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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