Deerfield - 4) Bear Swamp to Zoar Gap (Fife Brook Section)


Deerfield, Massachusetts, US

Disclaimer

4) Bear Swamp to Zoar Gap (Fife Brook Section)

Usual Difficulty II(III) (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 25 fpm

Zoar Gap


Zoar Gap
Photo by Shawn Sullivan @ ~1100 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
DEERFIELD RIVER AT CHARLEMONT, MA
usgs-01168500 700 - 1500 cfs II(III) 01h01m 1520 cfs (too high)


River Description

The Fife Brook section of the Deerfield River is a popular Class II run in Northwestern Massachussetts. The Fife Brook section ends with the Class III "Zoar Gap" rapid, that can be easily walked on river right.


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2012-06-11 23:43:59

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put inPutin Photo
0.1Hangover HelperIIPhoto
1.0Carbis BendIIPhoto
1.5Freight TrainIIPhoto
2.3PinballII
4.8Zoar GapIII+Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Put in

Fife Brook dam

Fife Brook dam
Photo by Mark L taken 07/27/03 @ 1000 cfs

You can put in near the dam at the end of the road were there is a stairway leading down to the river, or skip the warm up and put in at the vehicle turnaround .1 miles downstream.

Hangover Helper (Class II, Mile 0.1)

Hangover Helper

Hangover Helper
Photo by Mark L taken 07/27/03 @ 1000 cfs

Easy straightforward rapid. There is a large pool at the bottom to recover equipment.

Carbis Bend (Class II, Mile 1.0)

Carbis Bend

Carbis Bend
Photo by Mark Lacroix taken 07/29/06 @ 700 cfs

Good surfing at the bottom of the drop. Large eddy and rock beach downstream on river left.

Freight Train (Class II, Mile 1.5)

Surfing at Freight Train

Surfing at Freight Train
Photo of Heidi by Mark Lacroix taken 07/29/06 @ 700 cfs

Nice surfing waves, good squirt lines at the bottom under the railroad bridge.

Pinball (Class II, Mile 2.3)
Also known as Rock Garden. Medium size boulders in this long rapid are great for eddy practice.

Zoar Gap (Class III+, Mile 4.8)

Zoar Gap

Zoar Gap
Photo of Sharon Lacroix by Mark L taken 07/27/03 @ 1000 cfs

This rapid changed a little during a flood in 2001 therefore it is a little more difficult than it used to be. It is at least 1to 2 classes more difficult than anything else a paddler has encountered so far on this river section so most boaters chose to walk around this rapid on river right. To recognize the entrance to Zoar Gap look for the second concrete road embankment on river right. The first one is shortly after the "Island" (take the left channel). The second road view is further downstream. Look for a well used pull out on river right usually marked with streamers or something else in the trees. The drop is short but filled with rocks and holes making a straight run through difficult without flipping. To get an idea of the best ways through the “Gap” check out David Bucas’s Zoar Gap routes.


User Comments


2004-08-03 10:59:11 (3735 days ago)
Brad RobertsDetails
Fife brook is just about a perfect beginner stream. A nice splashy class 2 rapid at the top. Then
pool drop class two until you get to the zoar gap rapid, a nice solid textbook class three. From
the road the run looks like its nothing but flatwater, but I was pleastantly surprised. The current
moves fast and there is quite a bit of class 2 play the whole way down. Once again, great for a
beginner to practice ferry's, surfing and peel outs. With the big rapid in sight of the takeout,
makes for a great way to cap off the run!!
The water is pretty chilly as a result of the damn release. We were wearing long sleave tops in
August.
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Events

Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

October 2013

S M T W T F S
29
30
1
2
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

3
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

4
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

5
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

6
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

7
8
9
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

10
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

11
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

12
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

13
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases
09:30 am -12:00 am est
700 cfs

14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
1
2

Events
Deerfield, Zoar Gap/Fife Brook Releases Fife Brook,MA runs 07/29/05 - 10/13/13
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Associated Projects

  • Deerfield River (MA)
    The Deerfield was one of American Whitewater's first FERC relicensing victory's and remains one of the most impressive and valuable to the paddling community.