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!
8 years ago
by Mark Lacroix
There are several nearby gauges on streams of very similar nature. The West Branch of the Little River and Ranch Brook are literally both in the next drainage south and thus are very reliable. The current correlation is based on the Ranch Brook gauge, although the West Branch is actually the closer of the two streams. In the future I hope to build a correlation to this gauge instead.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Take Rt 100 north through Stowe, a few miles north from town Rt 100 will curve to the right, at the Firefox restaurant. You want to be on Stagecoach Road which veers off on the left. Follow this up to Sterling Valley Road on your left.
From Rt 15/Morrisville:
Take Rt 100 south, a few miles out of town look for Morristown Corners Road on the right. Take this to Stagecoach Road. Turn left on Stagecoach and follow south to Sterling Valley Road on the right
Simone up high on Sterling Brook
Dave runs Turtleback Falls
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The Vermont Supreme Court decided today that whitewater boaters have the right to paddle on the Green River. The Supreme Court affirmed the decision by the Environmental Division of the Superior Court that required the hydropower project on the Green River in Morrisville to provide three annual scheduled releases. This is a precedent setting decision because it establishes that whitewater boating is a designated and existing use protected under the Clean Water Act, that scheduled releases are necessary to protect that use, and that Vermont ANR failed to meet its burden to show that providing scheduled release would result in a lowering of water quality.
The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.
In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
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