Hoosic - Schaghticoke Dam to Powerhouse

Hoosic, New York, US


Schaghticoke Dam to Powerhouse (Schaghticoke Gorge)

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 75 fpm
Max Gradient 200 fpm

Schaghticoke Gorge, Hoosic River

Schaghticoke Gorge, Hoosic River
Photo of John Gangemi on the big drop by Stephen Brabetz taken 05/31/03 @ 800 or 1200

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01334500 1200 - 4000 cfs V 01h23m 3560 cfs (running)

River Description

Flow Study Completed! American Whitewater at Work!
Scouting the Upper Gorge (and portaging around it)
Conduct at Put-in and Take-out
Whitewater Releases

Overview: The Schaghticoke Gorge is a beautiful gorge that had not been commonly run before the flow study described below. There is a dam in the town of Schaghticoke that normally diverts the flow of the Hoosic river around the gorge to generate electricity. The gorge drops about 150 feet in total, but most of that gradient (100 feet including the dam) comes in the first 4/10 mile. In addition to the dam, there are 2 major drops. One is under the Rte 40/67 bridge. (See photo below: "Under the Bridge") The other major drop is the one shown above with John Gangemi running the river right channel. (See also photo: "Big Drop") There are two sets of nice rapids below the Big Drop until the river empties out into the Big Eddy. The section down to Big Eddy is referred to as the Upper Gorge. After Big Eddy, Class 2/3 rapids take you all the way down to the takeout at the powerhouse. This section is referred to as the Lower Gorge. Caution: Most of the rocks are sharp slate.

Flow Study Completed! American Whitewater at work!!! On June 10 & 11, 2003, a flow study was conducted by American Whitewater with the cooperation of Reliant Energy. Participants included members of the American Whitewater and the Adirondack Mountain Club as well as open boat paddling legend Jim Michaud. John Gangemi did a fantastic job organizing the event. He coordinated getting John Duncan and Jason from Sacandaga Outdoor Center to participate, and they were critical to the success of the flow study by providing shuttle transportation with their van and trailer. (Not to mention that Jason really helped me out by fishing me out of the whirlpool.) Thanks to Aaron for participating despite the last-second notice. (Sorry about the pieces of shale in your boat, Colleen!) Without the success of this flow study, we could not have demonstrated the whitewater potential of the gorge, and Reliant Energy probably would not have had to have any releases scheduled at all. Water was released into the gorge from the gate on the far river left end of the dam. Over the two days, four flow levels were investigated. Because of the location of the release, the rapids under the bridge (see photo) were not availble. Until this flow study, it was not known what the exact potential for whitewater recreation was. As a result of the flow study, we know that the Hoosic Gorge is a fantastic whitewater resource! Every drop was run. Only one line on Big Drop was run, but it was run by several people. One of the rapids got a terrific name: "What About Bob?" Everyone had fun, and there were only a couple of swims.

Directions to Schaghticoke:

