Fun little river right on the edge of suburbia that runs well during wet seasons that fill up the upstream reservoirs.
Gauge is just above the start of this section and very accurate. As the river has lots of similar sized boulders it goes very quickly from fun to scrapy to unrunnable.
Except for the dams I’d keep it at 2-2+. Lots of nearly continuous rapids and the water – straight out of a reservoir - is clear and cold.
Normal launch is literally under 23 on the off ramp from 23 south (east) to Hamburg Turnpike. There are parking spots on the left side. Carry over the guard rail.
There’s a mile plus of river above here but no clearly legal parking with an acceptable carry to the launch.
Obviously you could have wood at any point, but an island about 100 yards below the first bridge (Hamburg Turnpike) is usually a problem.
There are three dams in the way.
Dam 1 at Waterfall Court apartment complex is boofable and not a bad portage on left with a sneak route at high water on left. Easily scouted during the shuttle as well.
The deadly middle dam on Main street in Butler has retaining walls that limit access and a bad recirc. Scout on the shuttle as you don’t want to miss this…it’s about a 5’ drop. On river right about 30’ above the drop is a spot to pull out and scramble up through a small gate. If you do decide to run there’s a hard edge below the waterline past the edge of the eddy on river right. At high water this is a true killer low head as the sides start to recirc in and there’s no good access for safety. (It was running about 1500cfs when Kamikaze Ken was killed).
#3 at 2nd Street in Butler portaged on right (there's ceramic pipes in the spillway).
Since the 3 dams are close together, we’ve parked at Waterfall Court to run the upper part and by Second street by the senior center for the lower if you want a shorter run or don’t mind splitting the run up.
Popular pullout is out Appelt Park on Hamburg Turnpike (694) just north of I-87…Below that it spreads out into the flat-water and mud of the Pompton.
Written up in Appalachian Waters, W. Burmeiste and Gertler's Garden State Canoeing
Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from TopoZone.
About a 4 foot drop easily portaged on left. Run center right boofing into pool or if right side is clear of wood there's a slide to the right of the boof.
This is the killer. At high water this recircs on the side. About 30' above dam on right is an ok pullout with a scramble up to a wall. Put in on either side (the guys in the body shop on right have been quite friendly).
At low water it is boofable. Obviously your going to one side and on the far right there's a ledge under the water that sticks out about a foot from the wall.
There's also no good way to set up safety as the fence to keep folks out prevent access.
Scout on the shuttle.
At high water when missing the eddy or having trouble getting out would mean death consider leaving a car at waterfall court and boat portaging to the base of this dam or even to the next one at 2nd street.
7 years ago
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bow goes up...
just a guy and his kayak
after a ledge
boulders to boof
a better level
Under Rt. 23
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