River Bagging The New Hampshire 73

By Justin Chase

New Hampshire is home to some of the most beautiful waterways in the world. With mountain backdrops, protected wilderness shorelines, and classic New England covered bridges, they afford world-class adventures for paddlers of all kinds. From rushing whitewater to sleepy streams, New Hampshire has it all, including 73 fourth order (or higher) waterways. Therefore, I propose the following challenge: River Bagging the New Hampshire 73 (NH73).

The New Hampshire 73

The New Hampshire 73 (Click for Interactive Map)

Stream order hierarchy refers to the size of perennial rivers by noting their number of collective tributaries. The image below (retrieved from the University of New Hampshire Extension) explains the process of ordering waterways based on upstream confluence.

An Explanation of Stream Order

An Explanation of Stream Order

River order is measured from 1-12, with 4th being the first of the medium sized streams and 12th being the largest rivers. Orders 4-12 include all substantial waterways.

The alphabetical list below includes every stream and river for the NH73 and was arranged by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services as part of its general database.

The New Hampshire 73


Beginning of Fourth Order or Higher Segment

End of Fourth Order or Higher Segment

1. Ammonoosuc River Juncture of Crawford Brook in Carroll Juncture of Connecticut River
2. Androscoggin River Juncture of Magalloway River at Lake Umbagog Maine Border
3. Ashuelot River Juncture of Grassy Brook in Marlow Juncture of Connecticut River
4. Baboosic Brook Juncture of Riddle Brook in Merrimack Juncture of Souhegan River
5. Baker River Juncture of Ore Hill Brook in Warren Juncture of Pemigewasset River
6. Bean River Juncture of North Outlet of Pawtuckaway Pond in Nottingham Juncture of North River in Nottingham
7. Bearcamp River Juncture of Atwood Brook in Sandwich Inlet of Ossipee Lake
8. Beards Brook Juncture of Shedd Brook in Hillsborough Juncture of Contoocook River
9. Beaver Brook Juncture of Golden Brook in Pelham Massachusetts Border
10. Bellamy River Outlet of Bellamy Reservoir in Madbury Tidal Limit in Dover
11. Blackwater River Juncture of Frazier Brook in Andover Juncture of Contoocook River
12. Cocheco River Juncture of Isinglass River in Rochester Tidal Limit in Dover
13. Cohas Brook Juncture of Outlet of Massabesic Lake in Manchester Juncture of Merrimack River
14. Cold River Juncture of Warren Brook in Alstead Juncture of Connecticut River
15. Connecticut River Outlet of Second Connecticut Lake in Pittsburg Massachusetts Border
16. Contoocook River
Note:The 1992 list placed the beginning of fourth order status at “Juncture of Town Farm Brook east of Jaffrey/Peterborough line.”
Juncture of outlet of Mountain Brook Reservoir, Jaffrey Juncture of Merrimack River
17. Dead Diamond River Juncture of East & West Branches in Atkinson & Gilmanton Grant Juncture of Magalloway River
18. East Branch Dead Diamond River Juncture of Middle Branch in Atkinson & Gilmanton Grant Juncture of Dead Diamond River
19. East Branch Pemigewasset River Juncture of Carrigain Branch & northeast Tributary in Stillwater (Lincoln) Juncture of Pemigewasset River
20. Exeter River Juncture of Great Brook in Exeter Tidal Limit in Exeter
21. Fowler River Juncture of Bog Brook in Alexandria Inlet of Newfound Lake
22. Frazier Brook Juncture of Kimpton Brook (Outlet of Eagle Pond) in Wilmot Juncture of Blackwater River
23. Gale River Juncture of Ham Branch in Franconia Juncture of Ammonoosuc River
24. Isinglass River Juncture of Nippo Brook in Barrington Juncture of Cocheco River
25. Israel River Juncture of Mill Brook in Jefferson Juncture of Connecticut River
26. Lamprey River Juncture of North Branch River in Raymond Tidal Limit in Newmarket
27. Little Massabesic Brook Juncture of Hook & Preston Brooks (Above Little Massabesic Lake) in Auburn Juncture of Sucker Brook
28. Magalloway River
Note: The 1992 list showed the Little River of Atkinson/Plaistow as #28. All subsequent river numberings in the current list have been reduced by one.
Maine Border with Second College Grant Inlet of Lake Umbagog
29. Mascoma River Juncture of Indian River in Canaan Juncture of Connecticut River
30. Merrimack River Juncture of Pemigewasset & Winnipesaukee Rivers in Franklin Massachusetts Border
31. Mink Brook Juncture of Unnamed Tributary from north in Etna (Hanover) below Ruddsboro Road Juncture of Connecticut River
32. Mirey Brook Juncture of Roaring Brook in Winchester Juncture of Ashuelot River
33. Mohawk River Juncture of Hix Brook in Kidderville (Colebrook) Juncture of Connecticut River
34. Moose Brook Juncture of Perkins Brook in Gorham Juncture of Androscoggin River
