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Running the Cathance
Cathance Map

Cathance River

With its churning whitewater as well as its scenic flatwater sections, the Cathance River has something for everyone. The whitewater portion of the river offers difficult rapids and drops to challenge seasoned paddlers, while the flatwater section is more accessible to families or groups looking for a more relaxing excursion.

The whitewater on the Cathance, between Rt. 201 and the Cathance Rd., is generally only navigable during spring runoff. The rapids are quite challenging, and should be tackled only by experienced paddlers.

The flatwater route travels a scenic few miles from Rt. 201 to Bradley Pond and back. Wildlife is abundant, including herons, beavers, muskrat, and turtles.


To get to the Cathance from Topsham, take Rt. 201 north. After passing the Meadow Rd. on your left, you will approach a bridge over the Cathance in about another quarter mile (a road sign shows the name of the river). Just before the bridge, a rough dirt road runs down to the water on the right. This can be used as a put-in, as well as for parking and as a take-out for the flatwater paddle.

The take-out for the whitewater portion of the river is located at the old Head of Tide mill site on the Cathance Rd. Parking is accessible at the Head of Tide Park, for both lower and upper paddling.

Whitewater Information

The whitewater on the Cathance is difficult creeking, but all of the runs are easily scoutable on the right, and can be carried if necessary. More information can be found at the American Whitewater website here: click.
A gauge is spray-painted on the 295 bridge over the Cathance, just downstream from the 201 put-in. Below 2.5 feet the run is bony, while above 4 feet extreme caution should be used. The river runs best in early spring, from ice-out to late April.