South Branch Dead River, Maine

OK, I’ve tried a local message board with mixed results, so I figured I’d try here.

A group of us New Englanders are going to try to run the South Branch Dead River from Dallas Bridge to Flagstaff Lake(a section of the NFCT). The AMC guide is the best info I can find, and it is still pretty general. I’ve Google Earth-scouted the whole river, and am pretty confident that most of this is pretty doable, with some intermittent Class III rapids that should be easily handled. Has anyone paddled this that can give me a good description?

There is one gorge (some maps show this as “Fansanger Falls”) near the beginning of the run that is reputed to contain 4 ledge drops amongst the rapids. I’m particularly interested in knowing whether these are near-vertical ledges (and what height?) or if they are just steep drops. And whether they are easily lined if necessary.

We’re going to try to scout this when we run it in the beginning of May. Any info that anyone can provide is appreciated. If you know nothing, that is OK. Evidently hardly anyone in the paddling world has paddled it. Thanks!


There is a portage trail
so if you cant run or scout you can at least get around them…

Yup, I know about the portage trail
But it is a 1.3 mile portage to avoid what appears to be 1300 to 1500 feet of “nasties” that, in my whitewater boat, I would normally consider to be fun. The thing is, the rest of the river looks to be unsuited to a short fat boat.

Unless you think there may be smaller trails to the site that could get around the ledges, without the need for climbing ropes and equipment, that is.