The NH AMC Paddlers run trips on rivers, lakes, ponds, and coastal waters not only in New Hampshire, but all around New England. Our trips are open to AMC Members and Non-members. Most trips do have size limitations and may have experience/skill requirements. The Trip Leader will be able to advise you on whether a particular trip is easier or more difficult. Read the descriptions below to learn more about trip classifications and the types of trips we have to offer.
Wednesday Evening Recreational Paddle
Quiet Water Trips
Flat Water Trips
Touring / Class I Trips
Class II Whitewater Trips
Class III & IV Whitewater Trips
Sea Kayak / Touring Kayak Trips
Schools and Instruction
Our Wednesday Evening Recreational Trips are ideal for beginners and experienced paddlers. Arrangements can usually be made with the trip leader for rental boats, paddles, & PFDs ($10) to be available at the put-in. The pace of the trip is slow so that all can keep up. The trip leader will have someone as the lead boat and someone else as the last boat to help everone stay in the group. These trips are great for someone who has not paddled before and would like to try out the sport. These trips are usually out and back trips so there is no shuttling of vehicles. The trip is usually only an hour or two in duration. These trips are scheduled for the warmer months.
Our Quietwater Trips have an emphasis on beautiful places to paddle that are appropriate for all paddlers, especially beginners. These trips are on ponds or small lakes where wind and waves are rarely a problem. The pace of the trip is slow so that all can keep up. These trips are great for someone who has not paddled before and would like to try out the sport. These trips are often out and back trips so there is usually no shuttling of vehicles. We often see waterfowl and animals in the more pristine settings for these trips. As the lakes and ponds are small, we usually do not travel a long distance on these trips. The trip is usually only a couple of hours in duration. In the warmer months, we run these trips as part of Wednesday evening series as well as on weekends.
Flatwater trips are run on lakes and rivers. The current in the rivers is slow and there are not any rapids. These are good trips to enjoy the scenery and the wildlife. These trips may take place on larger lakes where there may be an issue of wind, but they will hug the shore. On rivers these trips may cover a good distance. In such case, some vehicles will be shuttled or placed at the take out prior to starting the trip. These trips are appropriate for beginners who have paddled at least a couple of times before.
Don't be fooled by the name Touring. Touring trips can often contain some tricky whitewater and can be far from leisurely floats downriver. Mid-summer flat-water trips, however, are often accompanied by swimming, picnicking, and for the young (at heart), riverbank rope swings.
Watch the schedule for Touring Instruction trips, which can provide a great opportunity to acquire basic (and some not so basic) boat handling skills.
Class II trips are the most popular, bringing together expert paddlers with those new to whitewater paddling. Negotiating these rivers requires some skill, and if you're new to the group the trip leader will want to be sure you have the ability to run the river. Class II in fact covers quite a range of difficulty - from the mostly non-technical class II sections of the West River in Vermont, where waves rather than rocks may be a challenge, to the rocky, Class II-plus Upper Swift in New Hampshire, where missing the eddy turn at the take-out risks putting you over a ten-foot falls (not a great way to end the day). A good system for improving your paddling skills is to choose progressively more challenging Class II rivers from those scheduled every season.
Class II trips may have short sections of Class III rapids. Leaders will be able to advise you on whether a particular river is easier or more difficult, how long the trip will last, what portaging options there are at particular rapids. Safety for all the group is always paramount, and no one is ever discouraged from walking rather than paddling a rapid if that seems like a good decision.
In addition to the Spring School, which qualifies you to run Class II rivers with the group, we often offer a one-day Class II-plus school, designed for those who want to upgrade to Class III, or just sharpen their existing skills.
Class III and Class IV trips offer more challanges for those paddlers with the skills and experience needed to enjoy the trip.
These trips are geared for those paddling Sea Kayaks and Touring Kayaks. They are generally held on lakes, quietly flowing rivers, and coastal bays and estuaries. Click here for the sea kayak guidelines (trip classification).
These trips are a wonderful opportunity to get out and see the natural surrounds and some of the most beautiful scenery that New England has to offer. Often bald eagles, osprey, kingfishers, mergansers, loons, and other waterfowl are seen. Several of our trip leaders are experts or enthusiastic amateurs in ecology, birding, or nature viewing.
Generally you will want to bring a lunch, as there will be a stop at scenic place to enjoy lunch, relax and chat. These trips are all designed to be fun and give you a great time.
Trips will be listed as introductory, beginner, intermediate, or advanced so that the interested paddler can judge their interest. When in doubt, the trip leader would be glad to discuss the appropriateness of the trip for you.
Since sea kayaks and touring kayaks are inherently so much faster than canoes, it is usually inappropriate for canoes to come on such trips, as they will not be able to keep up, even when the kayaks are paddling at a leisurely pace.
Some trips may be advanced trips in which participation will be limited to sea kayaks due to the pace of the paddling or expected potential sea conditions.
Before coming on any but an introductory trip, the paddler should be comfortable doing a wet exit and remount in the kayak they will be paddling. Numerous training sessions are available for such skill building.
Although most trips are day trips, the group also organizes long distance overnight trips. We have stayed in rustic log cabins, ski club lodges, and campgrounds. We have even camped out in people's living rooms. Weekend trips are usually accompanied by well-catered dinners. These trips are usually free except for the accommodations fee (if any) and sharing the cost of the food.
Overnight trips often include a weekend on the Class II section of the White River (accommodations in a nearby ski lodge), and we frequently camp over Memorial Day weekend in northern New Hampshire.
One very special overnight trip a few years ago was during the spring release of the West River in Vermont. The West is a fast yet forgiving river, with few rocks. A dam release twice a year brings paddlers from all over New England. On this year, 18 people paddled on Saturday. Eleven paddlers and their families camped overnight in a free nearby campground. One of the paddlers played her guitar while others built a campfire, gathered marshmallow sticks, and helped with supper. The trip leader brought a pickup truck packed with food. Homemade salsa, mushroom pate, soup, chicken cacciatore with spaghetti, and chocolate fondue were on the evening's menu. The following morning started with homemade pancakes and eggs. We all ate so well it was hard to stay afloat - in fact, many of us didn't! Although the menus may vary from gourmet meals to beef jerky and beans, and from one person catering to everyone sharing in a potluck dinner, the overnight stays are always fun. They are a great place to socialize, get to know your fellow paddlers, and share your best paddling stories.