Difficulty II-IV
Length 6 Miles
Gauge Ramapo River near Mahwah NJ
Flow Range 280 - 5000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 40 minutes ago 27.8 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 01/12/2020 2:26 pm

River Description

It's generally a Class 2-3 river at normal levels with the Class 2 warmup upstream of the Rt 32 bridge.  
No gauge but if the rapid below the 32 bridge or upstream of the Forge Hill Road bridge looks good by your standards it's pretty typical of the scratchiness/size of the rest of the run. At high levels the main lines get meaty but opens up easier lines along the side. 
The river holds well and isn't miserable at low levels. However, at low levels you'll only have 1 line. Ramapo at Suffern is the closest gauge and generally Moodna is runnable if it gets above 300cfs but Moodna holds longer. https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nj/nwis/uv/?site_no=01387400&PARAmeter_cd=00065,63160,00060,62614,62615

The hardest  rapid is Hell's Teeth (aka Pillars). It has a hole that can get pretty nasty at higher flows. Hell's Teeth can be scouted during the shuttle if the trees aren't leafed out from 32 just north of 20 (Orr's Mill Road). The view from above gives you better look at possible wood in the main flows then is easily attainable at river level.  
There are two dams during the run. The first  at the Rt 32 bridge you can generally slide over without any problems except for boat abuse. 
The second has a kick up at the bottom. At high levels you there's no eddy below this dam so you immediately drop down one of the hardest rapids...so best if everyone runs it together so at least you can help each other if needed. 

The Moodna gorge cuts thru glacial till and changes after every flood. 
The  old hazard of I-beams below the Jaws rapid and under the Old Forge Hill bridge was eliminated by Hurricane Irene which moved the entire river to the right some 50 feet .
The Class 2 section above the Route 32 Bridge is a beautiful stretch of river and where you will see some wildlife but not much fun at low water.  There's also a class 2 section below Forge Hill Bridge with good parking and ok pullout just upriver of 9w on river left.
As you'd expect there's access along route 32. 
At high levels the first three quarters mile of woodbury creek is fun with a rocky slide past the blackrock fish and game club (good for cheers on sunny saturdays). Put in near creamery road. But under penalty of death (march) don't go higher on woodbury creek. Moodna above the thruway is flatwater all the way to the rocky chute below the dam below beaverdam lake. 


Rapid Descriptions


Class - N/A Mile - 0

Slip in at the put in for a slow class 2+ start. Best parking on east side of Pleasant Hill Road about 100' south of bridge. Fisherman access  with nice bench.  Note there is nothing but completely flat water upriver from here. 

Beautiful Calm Sections

Class - N/A Mile - 0.01

Wonderful quiet section to boat and see wildlife on the banks. At low levels where the gorge is still runnable this section gets too scrapy. 

Route 32 bridge dam /gorge put in

Class - II+ Mile - 2.2
Easily run but a total boat abuser...has a gravelly textured surface and in all but the highest conditions you just sandpaper your way down. Get close to the edge, take a good look and either pick the deepest spot or decide you like your boat and portage right. 
Lots of sharp rocks in the runout so not a place to get flipped but if your in danger of getting flipped here this is good place to call it a day. Note that in the distant past like the early 2000's the rocks were blown out and there were nasty holes at the bottom...and we're probably 1 big storm from this happening again, so like any dam, use your discretion. 
Since the dam is hell on boats if you're just running the gorge, parking on the the southeast side of the bridge and lowering  your boat down the concrete drainage ramp is probably better than walking thru someone's front yard and gets you to a much better launch (at low water at least). 

Lumber Yard

Class - III Mile - 2.3
Ist half of this rapid is viewable from the bridge. It's a good gauge. If you're comfortable running/scraping thru this you'll probably enjoy/tolerate the rest of the river. 
Even more then then the rest of the river Lumber Yard  changes with every flood as it's undercutting the right bank. In general is easier and has better eddies on the left/inside and more wood on the outside as you'd expect. The last drop into the pool above the pillars has occasionally been challenging with some moves that can't be boat scouted....but at the end above Hell's Teeth is a good size pool  and  there's plenty of time to get boats out.
Called lumber Yard as that's what you looking at up on the right bank + the undercut right bank drops a few trees into the rapid.

Hell's Teeth

Class - IV Mile - 2.4

As you come up to Hell's Teeth (aka the Pillars) you will see these 10-15 foot tall piers on River Left. Scout on either side though i prefer right.

Main line is river right moving hard left to drop to the left of the 'tooth' in the center of the flow. Large eddy on far right just above uppermost right pillar easy to hit at lower levels. Recently (summer 2019) something moved offering a tongue in at least low to medium flows as opposed to the previous drop into a diagonal wave coming off the tooth. 
Sneak route to left of right pillar runnable at all but low levels. From above this sneak  looks like a 4' drop into a bad hole, but it's really a sloping drop into a small hole. Head straight over the furthest spot. There's also slightly straighter and smoother lines left but they've held wood in recent years.
Portage on either side neither of which is that great. 
Can be scouted from the shuttle if leaves are off the trees by parking on 32 on the west side just north of 20 and hiking down between the house and the no trespassing signs. 

