When leaving the park in West Epping, our first thought was one of excitement. There was a water fall/dam to the left that gave us a bit of a kick start with the current. It was a beautiful and warm day.
A few houses dot the shoreline, but you definitely get the feel of being out in the very best of nature. Birds were audbile and the remains of busy beavers are seen every where. We were able to spot a Blue Heron or two taking flight.
A few class II rapids kept the thrill going. There are some shallow spots at times, but the lime green moss on the rocks in this crystal clear river allow for some warning and pre-planning of your route. There were very few people that we saw on the shoreline and only 2 other kayakers.
The down side? Get Out at the Route 87 Bridge AT LAMPREY FALLS It is 6.8 miles into the trek!!! From this point forward, the trip takes a severe turn for the worse. There are many (15-20) spots on the river with felled trees, Beaver Dams, and Urban pollution that require you to climb over the trees with your Kayak in tow. There are areas that are simply un-passable that require you to take your kayak up a muddied embankment, drag it 100 yards or so and then back in the river.
This last 6 miles of our trip, letting out just before Watley falls, brought injury, tipping of kayaks, and a good deal of creative language. IT was about 4 hours with the constant need for outting the boats. It was frustrating and clouded what had been an ideal trip in the beginning.
Having to go on the River again, I would recommend the first 6.8 miles from the park to the Route 87 bridge as a 10 of 10 for experience and beauty. The second part would be good only if one were competing for the $1,000,000 of the Amazing Race... and even then...!!
Paddler Beware.... know what your expectations and abilities are. This is nature, not Disney, when it comes to 'imperfections' in your trip.
The access is fairly easy. There is appx 100 ft drag through some sandy brush covered area to the water. Parking is free, and readily available at the playground area.
Exit 6 off of Route 101. Head toward Route 27. Left on Route 27 for about .3 miles. There will be a pond on the left, take a RIGHT into the park. The signage is poor, but a trucking company is a good marker, just prior to the driveway.
AMC River Guide notes the trip, but the internet is your best information