This section of the Hudson river runs through the remote Hudson River Gorge. Its difficulty varies signifcantly with water levels. This section of the Hudson is unique in that its "release" is by way of a tributary, the Indian River. As of 2017, the releases happen only on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday between May and September - check the gauge of the Hudson to see if there have been recent releases.
With that being said, the Hudson is runnable without release during significant portions of the year due to Fall rains or Spring melt, which can last until May. When the Indian isn't releasing, one can drive down Chain Lakes Road all the way to the Old Gooley Clubhouse, and put in on a path across the way.
If the dam is releasing, the trip actually starts out on the Indian River which usually only releases from 10:00 AM until 11:30. Releases happen only on Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Put in about a half mile down from the dam for the normal raft put-in. However, there is a great Class-IV+ warmup on the Indian (Otter Slide) if you start directly below the dam. Otter Slide has a slightly technical lead-in to a ~10ft drop at low water. During releases, this "drop" becomes a massive boiling hole. Beware of undercut rocks on river left, the normal line is right of center, where a small amount of water shoots through the hole. Below Otter Slide, the river is continuous Class III with one break in the middle for 3 straight miles. It's class-fun, but swims could be long (just like the Hudson).
The Hudson is interesting in that with each rapid, the river increases in difficulty. At levels below 4ft, the river is solid class III. At levels 5ft and above, the river feels like big water class III+/IV.
Any reference to difficulty in the following description is based on low-medium water levels, such as those found during summer releases. At higher levels, holes become bigger and scarier, and the river becomes more continiuous, read and run class IV skills are a necessity.
Once you paddle into the confluence, you have several class II+/III rapids. When cliffs appear on river right (blue ledges), be ready for solid class III, that increses in difficulty until the one class IV of the run, Big Nasty. The rapids on the Hudson are generally indistinct, and blend together, not lending themselves to names or easy characterization. With that being said, Big Nasty is characterized by uncovered rocks on river right once you come around a right turn. Scout from the rocks on river right, or just run it. Below Big Nasty are a few more rapids until the longest class III of the run, Givneys. This rapid is characterized by a hard right turn, and it continues for nearly a mile. There are a few more rapids between Givneys and the confluence with the Boreas River, right after a railroad bridge. From here until Bus Stop, it's class II boogie water. Greyhound Bus Stop can sneak up on you, but it's a river wide ledge, with an easy, easy sneak on river left. River center seems the stickiest, while river right offers some surfing oppurtunities, that could quickly turn into windowshading or uninentional squirting. After this ledge you face a 3-mile flatwater/quick water paddle to the takeout.
Eastern Adirondacks Reaches
Ausable, E. Branch Ausable, W. Branch (1.) Ausable, W. Branch (2.) Balm of Gilead Brook
Boquet (2.) Boquet (3.) Boquet, N. Branch Boquet, S. Branch
Boreas (1.) Branch, The (Boquet trib.) Branch, The (Schroon trib.) Cedar (1.)
Cedar (2.) Cold Deer Creek (Hudson Trib.) Glen Creek
Hague Brook Hudson (0.) Hudson (1. Indian River to North River) Hudson (2. North River to Riparius)
Hudson (3. Riparius to the Glen) Indian (Hudson trib.) John's Brook La Chute
Mettawee Mill Creek (Essex County) Mill Creek (Hudson trib.) North Creek
Pike Brook Poultney Putnam Creek Raquette (1.)
Rock River Schroon (North Hudson to Schroon Falls) Schroon (Starbuckville to Riverbank) Schroon (Warrensburg to Thurman Station)
Squaw Brook Styles Brook Thirteenth Brook Trout brook (Schroon trib)
West Mill Brook
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
Ran this at 4.5 ish feet recently. If your like us and going read and run for ur first run watch out for widowmaker a nasty keeper hole in the center left of the river at the top of the narrows. It has a really strong strong re circulation with almost no foam. There is a huge pillow in front of it it's easy to see just don't mistake it for a good boof like we did. I managed to get out but it was extremely difficult.
We went to run this on Monday, 05/14/2012, all the info we could find including the sign at the dam indicated that the Indian River would be releasing from 10 to 11:30 - there was a truck at the dam but we got no release, we had to bump down the Indian, a real bummer. Looks to me like they are only releasing on days when the rafting companies have trips scheduled.
I have run this river many many times with levels from bone dry to 9ft on the gauge, and find this to be completely hyped up. In reality with the exception of Soup Strainer and Otter-Slide there is little above a III on this river. Most of this run is read and run relatively easy moves. The left side "sneak" line on Grey Hound is huge, and the one on the right is easy if you eddy hop down or hug the shore. In many cases there are pools below the larger drops to collect swimers, but there are rapids that would be a bit more of a challenge especially as you are getting worn out towards the end of the day.
If you don't know where to go follow the rafts, otherwise enjoy a NY classic read and run III/IV with characteristic long flatwater stretches.
Is anyone interested in the upper Indian downstream of the dam and abover the Otter Slide. Last time I was on the reach I remember some big surfing waves above the otter slide. Does anyone have some beta on these waves and is anything eddy accessible?
I can confirm the river-right "sneak" in Giveny's below 5 feet. The line hugs the right shore, way right of Soup Strainer. There are a few nice hits which are easily avoided or run, your choice. This line is definately easier than the center-left-center line and is probably advisable for newer paddlers. Above 5 feet the line is still there, but the hits become much bigger. Your choice where to go.
The gauge is actually in North Creek which is about 5 miles below the takeout. 2.8 is actually too low if you miss the bubble from the Indian and can be rather scratchy even if you don't. Once it gets above 5.5 the run is pretty continuous. Above 7, you had better be pretty confident of your ability, as the river easily takes control upon the least mistake.
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Kennedy Family Rafting the Hudson
Senator Robert F. Kennedy in K1
Senator Robert F. Kennedy in C2
Me in The Narrows
typical Hudson scenery
typical Hudson rapid
Otter slide on Indian Creek
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