With 16 miles of continuous whitewater, the Dead River is our longest rafting adventure and one you don’t want to miss. We only raft it 8 times per year when it is released – typically 5 times in the spring and 3 times in the fall. Dead River whitewater rafting trips run out of our base at The Forks Fun Resort in The Forks, ME.
About the Dead River
This area is so aptly named “The Forks” for a reason: it is where the Dead River meets the Kennebec River. When two rivers meet it is called a “confluence”. Rumor has it that was too hard to spell so the settlers called it The Forks instead!
The Dead River is 42.6 miles long and flows from Flagstaff Lake to the Kennebec River. Like the Kennebec River and the Penobscot River, the Dead River is dam-controlled, which is why we only get 8 days a year to enjoy it. When that dam was built in 1950, it created Flagstaff Lake by flooding the towns of Flagstaff and Dead River, which was deemed necessary by the state of Maine for flood control and power grid needs. There are still remains of those towns at the bottom of the lake!
During the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold led over 1,000 men up the Dead River as part of the invasion of Canada in 1775. It was a grueling journey due to unexpected high water levels, and many of the troops ended up turning back.
With the longest stretch of continuous whitewater in this part of the country and an interesting history, the Dead River is truly one-of-a-kind. If you’ve ever been on a whitewater rafting trip on the Kennebec River or the Penobscot River, you definitely need to check out the Dead River.
On the water
The 16 mile section that we raft begins near Grand Falls – which you can come back to check out on of our Guided Waterfall Excursions. You’ll begin the day with some class II rapids before moving onto some larger class IV rapids, such as The Minefield, Hayden’s Landing, Mile Long Rapid, and Poplar Falls.
One of the best parts about the Dead River is there are endless spots to play and surf. Your guide will take you to the spots where you’ll have the most fun. Because the Dead River is released so rarely, it truly is a unique adventure every time!
After Poplar Falls Rapid, you’ll float back to town for about 2 miles. When you get back, we’ll have lunch ready to go at our base! Our Dead River trips often coincide with First Blast and Last Blast, in which case lunch will be a HUGE Pig Roast!
Fall rafting on the Dead River
The fall releases of the Dead River are extra special. This trip is the ultimate combination of epic rafting and beautiful fall foliage. The weather may be a little cooler, but our guides will make sure you stay warm by suggesting the proper wetsuit pieces and layers. It’s definitely worth it!
In the summer, the Dead River occasionally flows at lower levels. On these days, we offer Inflatable Kayak Trips.
These trips offer an aggressive experience with many spots to play in your inflatable kayak, or ducky as we call it in the whitewater community. It’s a long day of technical paddling, but an experience you might want to consider if that sounds like your type of fun!
If you’re looking for a less aggressive, more relaxed trip we can also take guests out on rafts during these recreational releases. Call our office at 207-663-2104 for more information about what’s right for your crew!