35. Moosilauke Brook Juncture of Jackman Brook & Lost River in Woodstock Juncture of Pemigewasset River
36. Nashua River Massachusetts Border with Hollis Juncture of Merrimack River
37. Newfound River Outlet of Newfound Lake in Bristol Juncture of Pemigewasset River
38. Nissitissit River Outlet of Potanipo Pond in Brookline Massachusetts Border
39. North River Juncture of Bean River in Nottingham Juncture of Lamprey River
40. North Branch [Contoocook River] Juncture of Outlets of Island Pond & Robb Reservoir (Bailey Brook) in Stoddard Juncture of Beards Brook
41. North Branch Sugar River Juncture of Sawyer & Stocker Brooks in Grantham Juncture of Sugar River
42. Nubanusit Brook Outlet of MacDowell Reservoir in Peterborough Juncture of Contoocook River
43. Ossipee River Outlet of Berry Bay in Effingham Falls Maine Border
44. Outlet of Massabesic Lake Outlet of Massabesic Lake in Manchester Juncture of Cohas Brook
45. Partridge Brook Juncture of Glebe Brook in Westmoreland Juncture of Connecticut River
46. Peabody River Juncture of West Branch in Green’s Grant Juncture of Androscoggin RIver
47. Pemigewasset River Juncture of Harvard Brook in Lincoln Juncture of Merrimack River
48. Pequawket Brook Outlet of Upper Pequawket Pond in Madison Juncture of Swift River
49. Pine River Juncture of Beech River in Ossipee Inlet of Ossipee Lake
50. Piscataquog River Juncture of Dudley Brook in Weare Juncture of Merrimack River
51. Saco River Juncture of Sawyer River in Hart’s Location Maine Border
52. Salmon Falls River Outlet of Milton Pond in Milton Tidal Limit in Rollinsford
53. Smith River Juncture of Smith Brook in Grafton Juncture of Pemigewasset River
54. Soucook River Juncture of Pickard Brook in Loudon Juncture of Merrimack River
55. Souhegan River Juncture of South & West Branches in New Ipswich Juncture of Merrimack River
56. South Branch Ashuelot River Juncture of Nester/Rockwood & Quarry Brooks in Troy Juncture of Ashuelot River
57. South Branch Baker River Juncture of Rocky Brook in Dorchester Juncture of Baker River
58. South Branch Piscataquog River Juncture of Middle Branch in New Boston Juncture of Piscataquog River
59. Spicket River Juncture of Providence Hill Brook & Outlet of Arlington Hill Reservoir in Salem Massachusetts Border
60. Stocker Brook Juncture of Eastman & Bog Brooks in Grantham Juncture of North Branch Sugar River
61. Stony Brook Juncture of Outlet of Wilton Reservoir in Wilton Juncture of Souhegan River
62. Sucker Brook Juncture of Clark Pond & Little Massabesic Brooks in Auburn Village Inlet of Massabesic Lake
63. Sugar River Juncture of Trask Brook in Newport Juncture of Connecticut River
64. Suncook River Outlet of Suncook Lakes in Barnstead Juncture of Merrimack River
65. Swift Diamond River Juncture of Fourmile Brook in Second College Grant Juncture of Dead Diamond River
66. Swift River Juncture of Pequawket Brook in Conway Juncture of Saco River
67. The Branch Juncture of Otter & Minnewawa Brooks in Keene Juncture of Ashuelot River
68. Turkey River Outlet of Little Turkey Pond in Concord Juncture of Merrimack River
69. Upper Ammonoosuc River Juncture of Keenan Brook in Berlin Juncture of Connecticut River
70. Warner River Juncture of West Branch & Outlet of Todd Lake (Andrew Brook) in Bradford Juncture of Contoocook River
71. West Branch Dead Diamond River Juncture of Roby Brook in Pittsburg Juncture of Dead Diamond River
72. Wild River Juncture of Bull Brook in Bean’s Purchase Maine Border
73. Winnipesaukee River Outlet of Paugus Bay, Lake Winnipesaukee in Lakeport (Laconia) Juncture of Merrimack River

Additionally, to best search for safe launch and landing sites, I recommend using Paddling.net’s incredibly awesome interactive map. They do a seriously great job over there.

Paddling.net offers Incredible Online Resources, Including an Interactive Launch/Landing Map. Perfect for Planning the NH73!

Screenshot of Paddling.net’s Interactive Launch & Landing Map

To consider a river bagged, I suggest paddling a reach of each river that is appropriate to your skillset, equipment, and conditions. Rivers change drastically from season to season and year to year, so take care to fully assess conditions before launching. Also, make note to ensure you’re paddling a reach of each river that is indeed fourth order or higher, and enjoy some wicked fun paddling.

See you on the water!

Justin Chase

Justin Chase

Justin Chase is author of the outdoor blog, Outdoors, By Cracky!

Justin’s favorite Kühl gear: Revel 1/4 zip “It’s seriously awesome.”

Follow Justin’s New England journal via Facebook.


Justin "Cracky" Chase is the author of the online journal, Outdoors, By Cracky! Want to get outdoors in New England? Follow him! www.outdoorsbycracky.com