Tag Archives: NH Rivers

Kayaking Contoocook River- Concord, NH

This section of the Contoocook River running from Contoocook Village, NH to the Contoocook Canoe Co. in Concord, NH is a 9 mile journey along a tree-lined river replete with fallen trees and limbs to avoid.  If you’re lucky, you may see some wildlife, Canada Geese, Blue Heron, turtles and eagles are occasionally spotted here. The high river banks and feeling of seclusion will make you forget you’re so close to the city.

WHY PADDLE HERE?  For a leisurely 9 mile paddle on a tree-lined river, a shorter family paddle to Daisy Beach or a fall foliage paddle.

THE PADDLING ROUTE – We rented a tandem kayak from the Contoocook Canoe Co.  9 Horse Hill Rd. Concord, NH opting for their 9 mi./14.5 km. one way trip.  What a value at only $30 for 2 paddlers and 1 tandem kayak, including transportation.  After the usual safety briefing, we were shuttled upriver to the Contoocook Village kayak launch by a very helpful employee who carried our kayak down the short, but steep, embankment to the river launch site.

Once launching, our group began paddling downriver and within a couple of minutes, we encountered what would be the first of many fallen trees and branches congesting the river.

We continued paddling downriver taking our time, always on the lookout to avoid the next sunken tree or limb.

After paddling several miles, we were ready to pull over and stretch our legs, but most of the river is tree-lined, with high banks and few places to pull over.  The few decent spots we did eye, were already filled with other kayakers and we were forced to continue paddling until reaching Daisy Beach at the 7 mi./11.2 km. mark.

Thank goodness for Daisy Beach,  a welcome relief after a long paddle without a break.  By the time we arrived, we were more than ready to ditch the kayak and eat lunch sitting in our comfortable camp chairs, yes, that’s right, camp chairs.  I can’t emphasize enough how much of a difference having chairs can make during a long paddling trip, or any paddling trip, especially as you age.

Excluding the Wilderness Girls paddlers, I’ve never seen any other paddlers bring chairs with them and I often wonder why.  Which would you rather sit on, the ground, your kayak or a perfectly comfortable chair?  Call me a wooss if you like, but I’ll always choose a chair over sitting on the ground.

Stow one in your kayak hatch, or under the bungee cords on your deck if you can, but always bring a chair, it really does make a difference.

We rested and ate lunch at Daisy Beach, which I would describe as a  sweet little riverfront swimming hole. It has a couple of picnic tables and a rope swing.  The rope swing appears to be popular among the locals and provided entertainment for the rest of us.

We finished our lunch and re-launched for the final leg of the trip, an easy 2 mi./3.2 km. paddle bringing us directly back to the Contoocook Canoe Co.’s own riverfront launch site.  The staff awaits your arrival, they’re eager to help you exit your kayak and carry your personal belongings back to your car for you.  Bring cash to tip the staff, they deserve it.

The only wildlife we saw during this trip was a flock of Canada Geese on the side of the river as we silently paddled by.

I’m not sure how I feel about this trip, 7 miles is just too long for me to paddle without a guaranteed place to break.  I most likely won’t ever paddle here again, but on the off-chance I do, it will be during fall foliage and I will launch directly from the canoe company’s own put-in, enabling me to paddle upriver to Daisy Beach and beyond, paddling only as far as I choose to go.

In my opinion, the lower section of this trip is much more enjoyable to paddle with fewer obstacles to avoid, but there is a trade-off, unlike the upper section, it has less nature and some development, which personally, I don’t mind.  Every paddler has different likes and dislikes, so you’ll just have to judge this trip for yourself.

CAUTIONS!  Watch out for the numerous fallen trees, branches, rocks and debris at, or just below, the waterline.  In the busy season, be prepared to paddle almost the entire trip without a break as you may not be able to find an unoccupied space to land before reaching Daisy Beach, at the 7mi./11.2km. mark. 

PARKING & LAUNCH There is plenty of parking at the Contoocook River Canoe Co. where we rented a tandem kayak for this trip.  We took a shuttle to the launch site at Contoocook Village where you’ll find signage and a path leading down a short, but steep, embankment to the launch.

RESTROOMS  NO. There are portable toilets at the Contoocook River Canoe Co. but they are too disgusting to use.  Visit the Dunkin Donut shop, 98 Fisherville Rd. (Rte 3 near Bog Rd.)  prior to arrival.

