Deer (Black trib.) - 1. New Boston to High Falls Dam

Deer (Black trib.), New York, US


1. New Boston to High Falls Dam

Usual Difficulty II-III (for normal flows)
Length 12.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 31 fpm
Max Gradient 40 fpm

High Falls Dam in Winter

High Falls Dam in Winter
Photo by Harry A. Marinakis, M.D.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04242500 1000 - 5000 cfs II-III 00h50m 356 cfs (too low)
Estimated Fish Creek is recommended by Squires in New York Exposed due to the top of the drainage being adjacent. This may be updated if a closer correlation can be foun

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



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-14 18:38:57

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
12.4HIGH FALLS DAM (TAKEOUT)Takeout Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

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).

THE GORGE (Class III, Mile 0.1)
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.

THE FLATS (Class II, Mile 7.3)
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.

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.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 2 2010 (3234 days ago)
Harry A. Marinakis, M.D.Details
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.
March 20 2009 (3553 days ago)
Dan CashDetails
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.

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