Rapid below the teeth is best run to left of island as right is undercut and catches more wood plus left ends in a nice chute into the pool above 2nd /factory dam.
Obviously any of these pillars could and have caught wood which can be quite awkward and below waterline. Without wood this is a pretty low consequence 4 with a nice pool below and a lot of water in the main line. 

2nd Dam

Class - II+ Mile - 2.9
This distinct horizon line is easy to see. Portage on river left which requires a seal launch into a swirl that occasionally catches wood.  Take care. 
The character of this  dam is strange. This dam has a downstream sliding board with a kick up lip at the very bottom
It has been run at most flows.  At low flows there's a pool below but at high flows you can't stay in the pool and you drop right into Irene/ factory rapid...so at high levels drop over the dam pretty close together (or portage) so your able to help each other if help is needed below. 
At high flows wood in left putin can make the seal launch a really bad idea. You can also portage  right, up a steep slope, thru an old factory floor and put in near the bottom of Irene. 


Class - III Mile - 3
Starting immediately below the 2nd dam. At low to medium levels there's a nice pool below the dam. At high levels get ready as  water can flow too fast to stay below the dam.
Generally run to the right of the island down the main shoot with some significant holes. You can see the whole of this rapid from the top of them dam. 
Formed by Hurricane Irene in 2011, a collection of rocks that forms a 3-4 foot drop with a nice boof in the center. With a lot of water you run right over the boof, at lower flows you can angle off it to the right. Left side is a little manky.  (photo by Jeff P.), right of the boof the easier line.
Right side can be snuck at high levels. 
Warning...there's been 2 concussions - none severe -  off the boof rock at higher levels where folks flipped before it and were rolling up when their head hit the rock.  Good place to pull or stay tucked. 

Factory ending with undercut retaining wall

Class - III Mile - 3.2
After Irene there's another short rapid and then a  3rd drop. The retaining wall is getting undercut below the factory  on river right. At higher levels if you go with the flow you get pushed against some abrasive concrete (not great) but at lower levels a low boat could slide under the edge  and mess up your side if not an outright pinning hazard...It's sort of a sloping concrete wall. 
This is  the 3rd distinct short rapid after the dam and starts after a huge rock on left forms a huge eddy. Staying left away from the wall isn't hard.
At higher waters nice surfing with eddy service at the bottom of the first 2 drops.

Mike's Peril

Class - II+ Mile - 3.75
Another island. More water goes right which turns right and water pushes up against a big rock that tends to collect wood. Shouldn't have to say that if it doesn't look good get out. At high water the island will be inundated and you'll want to scout /portage on right. 
Several Mike's have had trouble here. 1 liked to swim it. Another got stuck against wood. Do we need to remind you that wood is the biggest hazzard on a river like this and if you aren't feeling good about the wood you should get out and scout or walk?

Left is narrower and more likely to be completely blocked. 


Class - II+ Mile - 3.8
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Named for a hemlock grove that used to be on the right side of the island. Now it's mostly run river left. Large rock on left has narrow passage that can get a little choked with wood.  After that a wave train followed by a nice reactionary type hole where the right side river joins back with the left.

Root Ball

Class - III Mile - 4
Flow splits around a small island which gets inundated at high water as river turns right.  Right drops into a hole that is retentive (but avoidable) at high flows. Left is a 3' drop  with main line not apparent from above and occasional awkward wood. Scoutable from right (from the island you can't see over drop). Right has held logs both in and out of play including a massive log with even bigger rootball for years and at the bottom of the drop.   

Former Jaws (under the bridge)/normal pullout

Class - II Mile - 4.3
Wide shot under the old forge bridge clearly showing the placement of the I-beams. Hurricane Irene moved the river a hundred feet or so to the right, destroying the bridge and burying this former hazard. 
Nice squirt line on river left. 
This is the end of the class 3 section.
Pull out on river right just below the bridge or go down to 9w or the Hudson. 

New Windsor Build and Grounds Building Alternate pullout

Class - II Mile - 5.3
Alternate pull out at 9w that gives you a pretty stretch of easier river. Gravel drive just after crossing river (northbound) and below/south of Storm King Marine. Adds a mile + with several nice class 2 rapids including one that has a lot of jagged rocks and no clean line - but with the full upper section makes the whole run decently long and paddlers challenged by the gorge won't be bored by this section. This section caught a massive amount of wood after Irene and had a few perilous routes thru the strainers for awhile.  Until 2019 had a porta potty at the pullout but now there's not much privacy to relieve yourself. Building has an overhang that gives you a dry place to change inf it's raining. 

Pullout is an boat launch ramp that ends at normal water level. Usually somewhat awkward for the first person out but if they are nice they can pull the rest onto the ramp.
This was an official kayak launch but it's just above tidewater so in most conditions you can't paddle back up from the Hudson to here. Plum Point Park has much better launch for rec paddlers. 
Flatwater marsh leads to the Hudson. 


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tom Hart
8 months ago

Clean of wood by Moodna /seldom run river standards. No wood in the way from Pleasant Hill Road to Forge Hill Road on Dec. 22nd (after December's ice storm). Of course there's always some wood on the outside of bends and things could move...

