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Difficulty IV-V
Length 6.5 Miles
Gauge WEST BRANCH OSWEGATCHIE RIVER NEAR HARRISVILLE NY
Flow Range 800 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 17 minutes ago 431 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/05/2016 7:52 pm

River Description


This is the best section of the Grass! The character of the run is classic Adirondack "Pool-Big Drop" with sticky holes at high flows. Rainbow Falls, a.k.a. "Large Marge"5.1+ (Bigger than Magilla) and "Twin Falls" IV+ (Beefed up Fowlersville Falls w/o the hole) are the "Big Drops" of note. They are spectacular! There are six other distinctive CL IV-IV+ rapids that are separated by some CL III+ rapids and a few stretches of flatwater. The area is very scenic so relax and enjoy until you approach the next horizon line. The run is essentially roadside, but the road is seldom visible. The road is always river right.

Directions

Take Out: (Degrasse)

From Watertown take the Ft Drum/RT 342 exit off I-81. Drive Past Ft. Drum on 342 to Rt 3. Turn Left (NE) on RT 3 and go 14mi past Harrisville.

From Harrisville drive 14 miles to County Rd 27A (2.2 mi past Fine & County Rd 58). Turn Left (N) on County Rd 27A. (You cross the East Branch of the Oswegatchie just after you make the turn on to 27A.) After 3/4mi on 27A you intersect County Rd 27, turn right (N) on CR 27 which takes you to Degrasse. Turn R. at the Intersection in Degrasse and cross the bridge. This is the take out. Check the visual gauge and scout the last rapid from the bridge.

From I-90 Albany/Utica take RT 12 in Utica N. to Lowville. Take 812 from Lowville which intersects RT 3 just S. of Harrisville. (Follow directions above from Harrisville.)

From Canada drive to Canton, NY. Take 68 SE (7.9mi) to Pierrepont and turn right (SW)on County RD 24. Take CR 24 for 5.5mi to CR 27 and turn left(S). Drive 9.75mi S. on CR 27 to Degrasse and the take out bridge. Check the visual gauge and scout the last rapid from the bridge.

Put-in: From Degrasse take Toole Pond Rd 5.9mi SE to the State Parking area (Brown and Yellow signs) which is on the right (south) side of the Rd. Take the short walk down the trail to the river.

Near by Runs:
Grass: Cranberry Lake Section (S. Branch)(III-V), Copper Falls Section (S. Branch)(III-V) Middle Branch (III-IV+, V), Lampson Falls Section (III-V) & North Branch (II-III, V+)
Oswegatchie: East(IV-VI), Middle(IV-V+,VI-) & West(IV-V+) Branches,
Raquette: Stone Valley(IV-V)

Food & Gas: Harrisville or Canton are your best bets for Food and Gas.

 

Canton - Cranberry Lake Area Reaches

Boland Creek                                                   Elm Creek 

Grass (1. Lampsons Falls to Downerville)       Grass (2. Downerville to Russell)      

Grass (3. Morley to Massena)                    Grass (4.Woods Bridge Road to Route 47)     

Grass, Middle Branch                                 Grass, North Branch  

Grass, Upper South Branch                        Grass, Lower South Branch (Twin Falls)         

Oswegatchie, E. Branch (2.)                           Oswegatchie, E. Branch (3.)

Oswegatchie, W. Branch                                   Plumb Brook

 

Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

Rapid Descriptions

Large Marge (Rainbow Falls)

Class - 5.1 Mile - 0.2

This is the first tree top horizon line you come to. Scout right side then left if you consider running this. It is normally portaged left. Safety is difficult. The hole at the bottom of the falls can be bad at high flows and the wall on the right below the drop is a magnet for flipped paddlers and makes rolling tough.

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from online maps.

Whip-it Good

Class - IV Mile - 0.6
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The river narrows down and makes a nice continuous set of rapids for about 0.3mi that is punctuated with a river wide hole "Whip-it Good" near the end. At higher flows this hole can be real sticky. Stay left.

Flat Rock Falls

Class - IV Mile - 1.3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

Ledge slide drop with multiple lines and a sticky hole at the bottom.

Adrenaline Falls (Stewart Rapid)

Class - IV Mile - 3

Scout Left.

Twin Falls

Class - IV+ Mile - 3.25

This 30'(+)ledge slide is a rocket launching pad! Scout right. If you don't see the line think about walking. Hint try and finish between the two Rooster Tails at the bottom right. Getting off-line or flipping can be ugly.

Iron Bridge (Sinclair Falls)

Class - IV+ Mile - 4.3

The Iron Bridge crossing the river marks this drop (bridge connects Lake George Rd to Tooley Pd Rd). Watch the hole at the bottom, it can/will eat your lunch, especially at high water. Scout right at Med and low flows, high flows scout left. Portage is easiest left I'm told.

Basford Falls

Class - IV Mile - 5.1

Multiple lines. Left side slide is easier. The center ledges and holes offer a tricky CL V option. Scout the center and right lines from the right. Scout Left line from the left. -

Degrasse Graffiti

Class - IV Mile - 6.5
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
This rapid looks intimidating, but a great finish to great run. The hole can be sticky at high water.

Comments

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Ruben Martinez
|
5 years ago

The river wide log in the rapid under the Degrasse takeout bridge has flushed out and is no longer in play.

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Rob. Taylor
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8 years ago

This is a class V run. Scouting, Portaging and evacuation may be easy, but the drops are big and consequential. Scenery is sick beautiful.

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Jim Dobbins
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12 years ago

We took a low water run on this section on 10/21/2007. The log is no longer blocking the left channel.

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Tim Kelley
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14 years ago

There is a river wide log between Large Marge (Rainbow Falls) and "Whip it". It was in the left channel about 100 yds above whip it. You have to portage it when Harrisville gage is below 900. The water is at the bottom of the heart on the Degrasse Graffiti

Gage Descriptions



Season: April and May are generally the best months for the Grass, but Oct and Nov also offer windows of boatable flows following three or four days of good rain.

Flows: The USGS gauge on the Oswegatchie in Harrisville provides an "approximation". The benchmarks below have many variables, so make sure you assess each drop yourself, especially at MED and HIGH flows. If Harrisville gauge is rising:

MIN:750-800cfs (3.5') - You will scrape in numerous areas, but have enough for the main drops.
MED: 1100cfs (4.0') - Only slight scraping, but holes are tame.
HIGH: 1700 (4.75') - Ratchet up the difficulty of all rapids at least half a level. Holes are bad!

If Harrisville guage is dropping add 150 cfs to the flows above.

Visual "Gauge": Check the Graffiti on the river right rock just below the bridge in Degrasse. If water is rising and touching the bottom of the "heart", then you can scrape down the wide places and have good water for the drops. If water is dropping then middle of "heart" is the MIN mark.

Permits

NA

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

Alerts

 

News

article main photo

Moose River Video

1/18/2011
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.

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Tim Kelley

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Alex Barham

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1202056 05/07/13 Tim Kelley
1191109 12/04/03 Tim Kelley n/a
1206027 04/05/16 Alex Barham Added local info