Esopus Creek - 2) Allaben Portal to Phoenicia

Esopus Creek, New York, US


2) Allaben Portal to Phoenicia

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 3.5 Miles

DEC Wave

DEC Wave
Photo by Fantumboater taken 09/15/05 @ 600 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01362500 5.00 - 8.00 ft II-III 01h51m 3.86 ft (too low)

River Description

The portal in Allaben is where water from the Schoharie Reservoir is piped into the Esopus to transport to the Ashokan Reservoir. About 1/2 mile down from this put-in is a left-hand turn with many trees along the right bank. These trees claimed the life of a private tuber and a kayaker in the summer of 2002. They are easily avoidable but one must be aware of this danger.
The tubing companies and most locals put in at the fishing access near the cemetary that one passes on the way to the portal. From the cemetary access you get right into the first playspot called "Cartwheel Hole" which is a double squirtline separated by a large boulder in the center of the river. Mystery moves have been gotten here by squirt boaters between 5.5 and 6 ft.
From here it's more of a technical class II+ with some surf-on-the-fly waves and squirt-lines always different depending on levels.
At the junction of the woodland valley stream is the class III "Tenderizer" hole (rarely playable but fun to try), the railroad wave (class II surf), and then Railroad Rapid (III) which is the site of the slalom races held here. Many boaters get out here, about 3 miles down from the portal. The next significant rapids occur as you enter Phoenecia.
After the Phoenecia bridge, the third bridge from the put-in, is Elmer's Bend, a class III+ rapid with many different characteristics depending in the level. If you scout on the fly I recommend going right of the predominant boulder in the center, and then either left to right thru the rock garden or straight thru river right and over a little drop. This drop-route is better at higher levels. There is a take-out a little ways below Elmer's, or continue on to the parking area on Rte. 28 near the Catskill Corners Kaleidoscope. Some boaters, especially canoists, may opt to continue another 5 miles to Boiceville although there are considerably more flat sections.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2010-05-16 15:35:40


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0No Name

Rapid Descriptions

No Name
In the fall on 2003 the dep did extensive work at the confluence with woodland valley, redirectin the river away from an eroding bank with a perpetual strainer. As a result, storms which shortly followed removed the popular bridge wave.

User Comments

2012-04-30 11:49:51 (855 days ago)
baldoam (151663)
Scouted on 4/28/12 That railroad track strainer does indeed look bad. It extends all the way across
the main channel under the Rte 28 bridge. Upstream of it is a tree across the same channel. The
alternative channel looked too bony to even run. Recommend next person going out there consider
bringing a chainsaw to clear up the woody things. An acetylene torch or something like that will be
necessary to deal with the metal. Overall ugly looking run; the parts we scouted looked shallow and
bony. The creekbed has been scoured and flattened out compared with pre-Irene levels, and the banks
are covered high with lots and lots of dead wood.

2012-04-12 08:52:20 (873 days ago)
brett gehrkeDetails
Paddled the Esopus 4/10/12. The channel has been a couple hundred yards down from the portal. It
now flows in the old right channel (along the railroad tracks) on the west side of island opposite
the graveyard/angler parking put in. There is a tree on the far end of the channel that blocks the
main part of the flow. Beware! Under the route 28 bridge there is a long and nasty piece of
railroad track that runs across the width of the creek. This strainer has some potentially nasty
consequences. There is a possibility of being pinned. There is a slight drop just before that could
force the nose of your kayak under the track. It happened to my partner. His boat went under and he
forced his way over the top. I was just able to get over the top.

2010-05-15 10:30:08 (1571 days ago)
Larry (151839)
Paddled from the Allaben Portal to Boiceville today, 5/15/10. The reading was 5.7 on the Coldbrook
guage, this was a nice level with plenty of room to maneuver and lots of good sized waves and
holes. There was a river-wide strainer, just a short distance downstream from the Portal. It is
fairly obvious, and it was easy to get out in time to carry around it. However, shortly after
Elmer's Turn, right at The Sleepy Hollow Campground, there was a large (oak?) tree. This very
dangerous strainer can be seen from well upstream, but if you get too close to it on river right,
you will have no chance to avoid it! The tree extends from the right bank to nearly all the way
across. Plan to pass it as far left as possible if there is enough water, otherwise you will have
to walk around it on river left.

2009-05-23 09:33:33 (1928 days ago)
ed clevelandDetails
The tree strainers below the Woodlawn Valley Bridge just before the RT. 28 Bridge have been
cleared, the rootball is on river left.

2009-04-29 07:47:24 (1952 days ago)
x (1)
There Is a VERY dangerous Sieve in the middle of this run that we ecountered with a group of
cornell students this past weekend. the level was around 5.3 and I believe the sieve would be a
hazard anywhere below 6.0 feet and possibly higher. The sieve is located at the top of the rapid
that takes a sharp bend with the cement culvert on the river left hand bank. It is directly in the
center of the river formed by a visible medium sized block shaped rock that at 5.3 was about 10
inches above water and a diagonal triangular rock that is barely visible. In this case a student
was broached against the block rock and pushed into the sieve bow first resulting in a vertical
pin. Luckily at this level the student was able to hop out of the boat, and the boat was removed
with a vector line but barely. a bad entry angle or more water could certainly result in a very bad
situation and I believe with any more water that a boat would not be removed without mechanical
advantage in the form of a z-drag or piggy-back system. BE CAREFUL! I will post pictures soon.

2009-04-28 01:27:14 (1953 days ago)
Matt MuirDetails
(Note: the strainer described in this comment has apparently been removed, per a later comment.) In
addition to the strainer by the railroad rapids(left channel under the bridge), I spotted a second
one during our 4/28/2009 run at 1160cfs. That one is in the middle channel under the bridge right
after Elmer's. It is a dark metal bridge as much as I remember. It looked like a 3 -4 feet long
wave/hole combo and I thought I found a gem to play a bit more but the more I approached I realized
that it was a tree burried under water. I was able to go over it but at lower levels it could be a
hazard. I did not have a chance to go back and scout it in detail. My friends used the river left
channel and had no issues.

2009-04-14 04:58:14 (1967 days ago)
ed clevelandDetails
The strainer that Jon is talking about is just ABOVE Railroad Rapids, right below the downstream
side of the Woodlawn Valley Bridge. It takes up the whole left side to the center column of the

2009-04-14 03:53:35 (1967 days ago)
Jon OllendorfDetails
Strainer located just below Railroad Rapids on 4-12-2009. It crosses most of the creek. To scout
the rapid, go NW on Route 28 from Phoenicia to Woodland Valley Road. Strainer can be seen on left
side of bridge.

2008-11-23 01:09:02 (2109 days ago)
x (1)
As of late 2007 there are a few river-wide logs between the portal and the cemetery access. We've
been able to paddle over them with no difficulty, but the farther upstream you are the more
attention you should devote to logs and strainers. I'd also suggest that a maximum level of 8 feet
on the Cold Brook guage is a bit conservative. Last October we made a high water run and the guage
was at 9.6' (about 6000 cfs) when we passed it. Things were fast and pushy, with lots of very big
waves, but not much more difficult than at more typical levels. Official flood stage is at 11', but
at any high level you should be extra vigilant for new strainers as well as moving logs and

2006-05-08 11:02:11 (3039 days ago)
Eric NiesDetails
5/8/06: Local boaters reported a riverwide strainer near the putin:
"Approximately 1/2 mile downstream from the Portal is large log (strainer) blocking the entire
creek. Two of my friends failed to eddy out above it and flipped. They were washed through but this
is a serious safety hazard for anyone that puts in at the Portal."
Anyone having more info, please add a comment here.
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