New Englanders?

got a denali lama this summer, two actually (hoping my wife would join me),havent shut up about the thing, been putting it in every river or body of water I can, have no idea where to actually get the inteded use out of the thing. (backpacking, camping, river running and back packing and camping all over again.) Any ideas? Im looking for ideas for a trip in greater New england of 4 days or more using the packraft. Any New Englaners with a little more experience willing to show a novice the ropes, even if only for the day, or that run some rivers other than the Saco? I would love any ideas.


You mention the Saco River. This is actually one of the better rivers in the Northeast for beginner to intermediate packrafting, and offers some really good return trips by foot trails to the put-ins.

River Street Bridge in Bartlett is a good put-in option, with frequent Class 1 and occasional Class 2 rapids, some of which require good maneuvering skills around mid-river boulders. The USGS gauge for the Saco at Conway ( needs to show >1500 cfs for the upper portion of this trip to be runnable. (Putting in above Bartlett includes solid Class 3 and occasional Class 4 drops, and the runnable season is early and cold, so may not be a good idea for many of us.)

Possible round trips include:

FLOAT Bartlett -> US 302 @ West Side Rd; RETURN Mt Stanton Tr->Mt Langdon Tr->Bartlett
FLOAT Bartlett -> Humphrey’s Ledge or River Rd @ N Conway; RETURN West Side Rd->Moat Mtn Tr->Attitash Tr->Bear Notch Rd->Bartlett
FLOAT Bartlett -> Conway covered bridge; RETURN West Side Rd->Passaconaway Rd->Moat Mtn Tr->Attitash Tr->Bear Notch Rd->Bartlett
FLOAT Bartlett -> US 302 @ Center Conway; RETURN Conway Town Rec. Path->West Side Rd->Passaconaway Rd->Moat Mtn Tr->Attitash Tr->Bear Notch Rd->Bartlett

The last trip above also includes a couple of short Class 3 rapids above the take-out - not difficult in a packraft at medium water if you keep your weight forward through the haystacks. This one is an ambitious three day or more leisurely 4 day trip. The hiking is quite challenging no matter how you cut it!

Apparently the Pemigewasset River between Lincoln and Plymouth is similar in character to the Saco as above, although without the good hiking return options. Might be a good option for floating a bike, and riding back via secondary roads paralleling the interstate.

The AMC River Guide for NH & VT is an indispensable source of info for finding packraftable rivers in this part of the country. Once you know what classes of whitewater, and what types of river conditions, you and your raft are comfortable with, the guidebook will help you figure out which rivers or river sections to bookmark for possible exploration.

Here are a few photos from a recent trip on the Saco (the last round-trip route option, as described in the above post):

First, a short clip demonstrating Class 3 at the end of this float. (Select “HQ Video” to best make out the boaters running the rapids in the second scene.)

EDIT: Embedded photos wouldn’t post due to dynamic link attributes or some such, so…
Here’s the full album:

The Deerfield River in western Mass is a great river for people learning to raft. From Fife Brook dam it is about 5 or 6 miles to Zoar Gap. It is dam released so water is dependable and predictable. There is enough Whitewater to keep it interesting but never overwhelming to a novice boater. Zoar Gap is a short class 3+ that often has people sliding through in inner tubes. One can easily take out on the right before the Gap. Enjoy.

Hello, Is anyone on this thread still active in the area? I’m seeking partners from NY/NJ-New England region. I reside just north of Albany, and am willing to travel. I’d be happy to plan trips near me, plenty of ADK water/routes. Good for both day trips and overnights etc. I’m a UL backpacker getting into this sport. I have extensive backpacking/hiking, kayaking experience.seeking pr1 to pr3 trips, eventually adding pr4 throughout upcoming seasons.

If anyone is still looking at this thread, shoot me an email at so we can chat. I live in NJ and I’m always looking for new trip ideas and partners on the east coast. I’m also trying to centralize as many east coast packrafters as I can in the Facebook group “Packrafting USA” so please join our small (but growing) community!