Penobscot River Soft Adventure Trips

Children line up for whitewater rafting

Families, first-timers and kids enjoy our whitewater rafting trips.

Our soft adventure trips take place on the West Branch of the Penobscot River and are perfect for first timers or those who desire a whitewater experience but are unsure if they are ready for the challenge of Class IV & V rapids. The entire day on a family float trip is more relaxed and flexible than the regular, Class V whitewater adventure on the Penobscot.

Minimum Group Size: 8 (Fewer people may participate, but price is based on 8 guests)

Recommended Minimum Age: 8 years



Soft Adventure Trip Rates

Trip Adults Children †
Soft Adventure Trip $99 $69
(All prices are per person)

† Children: Ages 15 and under

Photos and Video are not included in this package, but can be added through prior arrangement. It is a wonderful way to remember your trip and share the excitement with friends and family.

Mt. Katahdin scenery on Whitewater rafting trip

Enjoy the beauty and wilderness of the Penobscot River .

Here’s how it works…

We meet for check-in at 8:00 a.m. Gear is distributed, a safety orientation and training session is delivered, and we hop on the bus for the 20 minute ride to our put-in spot above Nesowadnehunk Falls. Once on the river we practice our paddling skills and then scout our first drop – Nesowadnehunk Falls. This is an educational time when guides explain the river morphology and hydraulics that enter into the “challenge” of the rapid. Then the techniques that the guide plans to use in maneuvering the rapid are explained. Sometimes we get to see other paddlers complete the rapid while we are scouting.

Less than a mile down the river from Nesowadnehunk Falls is Nesowadnehunk Stream with crystal clear water, a sandy beach, and a natural water slide. Again, you may play here as long as you like.

Another couple miles downstream we arrive at our lunch site where you guide will prepare a riverside barbecue on an open fire. This is a time to relax, use a traditional Maine outhouse, and build energy for the afternoon.

After lunch we travel the Abol Deadwater where wildlife is often spied, guests engage in water fights, and there are opportunities to swim. The afternoon ends with three outstanding rapids separated by short stretches of calm water. The last rapid of the day, Big Pockwockamus, is nearly always scouted. While it is not particularly difficult to maneuver, it is a beautiful stretch of whitewater that should be viewed both from shore and from the middle of the maelstrom of waves, holes, and crests. For the most adventuresome, guides allow guests to jump out at the end of the rapid and swim through the final wave train. It’s a real rush!

The take out is less than a mile after Big Pockwockamus. Vault privies are available here and while there are not changing rooms, many guests toss on some dry clothing before hopping on the bus. From there the ride back to base takes about 30 minutes.

Penobscot River “Family Float” Trips:

This is the perfect white water rafting trip for ages 4 to 104! As part of our commitment to family adventure, the New England Outdoor Center has specially designed this river trip for visitors who want to be on the water but aren’t ready to take on the rapids. It is an introduction to the beauty and wilderness of the Penobscot River as well as a playful excursion for the whole family.

Guests will spend the day on the river, swimming, floating, paddling and playing. We can even show you how to use our individual inflatable kayaks as we travel together from below Nesowadnehunk Falls to Abol Bridge. Along the way, we will visit natural water slide, take a short hike, and learn about the river’s natural and cultural history. We will provide a riverside lunch so you can leave your worries behind and just enjoy the scenery, wildlife and each other. The personal attention from our family friendly Maine guides will ensure an unforgettable, safe rafting experience that everyone, of all abilities and ages will enjoy.

Class: I floating/light paddling, no whitewater, sit-on-top inflatable kayaks, swimming

Minimum Age: This is a custom trip on the Lower Penobscot River – Family Float Trips (ages 4 and up)

Kennebec River | Penobscot River | Dead River | Soft Adventure and Family Float Trip