Name of Waterfall

Rumford Falls


Rumford Falls is located at the south end of the town of Rumford, and is visible adjacent to US Highway 2. Views of the falls are afforded from J. Eugene Boivin Park, which is found immediately adjacent to the junction of Highway 2 and State Route 108.Prior to being harnessed for hydroelectric production, Rumford Falls was likely the largest and most powerful waterfall in New England. The Androscoggin River cascades down a steep chute, dropping 60 feet in a run of about 250 linear feet. Just upstream from the falls a 37-foot tall dam diverts most of the river into an adjacent powerhouse. To protect the powerhouse from the river when it exceeds the capacity of the generating station, a retaining wall was constructed along the west side of the falls. This suggests that prior to the dam and powerhouse being built, the falls were considerably wider than they currently appear – perhaps as much as 350 feet in width at one time.
The current power station and associated dams at Rumford Falls have been in operation since 1918, and divert the majority of the river away from the falls for the majority of the year. It’s not clear whether there is a minimum volume of water which is required to flow over the falls, but the upper power station at the falls has a capacity of 4,500 cubic feet per second, which is greater than the average monthly discharge of the river for 10 months out of the year. Day to day volume can of course vary considerably, so the best way to determine whether the falls are actually running is to consult the USGS stream gauge downstream from the falls.
The Androscoggin River drains an area of approximately 2,050 square miles upstream from Rumford Falls, which were it not for the diversion would ensure the falls would have an ample and powerful flow throughout the year. However as the vast majority of the river is diverted into the powerhouse, the falls only flow with force reliably in April and May during the spring freshet. However looking at the records from the river gauge downstream from the falls, the river does regularly exceed the capacity of the diversion system for periods of several days at a time following heavy precipitation, and this can occur at any time of the year.The upper part of Rumford Falls was at one time known as Knapps Pitch. Whether this name referred to the entirety of Rumford Falls in contrast the Lower Rumford Falls which is found about one-quarter mile further downstream, or whether it referred to just the upper part of this waterfall specifically (in which case, it may have been destroyed by the construction of the dam) is not clear. The falls were also known as Pennacook Falls in the past, but this name is no longer in use.

Other Names

['Pennacook Falls']



IWC Rating (International Waterfall Classification)


Total Height (ft)


Tallest Drop


Number of Drops


Average Width


Average High Volume (Cubic ft per second)

3,270 cfs

Average Low Volume (Cubic ft per second)

0 cfs


40 degrees

Run (ft)


Watershed or Feeder Stream

Androscoggin River Androscoggin River