Sterling Brook - Stowe

Sterling Brook, Vermont, US



Usual Difficulty III-IV(V) (for normal flows)
Length 2.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 140 fpm

Dave runs Turtleback Falls

Dave runs Turtleback Falls
Photo of Dave P by Scott G taken 05/10/09 @ 160 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04288230 75 - 300 cfs III-IV(V) 00h09m 3.78 cfs (too low)

River Description

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!

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2015-07-13 02:03:45


Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
September 5 2011 (2357 days ago)
Mark LacroixDetails
On August 28th, 2011 Hurricane Irene struck New England. The resulting floods caused extensive
damage throughout the region, the worst in over 100 years. More than half the rivers in Vermont and
northern New Hampshire recorded their highest flow levels ever. Many roads, guardrails, power
lines, bridges, trees and other debris now litter several rivers throughout the region. River beds
have been scoured and changed course, many new strainers make navigation problematic at best and
downright dangerous at worse. Please realize that the river description you see here may not match
current situation after the floods. Use common sense and when in doubt scout especially on blind
drops. Also, if you run this river in the next year or so please comment on its navigability, even
if there are no problems this will be very helpful. Please report any new strainers or changes to
the rapids that will impact future boating. Thank you,

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