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Caleb Fujimori
6 years ago

Ran 4/27/14 with Ramapo at 285 cfs and Rondout at 462 cfs. Good level, 1 or 2 spots where we were scraping bottom. Lots of wood. Didn't see the I-Beams.

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7 years ago

Ran the mighty moodna this afternoon - ramapo gage was roughly 1k. Fun level. Lots of wood on the lower section, esp downstream from the factory. Use caution and don't be afraid to scout...

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James Dougherty
13 years ago

Ran this on 4/21/07. When we ran it, the Ramapo at Mahwah (which is what you are viewing for a gauge on this site) was at 4.90 ft when we took out (a look at the graph shows it dropped mabe 0.5 from when we got on). The Rondout at Rosendale was at 10.94 ft (which also didnt change much) when we ran it. In otherwords, this river holds water very well and will have water in it when other things do not. In fact, it had not rained since that Monday, we ran it on a Saturday. At said level, instead of doing that ferry everyone talks about, we simply ran the meat of things above the abutments, going from center angled right. Just before passing the between the two abutments on the far right, reangled the our kayaks toward river left playing closer to the abutment on the left than the one all the way river right, boofing a log that was well under and easily going over rocks and whitewater. No hole on this side to worry about. I was worried of getting pushed to far right (toward the furthest right abutment), but this was not an issue for me. Although I can paddle CL4 rivers, I do not consider myself a CL4 paddler yet and on such rivers I'm pushing the envelope. However, I found this move easy and fun but wouldnt want blow this line or roll either. I also wonder what may be lurking underwater since I noticed a lot of made-made stuff near the riverbank (update: viewed this at below runable levels and there dose NOT appear to be any manmade metal junk in the river here. However, be heads up for wood. It's ofted wood gets caught up due to the pilons). Also unfortunitly, my friend said when he ran it the last time at a lower level, the above option we took was not doable that day due to a lack of water and had to do that ferry and cut near the dreaded hole. (I might have opted to portage had I been there that day). It looks to me this would be real serious at much higher water as well. This river is about 65 miles from The Triborough Bridge, NYC. You can take 87 north to exit 16 then take route 32 going north (I belileve it's a right turn, not sure). You will soon see the river on your right. See above for directions to take out. FYI it's about 11 miles from I-87 to 'five corners'. I found the CL2 section fun as well. I wouldn't put-in below it and miss out on it.

Gage Descriptions

There are no gages; it's a natural flow river.
The Ramapo at Mahwah NJ is a good virtual gauge for Moodna Cr. If the Ramapo is at 3.8' the Moodna is probably just barely running. If the Ramapo hits 4' the Moodna should be good to go. Basically, the two rivers drain either side of the same set of hills.


The USGS gauge: Rondout Creek at Rosendale, NY is a good virtual gauge as their headwaters drain the same mountain and are about 5-10 miles apart.
"I am told that good min/max levels are 10' and 11.5' respectively.

Directions Description

Locate the town of Vails Gate, NY  (AKA the intersection of Rt 32 and Rt 94)

Class 3(4) Putin:

From the intersection of Rt 32/Rt 94 travel south on Rt 32.

Putin about 2 miles south where the moodna crosses under the Rt 32 bridge. Park just south of bridge on west (Northbound) side. 
Best launch that doesn't involve walking thru provide property is from the southwest corner of the bridge down concrete drainage gully - lower boats on your rope and walk down carefully. 

Class 2 Putin:

From the intersection of Rt 32/Rt 94 travel south on Rt 32.

Travel South on Rt 32 about 4 miles and make a hard dog leg Right on Juenger Rd. Travel 200 hundred yards to Rt 79. Make a right and park near the bridge where the moodna passes under Rt 79.

Forge Hill Bridge Pullout (lower class 2 putin):
Dirt road just northwest of bridge. 
New Windsor Public Works Department  Take out: Take the first left after crossing the Moodna headed north on 9w. Park near the boat ramp. This used to be an official kayak launch, but the ramp got undercut and it's above the tideline at low tide and they put a better rec launch in at Plum Point.  

Bar Takeout:

Do not park at the historical marker site or risk a visit from the local police.

From the intersection of Rt 32/Rt 94 travel East on Rt 94. Make a Right on Old Forge Hill Rd/Rt 74. You will quickly pass over the Jaw's Rapid bridge (scout?). Continue to the traffic light and cross Rt 9w. Down the road a short distance there is a bar on your right with a large parking lot. We have taken out here. Ask permission to park 1st and park away from the bar, closer to the river. 

Make sure you stop in after paddling and tip heavy and thank them. If you don't have two cars you can call a cab at 845-561-8330. 


No Accident Reports




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Moose River Video

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.


tom Hart


Stephen Strange


Alex Barham


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1213855 11/04/19 tom Hart updated name
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1212882 06/12/19 tom Hart directions to the river
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1213862 11/09/19 tom Hart updated stats
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1191144 03/26/08 Stephen Strange n/a
1206387 04/26/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1211535 03/26/19 tom Hart directions to the river
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