This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III
Length 12.4 Miles
Flow Range 1000 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 hours ago 73.2 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/14/2016 6:38 pm

River Description

Updated June 25, 2001

The Deer River is a remote and seasonal waterway on the northern slope of the Tug Hill Plateau that drains into the Black River. From the putin, you will paddle 11.7 miles before seeing another road.


Watertown Area Reaches:

Black River (Rt. 3 Wave)       Black River (Watertown to Brownville)      

Black Creek                            Deer River (Section 1)      

Deer River (Section 2)           Roaring Brook (Brokeback Gorge)   

Salmon River (Section 1)      Salmon River (Section 2)      

Sandy Creek                            South Sandy Creek (Section 1)      

South Sandy Creek (Section 2)             Mad River     

Mill Creek                                  Negro Brook



Tug Hill - Old Forge Area Reaches

Beaver (1. Moshier)                               Beaver (2. Eagle)                                 Beaver (3. Taylorville)

Black (1.)                                                Black (2.)                                             Black (3.)

Black (4.)                                                Black (5.)                                             Black, S. Branch

Cincinnati Creek                                     Crystal Creek                                       Deer River (Section 1)

Deer River (Section 2)                        Fish Creek, E. Branch                          Independence River (1. Upper) 

Independence River (2. Main)               Indian (S.Br. Moose trib.)                     Little Black Creek

Little Woodhull Creek                             Mad River                                           Mill Creek 

Mohawk (1.)                                           Moose (1. Middle)                                Moose (2. Lower) 

Moose (3. Bottom)                                 Moose, Middle Branch                          Moose, S. Branch (1.)  

Moose, S. Branch (2.)                            Negro Brook                                       Otter Creek  

Roaring Brook (Brokeback Gorge)    West Canada Creek (1.)                      West Canada Creek (2. Ohio Gorge) 

West Canada Creek, S. Branch                Woodhull Creek (Upper)                     Woodhull Creek (Middle) 

Woodhull Creek (Miracle Mile)


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group



Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
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The putin is located at the Route 177 bridge in New Boston. On the downstream side of the bridge, on river left, is a drainage ditch that leads down to the river bank.

For a decent run, the water level must be high at the New Boston bridge. If the water level just looks "runnable" at the bridge, you will not have a good time. Further downstream, the river braids into wide channels than can be very shallow (unrunnable).


Class - III Mile - 0.1
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From the putin you'll promptly enter a deep shale gorge that is about 7 miles long. Visually the gorge is reminscent of Fish Creek, with the paddling difficulties of Letchworth Gorge. The play features are small but very plentiful.

The Deer River gorge is deep, remote and stunningly beautiful. Wildlife abounds. Rarely the river abuts the shale cliffs, forming exciting class 3 wave trains and occasional holes. More frequently, though, the river braids and weaves back and forth across the bottom of the gorge, forming numerous channels.


Class - II Mile - 7.3
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At 7.3 miles from New Boston, the volume of Deer River increases when a major tributary (Cobbs Creek) enters on river right. This marks the end of the gorge and the start of "The Flats." This section of the river is reminiscent of the tamer sections of the Salmon River in Pulaski.

At 11.7 miles (or 4.4 miles from Cobbs Creek) the river enters the town of Copenhagen and runs under the town bridge. Immediately past the Route 12 bridge is a series of class 3 ledges.

You may take out above these ledges.


Class - Mile - 12.4
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At 12.4 miles the river plunges over a 25-foot high dam and then plummets 100 feet over High Falls. A small hydroelectric station is located at the dam. The takeout is located on river left, just above the dam.

WARNING! High Falls is not runnable, and you will die.


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Harry A. Marinakis, M.D.
10 years ago

As you may ahve discovered, that section to which you refer is very difficult to scout. Looks good in places, with some big drops, but it's really hard to get back there and scouot.

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Dan Cash
11 years ago

We paddled this section last year and it is an amazing river. Countless surf waves in a beautiful shale gorge and a myriad of cascades falling over the walls. I counted more than 50 individual falls coming into the gorge. Not many run this, but it is well worth a look. In the 11 miles we only caught 4 eddies. 100% boogie + surfing. I can't wait to do it again. On a side note: Does anyone have any beta on the section below High Falls? It looks like it may have a more drop/pool nature than New Boston part or at least some bigger drops.

Gage Descriptions

There is no river gauge (see description below under "PUTIN").

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



article main photo

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.


Alex Barham


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1206206 04/14/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1205959 03/28/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1205552 12/09/15 Alex Barham
1191082 04/17/04 n/a Gauge added