an abundance of options for itineraries and levels of difficulty. Maine white water rafting trips are done almost exclusively during the summer, as the chilly weather can last into the spring. Maine is one of the northernmost states in America, and that being mentioned, it is not difficult to understand the importance of planning your trip during the warmer season, aside from the fact that the water levels are much higher due to the snowmelt runoff.
The three chief rivers in Maine are the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Dead River, and each has its own appeal to travelers. Flowing through Baxter State Park and the town of Bangor, Penobscot River rafting features fourteen miles of water to explore, with trips over several rapids and narrow shoots, including the Exterminator, the Big Heater, the Cribworks, and the Staircase Rapids. Additionally, paddlers will have the pleasure of seeing Mount Katahdin overlooking the river and Ripogenus Gorge rising up on either side. The Penobscot is the most difficult option, with Class IV and Class V rapids along the way, meaning it isn’t suitable at all for beginners.
Slightly shorter, Kennebec River rafting possibly has rougher rapids with names like Whitewasher and Big Mama, which you can explore before plummeting over Magic Falls into another succession of rapids. Along this wild ride of Kennebec River rafting, be on the lookout for moose and other wild animals in the wilderness that surrounds the river as it flows toward the capital city of Augusta . The Kennebec River is slightly calmer than the Penobscot, but this only means that it has Class IV rapids only, rather than Class IV and Class V.
If you’re a beginner or on a family vacation, the best place for your Maine white water rafting trip would be the Dead River, despite the unwelcoming name. The put-in point is in a beautiful location near the horseshoe of Grand Falls, and it’s followed by the rapids of Elephant Rock, Mile Long, Humpty Dumpty, and Minefield is a thrill of a lifetime, ending with a bang, figuratively speaking, over the largest rapids on the river, Poplar Falls. Dead River does have Class IV+ rapids on the route, but there are also Class II and Class III along the way, and it may be possible to arrange a shorter trip that’s suitable for less-experienced travelers, if you want to avoid the most difficult stretches.
In addition to rafting, adventuring visitors can take advantage of a number of other activities that are often offered with rafting packages or as separate options, such as ATV tours, wildlife safaris, including moose, deer, and osprey, fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, and rock climbing. Whether you are planning for an extended vacation or just a few short days, Maine rafting trips are ideal for every adventurer at heart, and it is almost always sure to leave paddlers with exciting memories and thrilling tales of flying along the gurgling rapids of Maine’s best-known rivers.
Image: davidgalestudios (flickr)