Concord River in Lowell

Have a great time white water rafting right in Lowell on the Concord River.

You really can have fun white water rafting in Lowell

This past Sunday morning, my husband and I decided to go white water rafting in Lowell on a trip organized by Zoar Outdoor just about every weekend in April and May. Zoar, an outdoor tours company based in Western Massachusetts, has been organizing several weekly trips through class 3 and 4 rapids along the Concord River in Lowell for the past ten years.

When this idea was first proposed to me, I was at first skeptical there were legitimate rapids right in the heart of Lowell, since I’ve been white water rafting in Colorado. To my surprise, the rapids were really fun, and the trip overall was excellent. It’s really something that shouldn’t be missed.

To begin, we arrived at the new UMass-Lowell Inn and Conference Center (the meeting point) and met the friendly and easy-going Zoar guides/staff. They helped us with the necessary gear (wetsuits, splash jackets, helmets, extra layers for added warmth, etc.). On our trip there were 2 other people, so the four of us went on one boat together with one guide.

The guides gave us detailed information and history about the Concord River and the preservation of the Concord River Greenway, which is a project of the Lowell Parks and Conservation Trust. I was very impressed with the knowledge and experience of the guides. Additionally, while one guide paddled with us throughout the ride, the other guide stayed back to drive the van and take pictures of our boat throughout the ride.

After the first ride down the river, we pulled over to the shore and the van met us with our boat and quickly drove us back again to the starting point. On the second ride down, however, we got to go through the historic locks of the Concord that were built in the 1850’s. Our tour ended by paddling to the middle of the locks near Middlesex Community College and being raised slowly by the water to street level. It was quite a unique and memorable experience. To top it off, it was all photographed and we were able to purchase a CD with the pictures before we went home.

The trip lasts about 2.5 hours and entails rafting on the river twice. There were approximately 4 rapids that we went on spread out in between stretches of calmer waters. The rapids were just as good as any other New England white water rapid trips I’ve been on in the past, and we had the added benefit of being conveniently located only 30 minutes from Boston and 30 minutes from Southern New Hampshire.

Zoar Outdoor runs trips down the river starting at 9am and 1pm Saturdays and Sundays. With advanced notice, trips can be scheduled at other times throughout the week (great idea for field trips or corporate team building). Due to the water levels of the Concord, this great opportunity is only available throughout April and May. In general, Zoar can run up to 4 rafting boats per trip, each with 4-7 passengers.  The guides did mention that with more notice, they would be able to accommodate larger groups. For example, schools and local companies could plan special trips and use more than 4 rafting boats.

White water rafting in Lowell is a lot of fun, and if you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

For more information about the trip, to sign up, or to check availability, visit the Zoar Outdoor website.