Sterling Brook, Vermont, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV(V) (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||140 fpm|
|RANCH BROOK AT RANCH CAMP, NEAR STOWE, VT|
|usgs-04288230||75 - 300 cfs||III-IV(V)||01h06m||5.99 cfs (too low)|
Sterling Brook drains Madonna peak, just north of Stowe, VT. It is a fun creek comprised mainly of class III boogie with a few class IV rapids and two bigger falls at the end, both with lines but consequences, putting the drops in Class V territory.
The takeout is at the first bridge crossing the creek on Sterling Valley road.
You can start all the way up just BELOW the gorge (follow Sterling Valley road up until you see signs for the gorge trails), but generally folks put in about 1/4 mile above the bridge from Moren Loop. You will see a small pull-off and an abandoned old road on the left with a wood fence across it. We have had no issues parking and putting in here.
For good levels the Ranch Camp gauge should be 80 or better when rising, and 100 or better if falling. Remember these recommended levels are for the gauge readings of when you are on the creek so account for travel time if it is falling. This run rises and drops about as quickly as anything in the state.
There is a visual gauge painted on the RL abutment of the bridge below Turtle Back Falls. This bridge is located 1/2 mile up Sterling Valley Road on a side road (labeled Dr Neal road on google maps) coming in on the right.
On this guage:
1 or less is low
2 is medium
3 is medium high
4 and above is high
The great thing about this run is that it can handle a lot of water and actually gets better as it gets higher, but it becomes more continuous.
The nearby runs of the Kenfield and Waterman are quality additions to a day if you have the water and time.
Watch for wood and enjoy!