Directions are described in relation to the Rte 40/67 bridge over the Schaghticoke Gorge in Schaghticoke. Take I-87 (Adirondack Northway) to Exit 9. Head east on Rte 146 to Mechanicville. In Mechanicville, take Rte. 67 east across the Hudson river and stay on Rte 67 until you reach Schaghticoke.
Scouting the Upper Gorge (and portaging around it): See Steve Brabetz's Schaghticoke Gorge site for pictures of the gorge at low flow to get an idea of the hidden hazards in this stream bed. A carriage road runs along the upper gorge on river right down to Big Eddy. The best scouting of the major drops is from the bridge and along this carriage road. To find the Carriage Road drive to downtown Schaghticoke. Park on side streets--not the main drag. The Carriage Road is located down an alley way between two residences. These folks view this as private property. However, this Carriage Road is Utility Company land and the Settlement Agreement allows for public access. Do Not Park in this Alley or turn around in it. You can follow the Carriage Road all the way to Big Eddy. For those wishing to portage the upper gorge, Big Eddy is the put-in. Numerous social trails from the Carriage road provide good scouting vantage points of the river.
Conduct at put-in and take-out: There is limited parking in the town of Schaghticoke and at the take-out. In Schaghticoke try to park on a side street out of respect for the locals--we want to cultivate a positive relationship with the local community. That positive relationship starts with you.
Put-in gps coords (see below) refer to the fishing access near the railroad tracks. The put-in has changed for releases. There is a carriage trail which runs down the river right side of the gorge. You can get to carriage trail by taking your first right after crossing the bridge heading north. Street parking is available. There is an alley way across from the bar. Carry your boat to the down the alley. Just under the bridge there is a steep trail to carry your boat down to the drop under the bridge. During releases, start there. To get to the put-in for the Class III section at Big Eddy, continue to carry down the carriage trail until you get to the river. Great views of the upper part of the gorge are available along this portage.
Take-out GPS coords (see below) refer to the powerhouse at the end of the gorge. From the gorge bridge, head SW again, and take a right on Chestnut Street. Keep bearing left to wind your way down to river level. Proceed along at river level to cross the Hoosic to get to the powerhouse. The two land-owners on this road to the take-out did not want to grant the public easement during the relicense process. The Federal Power Act requires public access to the project. Rather than force the issue legally we reached a settlement agreement whereby parking is limited to 5 vehicles. The objective of limited parking is to reduce traffic on the road to the powerhouse. Boaters need to be conscientious and respectful of this desire of the local landowners on this road. Coordinate shuttles with other boaters. Overflow parking is available at the Church on Chestnut street. Drive 20 mph or less on this road--speed limits in excess of this will jeopardize relations with these land-owners and potentially future releases. Be sure to educate other boaters that may not have read this web page or are slow to learn that their actions affect perceptions of the sport in general.
Whitewater Release Schedule: American Whitewater negotiated five whitewater releases in the relicense process. These releases started in spring 2004. For the first three years there was one whitewater release annually starting the first Wednesday evening (5 PM to 8 PM) after April 15th. In year four additional releases will be added (up to five total) provided twenty-five or more boaters attended each release in the year prior. In the event that ten or fewer boaters attend a release one release will be subtracted from the annual total. Upon two or more releases the schedule will alternate between Wednesday evening (5-8 PM) and Saturday (1-4 PM). This schedule may be adjusted in year five depending on participant preference for weekday or weekend releases.
Release Levels: Proposed Language from American Whitewater Comments on the Hoosic River Project, FERC No. 2616:
"Licensee shall make a whitewater release into the Schaghticoke bypass from the dam provided inflow to the Johnsonville reservoir is >638 cfs (this is using 1.254 as the multiplier) on the first Wednesday after April 15. In 2010, it is anticipated that the release will take place on April 21. If inflow to the Johnsonville reservoir is >1278 cfs (this is using 1.254 as the multiplier) then the Licensee can resume power generation with the excess water provided 1600 cfs remains in the bypass channel. If inflow to the Johnsonville reservoir is < 638 cfs (this is using 1.254 as the multiplier) then the whitewater release will be postponed until the following Wednesday. If inflows sufficient to trigger a whitewater release are not achieved by November 30th of that year then the Licensee has no obligation to fulfill this license condition for that calendar year. Wednesday releases will start at 5:00 PM."
Use extreme caution! Scout carefully during the releases!


Capital Region Area Reaches

Basic Creek                                    Batten Kill                                         Claverack Creek 

Cobleskill Creek                             Fox Creek                                         Hannacrois Creek 

Hoosic                                            Hudson (Lock 2)                               Kinderhook Creek  (1.) 

Kinderhook Creek  (2.)                   Kinderhook Creek  (3.)                      Kline Kill 

Normans Kill (1.)                            Normans Kill (2.)                                North Chuctanunda Creek 

Mohawk (Upper Cohoes Wave)     Mohawk (Cohoes Wave)                   Poesten Kill (0.) 

Poesten Kill (1.)                             Poesten Kill (2.)                                 Quacken Kill  

Schoharie Creek                            Stony Kill                                           Wyant's Kill 


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-21 15:27:40


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Map of GorgePhoto
0.2DamPortage Photo
0.3Under the BridgeIVWaterfall
0.3big drop (video)5.0Waterfall Video
0.4The Big Drop5.0Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.5What About Bob?IV
0.6Lower GorgeIIITakeout Access Playspot
0.6Big Eddy

Rapid Descriptions

Map of Gorge

Schaghticoke Gorge Map

Schaghticoke Gorge Map
Photo of map of gorge by brabetz


Under the Bridge

Under the Bridge
Photo of Under the Rte. 67 Bridge by Lara Storm taken 03/28/03

The dam is just upstream of the rte 67 bridge.

Under the Bridge (Class IV, Mile 0.3)

See photo above. This rapid was not run as part of the flow study, but it has several runnable routes. The easist route is probably the middle route to the river right side of the bridge pylon. The river right route has a pothole which has the potential of breaking at least a paddle.