WHEN TO VISIT – Visit during summer if you are paddling with children to swim at Daisy Beach.  Opt for a shorter trip by launching directly from the Contoocook Canoe Co.’s own launch and paddling 2 mi./3.2 km. upriver to Daisy Beach and as far beyond as you wish.  Otherwise, a fall foliage paddle is the best time to paddle this section of the river.

Skip this trip entirely if you have to travel any distance to get here, there are just too many better waterways in NH to paddle than this section of the Contoocook River.

DIRECTIONS – Click Here.

CONTOOCOOK CANOE CO.  – Click Here.

Kayaking Sagamore Creek – Portsmouth NH

Sagamore Creek in Portsmouth, NH is a very attractive paddling destination for both local kayakers and visitors alike.  Not only is paddling here scenic, but your efforts rewarded by the rare opportunity to paddle to a popular seafood restaurant where you’ll find a soft landing area for kayaks.  At BG’s Boathouse Restaurant, paddlers can enjoy a meal on the deck while keeping an eye on their kayaks and the tide.  Because Sagamore Creek is tidal, the ability to use the tides in your favor makes this paddling endeavor that much more enjoyable.

WHY PADDLE HERE? –  For coastal nature, harbor views, a tidal water experience and an opportunity to paddle to lunch or dinner at BG’s Boathouse Restaurant, a popular waterfront restaurant located on Sagamore Creek in Portsmouth, NH.

THE PADDLING ROUTE –  In planning today’s trip we had one simple goal in mind, paddle to BG’s Boathouse Restaurant for dinner and a glass of wine.  We launched  our kayaks from the public boat ramp at Odiorne Point State Park Boat Launch approximately two hours prior to high tide.

Once launching, we turned right and paddled into Little Harbor, paddled underneath the Rte 1B bridge and then paddled upriver with the flood tide.  We veered left into Sagamore Creek and  paddled the length of the creek landing to the left of BG’s Boat House Restaurant where we enjoyed an excellent seafood dinner.  We highly recommend the haddock!

After dinner, we re-launched with the ebb tide, and reversed course paddling  downriver.  We paddled back under the Rte 1B bridge and into Little Harbor where we took a short paddle to watch the sun set before returning to the boat launch before nightfall.

Little Harbor, especially at sun set, is one of my favorite places to paddle. If you paddle here, you will not be disappointed.

We launched our kayaks from Odiorne State Park Boat Launch,  turned right and paddled under the Rte 1B bridge and then paddled upriver with the flood tide toward Sagamore Creek.

We veered left into Sagamore Creek,  paddled the length of the creek and landed to the left of  BG’s Boathouse Restaurant.

After dinner we re-traced our route paddling down Sagamore Creek with the ebb tide and back under the Rte 1B bridge to Little Harbor.

Once back in Little Harbor, we paddled around the harbor while the sun was setting before returning to the boat launch before nightfall.

CAUTIONS! –  Tides, strong currents, and boat traffic.  The tidal currents are strong as you paddle underneath the Rte 1B bridge.   For safety, paddle under the bridge as close to slack tide as possible and avoid paddling in the center where the current is always the strongest, and paddle as you pass underneath the bridge.  We routinely paddle under the bridge within two hours either side of the high tide without issue but after that, the current becomes increasingly strong and should be avoided by novice kayakers.

PARKING & LAUNCH – The State of NH maintains a public boat launch at Odiorne Point State Park 570 Ocean Blvd. Rye, NH.  The boat launch itself is located on Ocean Blvd. approximately one mile north of the main entrance.  The launch has a concrete ramp and a large parking lot for vehicles and trailers.  There is a self pay station with suggested donation fees.

RESTROOMS – Yes, there are portable toilets located in the parking lot.  Additional restrooms are located in Odiorne Point State Park near the main entrance, approximately one mile south of the boat launch.

WHEN TO VISIT- Summer is the best time to paddle Little Harbor and Sagamore Creek.  Avoid holidays and weekends if you can as the boat launch parking lot is used by both boaters and those visiting Odiorne Point State Park.

BG’S BOATHOUSE RESTAURANT – Click Here –

TIDE CHART – Click Here –

US HARBORS LINK – Click Here –

ODIORNE STATE PARK TRAIL MAP – Click Here –

DIRECTIONS  – Click Here –