About Nesowadnehunk Falls
Nesowadnehunk Falls is a truly one-of-a-kind rapid that we get to run on the Penobscot River. The Falls are the first rapid after lunch on our Penobscot River whitewater rafting trip. And what comes after lunch? Recess!
At about 100 feet across, this huge horseshoe-shaped waterfall is known affectionately as a “whitewater playground” because of its unique features and because you can run it over and over again. The stoke levels here will be raised for sure! It’s SERIOUS FUN.
Normally, this would be considered a class IV rapid, but it really should have its own category. Nowhere else in the world can you go over a 13-foot drop, surf amazing holes, and climb under a waterfall – and do it all as many times as you want! Plus the risk vs. reward here is actually quite low. Directly below the falls the river opens up to flat water with relatively no hazards down river. If you were to fall out of the boat, another boat would be there to scoop you in no time.
Recess comes after lunch right? Well here on the Penobscot River, after lunch we hit the “whitewater playground”!
Where we put in on the water after lunch, you can hear The Falls in the distance, but you can’t see anything, yet. After a turn in the river, we approach The Falls on the left-hand side of the river, and it becomes clear what is about to go down.
After paddling hard, your guide will call “Hold on!” as you go over the 13-foot drop and into some splashy waves at the bottom. People do sometimes go swimming here, but don’t worry – downstream is fairly deep flat water, and your guide or one of the others nearby will get everyone back in the boat quickly. In fact, for many people, falling out at The Falls is the highlight of their day!
After that, you can do it again! You’ll carry your boat upstream over a big rock and run that drop again, if your crew is up for it, of course. On most trips, we’re able to run The Falls at least 2-3 times, and sometimes upwards of 5 on smaller trips! It’s called a “whitewater playground” for a reason!
One of the best surf spots on the Penobscot River is right at Nesowadnehunk Falls, too! By this point in the trip, your crew probably will have surfed a couple of times, so you’ll have the hang of it by this point.
Right next to the on the left-hand side of the river drop is the surf hole. The front seat of the raft is definitely the best spot if you want water crashing right into your face! Sometimes the bow of the boat will get sucked so far down that we call it a “bow-stand” and the back of the raft will rise out of the water. Long-time Three Rivers guide Tyler Holt pulled off this epic, once-in-a-lifetime bow-stand and essentially made his raft stand vertically.
Just like the drop at The Falls, if someone were to fall out here, there is no need to worry. You’ll be picked up by another boat quickly, and there are no hazards downstream. (Notice the raft in the background just sitting still in flat water)
Visiting The Falls
The best way to experience Nesowadnehunk Falls is, of course, on our Penobscot River whitewater rafting trips. But, if world-renowned Class V rafting isn’t your thing and you want something exciting to watch, you can get to The Falls very easily. They are located right off the Golden Road – you can actually see The Falls from the road through the trees.
However you decide to enjoy our “whitewater playground”, this spot should not be missed!