Latitude/longitude coordinates of the rapids are approximate, from Google Maps terrain and satellite views.

big drop (video) (Class 5.0, Mile 0.3)
Click Here For Video

The Big Drop (Class 5.0, Mile 0.4)

Big Drop

Big Drop
Photo of Big Drop by Lara Storm taken 03/28/03

Immdiately downstream of the bridge is large island toward the river right. It is best to take the right channel and eddy out on the downstream end of the island to take a look at the Big Drop. At all but the highest flows you can scout and portage from the island. Make sure that you scout this from the carriage road (see: Scouting the Upper Gorge, above) to make sure that a portage is an option. The right channel route of Big Drop does not have a pool beneath it, but it is not a straight vertical drop. At higher water flows the landing is cushioned enough. At low flows, the landing will be too hard to attempt.

Latitude/ longitude coordinates for the rapids are approximate, from Google Maps satellite and terrain views.

unnamed (Class III+, Mile 0.4)
Immediately downstream of the Big Drop there is another drop. There are at least 3 routes. Far river left is easy but it is only safe at higer flows: Scout closely from up close! There is a nasty sharp rock at face level sticking in the extremely narrow channel. The center channel is the most fun at moderate to high levels, but be sure to scout that also, especially at lower levels. The far right channel seems to be runnable at all levels. It is only way to go at extremely low levels. Beware of hole that may form here at higher levels. You can see how close this drop is to the Big Drop in the above photo.

What About Bob? (Class IV, Mile 0.5)

What About Bob? is named after Bob Mackie. The beginning of the rapid is soon after the above unnamed rapid, but the tail end of the rapid can best be seen from the Big Eddy at the end of the carriage road. During the flow study we scouted and saw that, while runnable, the channel to the far river right is much more challenging than the center channel. Bob had decided to try to avoid the right channel. The problem is just above the rock that divides the river into those two channels is a funnel feature that really picks up speed through the rapid. Bob tried to make his way back to the left after the funnel, but failed. He was forced into the running the right channel. He disappeared from sight to all the others at the eddy above the funnel. Things went OK for him. I think he swam, but he wasn't the only one who swam at "What about Bob?" (I think I managed to stay in my boat until I washed into the Big Eddy before I swam.)

Lower Gorge (Class III, Mile 0.6)
For now, I'll describe the entire lower gorge here. After the Big Eddy, there is a nice little hole on river left(depending on the level) for playing in. Class 2 riffles take you down to where the water tube crosses the river. There is a nice boulder field with many options for ferrying back and forth. Toward the end of the boulder field are a couple eddies on the left side deep enough for stern squirting. Watch for the wrecked car in the river. Can you identify its make and model? Aaron and I did. As the powerhouse bridge comes into view, there are a couple of nice play spots above the bridge. Class 2 down to the powerhouse take-out.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 6 2015 (723 days ago)
schlec3 (155907)
Due to recent construction on the bridge, the rapid below the bridge is no longer runnable. They
dammed up above the normal line and the rest of the river flows right through lots of metal.
Because there is a significant amount of construction at the bridge, any attempt to put in above
the big drop will likely involve trespassing.
April 14 2010 (2541 days ago)
Stephen BrabetzDetails
2010 Release: We're aiming for the Wed of April 21. (If not possible, release will be postponed
until each next Wednesday until flows permit.) But we're shooting for the 21st if at all possible.
April 18 2006 (3998 days ago)
Kevin ColburnDetails
As anyone who's been watching the Eagle Bridge gage might have guessed (flow was a paltry 685 cfs
this morning), tomorrow's whitewater release at the Hoosic River Project is officially postponed.
We'll try again for approximately 1,200 cfs in the Schaghticoke bypass next Wednesday, April 26
from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
March 13 2006 (4034 days ago)
Kevin ColburnDetails
This year's (2006) release at the Schaghticoke Development of the Hoosic River Project will occur
on April 19th.

Erie is currently shooting for a flow of 1,200 cfs in the Schaghticoke bypass reach on Wednesday,
April 19th from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The release is contingent on weather and river conditions and will
be postponed for 7 calendar days (to the following Wednesday) if necessary.

For now please mark your calendars for the 19th, and, as the release date gets closer, Erie will be
in contact with American Whitewater on a regular basis to communicate river conditions and provide
additional details about the release.

We'll Keep You Posted!

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Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

April 2011

Hoosic River release
1:00 pm -4:00 pm est
1600-900 cfs


Hoosic River release Hoosic,NY runs 04/21/04 - 04/16/11
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