Depending on the level this creek can be a great training ground for paddlers learning to creek, a beautiful and fun run, or a challenge for advanced boaters. Run either as park and huck, or as a full river run with a creeky finish, this is a classic!
Starting at the Donnattsburgh Road bridge the creek is a straightforward river run at lower water and at high water a rocket ride boofing over holes and rocks. Once past the powerlines the river becomes less continuous and the first drop appears. Scout on the left, or boat scout running down the left channel.
After the first drop is the Fat Lady. Starting in a pool above an old dam the currrent is devided by a massive rock named Mega Dome. Stay left unless you have scouted for wood in the right channel. The main line is left at the dome, then right at the split to stay in the center channel. To the far left is a channel which goes into a hard corner with a jutting rock known as Elbow Breaker. Despite the name this channel can be run safely at almost any level. The river converges again for a boof just above the Rudd Road bridge. Eddy out below the bridge and scout The Wall.
The Wall starts with a channelized entrance into a left to right move to avoid getting body slammed on granite. From the eddy on the right work your way down through the next ledge to river center. The last boof is formed by two large rocks in river center. At lower water it is easy to fall between the two rocks. Be aware of the pin hazard and plan your line so you are clear. Either cross the devide high and boof right, or stay left.
Take out at the next bridge on river left. This is Pine Grove Road.
Want a run that you can take beginners on but still have some fun? Run from Donnattsburgh Road to Rudd Road and let beginners walk the slide or run their boats down for them.
The Independence River was named to honor the national holiday by surveyor/engineer Pierre Pharoux in the 1790's. In those days, the French called the Salmon "La Famine."
If the Indy's rocking (800+ cfs and rising, or 1000+ cfs), it can be great fun to combine it with a run down its trib, Otter Creek, just a mile South on Pine Grove Road. Run Otter first, as it'll drop more quickly.
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
In the "old days", I think the second rapid was called "The Three Sisters" because it's multiple 'islands' forming multiple channels just before the Fat Lady.
As of 10/18/2014 there is a large root ball in the center line of Fat Lady, right at the base of the middle drop. Scout and run either of the other two lines with caution.
Edit: Root Ball removed this is no longer an issue.
As of 10/25/2014, the root ball was removed from Fat Lady. The center line is now runnable thanks to the rope work and efforts of at least 10 people.
First section above Fat Lady 600 cfs was a Good medium level , its in majority class 3+.
Second section beginning at Fat Lady until take out 600cfs medium-high water level , class 4+(5), Fat Lady on 600cfs was pushy less water should be better for fat lady, after fat lady its a fun run on this level.
Click the Flows tab for a break-down of the river at every level.
Permits are not required for this reach.
From Rt.12 in Lowville (North)
Turn right on River Street/ Rt.22. Continue straight at the stop sign. Continue Until you pass over the first major stream. Look for Rudd Road or the sign that says Independence River.
From Rt.12 in Lyons Falls (South)
Turn right on Burdick's Crossing Road. There is a drive-in movie theatre you can use as a landmark. Continue until the road ends. Turn left onto Pine Grove Road. Continue until you see the next stream. There will be a sign that says Independence River.
To get to Fat Lady and the Wall simply take Rudd Road to the bridge. It is accessible from both sides of the river.
Go South on Pine Grove Road. Take a left on School House Road. Turn left on Chase Lake Road. Take the second left onto Donnattsburgh Road. Continue to the end and park in the gravel lot.
Fat Lady Bottom
Independance, Fat Lady 1000+
Hans loves knar
Fun at low water
Bottom of the slide
The last peep out of Fat Lady
Independence River Map
Welcome to the Pleasure Dome
Coming through the entry of "The Dome"
Nearing the last section
Hang On !
Micro 230 being tested
Sharon Makes a come-back
I see a helmet
Steve said it doesn't look like there's anything else.
Good to the Last Drop
First Significant Drop
Nearing the last section with finesse !
This is more like it !
Making this look so easy !
Bubba working the InaZone 220
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!