Independence - 2. Donnattsburgh Road to Old Pine Grove Road

Independence, New York, US


2. Donnattsburgh Road to Old Pine Grove Road

Usual Difficulty II-V (for normal flows)
Length 2.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 85 fpm
Max Gradient 100 fpm

Independence River

Independence River
Photo of Adrian and Jim by Rick Sherry taken 11/12/05 @ 450 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04256000 350 - 2500 cfs II-V 00h53m 249 cfs (too low)

River Description

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



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-14 18:41:46


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
2.9Fat LadyIV+Portage Hazard
3.1Bridge BoofIVWaterfall
3.2The WallIV

Rapid Descriptions

The gauge is just downstream of the putin, on the downstream river right-side of the bridge.

Powerline (Class III, Mile 1.4)
Photo of Bubba by Steve Graley (PhantomBoater) at 260 cfs on 05/05/02.

Boof (Class III+, Mile 2.1)
Hans loves gnar!This rapid needs a good name.
There are several ways to run this boof, but the picture shows one of the most popular lines.
Photo of Hans Merritt by Adrian VandenBout on 11-12-05, at 440 cfs.

Fat Lady (Class IV+, Mile 2.9)
After the Fat Lady slideThis is the Big One, the reason why people run the Indy. It starts with a weird slide by an old diversion dam. Typically, the boater heads left for the big slide (pictured), although it's possible to head right for a narrow channel with a fierce hole. The runout leads the paddler to the boof at the bridge (next rapid).
Photo by Steve Graley of Jim Mumme on 5/2/02 at 250 cfs.

Bridge Boof (Class IV, Mile 3.1)
Boof @ da BridgeThis is typically regarded as the last drop of the Fat Lady. (Note the slide way up there in the background). You can see it coming by looking for the old bridge above the river. There are creases and channels you don't want to be in, but at normal levels, this isn't too tough a drop. Scout from the bridge.
Photo of Mike Nickel by Steve Graley on 5/2/02 at 250 cfs.

The Wall (Class IV, Mile 3.2)
Soon after the bridge is the last rapid. The intrepid paddler hugs the left wall and then heads out into the center through a chaotic jumble of boofs, holes, and messy stuff. Scout from the bridge.
Photo of Marty Murphy by Phantomboater at 310 cfs on 5/17/03.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
October 28 2014 (1504 days ago)
schlec3 (155907)
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.
October 27 2014 (1505 days ago)
h2sk11 (155950)
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.
October 24 2012 (2238 days ago)
bastien86 (154997)
Level 600 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. Bastien

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