This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V
Length 8 Miles
Flow Range 600 - 1500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 14 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 06/08/2016 1:44 pm

River Description

Canaseraga Creek is known by few, but it is one of the finest whitewater creeks in Western New York. It is a seasonal class IV-V creek south of Rochester that drops a whopping 230 feet over 1.5 miles. Most of this altitude loss occurs over a series of nine stair-step waterfalls that range in total height from 10 feet to 40 feet.

The "meat" of Canaseraga Creek occurs in the first 1.5 miles, deep in the Poags Hole canyon. The creek drops 230 feet over a series of nine stair-step waterfall drops.

The creek has a relatively small watershed, meaning that the window of paddling opportunity is also relatively narrow. It floods periodically during the spring, and the highest recorded flood peak was 11,000 cfs on June 22, 1972. Two inexperienced paddlers lost their lives on Canaseraga Creek in separate incidents in 1999 when they washed into strainers.



Finger Lakes Area Runs


Bowman Creek                        Cascadilla Creek                  Canandaigua Outlet 

Canaseraga Creek                  Canisteo                               Cayuga Lake Hole 

Cayuta Creek                          Conesus Creek                     Fall Creek (1.) 

Fall Creek (2.)                         Fall Creek (3.)                       Great Gully Creek 

Honeoye Creek                       Irondequoit Creek                 Keshequa Creek 

Keuka Outlet                         Lock 32 Whitewater Course    Owasco River (Outlet) 

Salmon Creek                         Sixmile Creek                         Sugar Creek 

Taughannock Creek (1.)         Taughannock Creek (2.)         Trumansburg Creek 

Vanbuskirk Gulf



Western New York Area Reaches

Beaver Meadow Creek                     Canadaway Creek (1.)                                      Canadaway Creek (2.) 

Canaseraga Creek                           Cattaraugus Creek                                           Cattaraugus Creek, S. Branch 

Cazenovia Creek, W. Branch (1.)    Cazenovia Creek, W. Branch (2.)                     Chautauqua Creek 

Clear Creek, N. Br.                           Conesus Creek                                              Eighteenmile Creek 

Eighteenmile Creek, S. Br.                Ellicott Creek                                                    Genesee (Letchworth) 

Honeoye Creek                               Keshequa Creek                                            Little Chautauqua Creek 

Murder Creek                                  Niagara                                                             Oak Orchard Creek 

Oatka Creek                                    Rushford Lake Outlet                                       Sugar Creek 

Twentymile Creek


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group


Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
The putin is located on river left upstream from the Perry Road bridge, approximately 1-1/2 miles northeast of the town of Canaseraga.


Class - III Mile - 0.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
4 feet high

The key to running the first drop is "stay far left." You may scout this falls from the road above the river right bank. The first waterfall drop is a river-wide ledge drop with a powerful recirculation. Boof on far river left into the eddy. This eddy is a good place to collect the group for the next drop, a powerful class IV/V.


Class - IV+ Mile - 0.2
24 feet high

The second fall is actually a series of three 4-foot drops leading into a 13-foot high river-wide vertical drop onto a solid, flat rock slab in very shallow water. Run these drops on far river left, and take the final jarring drop close to the river left bank. Scout from the river right bank.


Class - III Mile - 0.4
6 feet high

The third waterfall drop is located approximately 200 yards beyond the second drop. It is a steep slide into a deep pool. Avoid the recirculation on far river left. You may scout this drop from the river right bank.


Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.9
35 feet high

This waterfall, also known as the Mill Falls, is a series of stair-step ledge drops and waterfalls adjacent to an old, three story mill that is located about one-half mile downstream from Third Falls.

Scout and/or portage around the Mill Falls on river right. At low water (below stage 1.6 feet) you can portage across easy ledges below the mill. At high water (above stage 1.6 feet), you may need to portage around the top of the mill and then across steep tree-covered ledges just downstream from the mill. Ropes may be required, depending upon your comfort level with hauling a boat across steep terrain.

This stair-step cascade is the most difficult drop on Canaseraga Creek. Run far left all the way down. Alternately, portage on river right immediately in front of the mill.


Class - III Mile - 1
10 feet high

The fifth waterfall drop begins 100 feet downstream from the fourth drop. It is a diagonal, 10-foot high ledge that slopes steeply into a deep pool. Beware of the severe danger of running this waterfall on far river right. Two boulders form a hideous sieve at the bottom of the drop on far river right, a trap nicknamed The Room of Doom.


Class - III Mile - 1.2
10 feet high

The sixth drop begins about a half-mile downstream from Mill Falls. It is a double drop consisting of 2 ledges. The second drop forms a river-wide recirculation. Run far right over a slide.


Class - IV+ Mile - 1.3
10 feet high

The seventh drop is a vertical waterfall drop onto a solid, flat rock slab in very shallow water. Boof on far river left with some speed.


Class - IV+ Mile - 1.35
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11 feet high

The eighth drop is an 10-foot high vertical waterfall with a drop onto solid, flat rock slabs in very shallow water. Boof far left.


Class - III Mile - 1.4
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
8 feet high

The ninth drop is an 8-foot high slide over broken ledges into a pool.


Class - III Mile - 1.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
After the nine waterfalls, the creek drops another 220 feet over the remaining 4.2 miles to the first Poags Hole bridge.


Class - III Mile - 1.6
After the nine waterfalls, be watchful for the dozens of strainers in this remote canyon. Two paddlers drowned in strainers on Canaseraga Creek in 1999.


Class - III Mile - 5.7
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
There are several takeout options in, and south of, Dansville. When traveling south on Poags Hole Road from Dansville, you'll cross Canaseraga Creek 3 times. Set up a shuttle at the bridge of your choice.

First Poags Hole Bridge, at 5.7 miles.

Second Poags Hole Bridge, at 6.7 miles.

Third Poags Hole Bridge, at 7.2 miles.

Dansville, at 7.5 miles.


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Jim Hopkins
13 years ago

USGS Gauge has been inoperative since 2002.

Gage Descriptions

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Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



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Moose River Video

Mark Singleton

2010 marked the 25th anniversary of protecting the Black and Moose rivers!  View an online video documentary on the Moose River and the early role that American Whitewater played in protecting this amazing river.


Kurt Fisk


Matt Muir


Harry A. Marinakis, M.D.


Alex Barham


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191064 06/26/01 Kurt Fisk n/a
1199045 12/15/10 Matt Muir Added abstract and sig photo; deleted gauge.
1201003 02/02/12 Harry A. Marinakis, M.D. Removed reference to USGS gauge
1206581 06/07/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1206587 06/07/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1206613 06/08/16 Alex Barham Added local info