About a week after paddling a lower section of the Contoocook we decided to paddle the next upriver section. We started by scouting a put-in at the Hopkinton Flood Control Dam itself.
While there is a parking area on the west side of the dam, the hill down to the river looked quite daunting. We drove south on the west side of the river(Maple St, Rt 27). About 1/2 mile from the dam we found the remnants of the old Rt 9/202 that went down to the river.
Parking at the barriers on the road near the river, we carried our kayaks down a fairly steep, narrow path to the river itself. Although there were a few rocks to step on, the river dropped off quickly at the launch. Getting into the kayaks without getting wet was a bit of a challenge but we managed. There was a fair downstream current, perhaps 3/4 mph.
The river, in this section, is quite wooded and rural in nature. We only saw a few houses on the whole stretch up to Henniker. The banks are either wooded or abut large fields and no roads are close enough to the river to be intrusive.
About 1 1/2 miles from our launch point, on river right, there is a good launch point off River Rd with a parking area and a concrete ramp. We continued up river toward Henniker enjoying the solitude. As we approached Henniker we encountered much stronger currents. We got to the point where we could see the rapids below Henniker but then had to turn around due to the current.
Our total round trip mileage was about 9 1/2 miles.
I-89 to Exit 5. Rt 9/202 West. After crossing the Contoocook River, right on Rt 127. Right on old Rt 9/202.