Moose - 3. Bottom: Fowlersville to Lyons Falls

Moose, New York, US


3. Bottom: Fowlersville to Lyons Falls

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Avg. Gradient 72 fpm
Max Gradient 90 fpm


Photo of Glen Piegari by Tracy Wilson taken 10/00

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04254500 2.00 - 8.00 ft V 00h39m 4.27 ft (running)

River Description

Spring Moose-Black Festival Page

Moose Festival Page

All boaters planning to paddle the Bottom Moose Releases are required to sign-in at the power station office (located between Agers Falls and the take-out overlooking the right left side of Crystal) before accessing the river. On release days a sign reading "Whitewater recreation sign-in" is placed by the side of the road at the entrance to the office. Click here for the details.


Generally speaking, paddlers should have Class-V skills if they want to have fun on the Bottom Moose at normal and certainly at higher flows.

Releases occur on weekends in October and April-May.

Summer time on the Moose is a local favorite. The river becomes more like a traditional creek at low water, opening new lines, and giving beginners a chance to learn on warm reliable class 4-5. The run stops after double drop without the releases once the river is below 4-4.5 feet, but with more and different lines this is not a problem. Once the river drops below traditional levels the power company is unable to produce power and river is low but runnable from below Agers Falls to Magilla.


From the West:
From the NY Thruway, take Exit 33 (Rome). Head right from the ramp, taking Rte. 365 East, toward Rome.
In Rome, follow the signs for Rte. 26 North.
Follow 26 for about 31 miles into Collinsville.
In Collinsville, you'll come to an intersection where Rte. 26 bangs Left. Don't follow 26 here; instead, head Straight onto Rte. 12D.
You'll cross Rte. 12 and follow the road you're on through town. You're now on Center St.; follow it as it curves to the Right.
After you curve around, take your first Left. Cross the Black River and bear right onto Laura St.
After about half a mile, bear Left onto Lyonsdale Rd.
To get to the takeout from here, simply take a left after about 0.3 miles onto Shibley Rd.; after crossing the Moose River, take your first Right onto the dirt road. Follow it around and park in the parking areas on River Right.
To get to the putin from Lyonsdale Rd., click on the Map or Directions tab in this page. Follow Lyonsdale Rd., bear Left onto Hunkins Rd., and take a Left at the T-intersection onto Fowlersville Rd.
You can park in the sandy parking area on River Left or cross the bridge and take the funky sandy road to putin on River Right.

If you're coming up via Rte. 12, zoom in on Port Leyden to see the roads in that area; if you're coming via Rte. 26 and 12D, zoom in on Lyons Falls. Then click on the Map tab in this page to get to the putin.  

Latitude/longitude data are verified by GPS.


SAFETY WARNING: Beware of logs and stumps with huge root balls, specifically at Agers Falls and the Alpine Line at Crystal. You can scout both prior to the release. Alpine Lumber can only be detected from downstream (a short walk up from the takeout). Agers Lumber can be seen from river left by the fence. There is wood throughout, which can be easily missed but would be dangerous for a swimmer. (Thanks to AW Safety Chair Tim Kelley for this warning.)


And now for something completely different: ZoneDoggyDogg runs Lyon's Falls!

Click here for Karl Gesslein's view of the Bottom Moose. (Clicking will open up a new browser window.)
If you like that, check out some more drawings here, here, and here.


Click here for a collection of Youtube vids on the Bottom Moose.


Lower Moose (Class III-IV)
Middle Moose (Class III)
Black (Class III)
Independence (Class II-V+)
Otter Creek (Class III-IV[V+])


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 18:47:22


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.2Fowlersville FallsIV+Waterfall
1.9Knife's EdgeVHazard
2.1Double DropIV
3.0Ager's FallsIIIWaterfall
4.9Crystal5.1Hazard Waterfall
5.1Magilla5.1Takeout Waterfall
5.4Spine CompressorN/AWaterfall Photo

Rapid Descriptions

Putin (Class N/A)

Putin river right or river left, upstream of Fowlersville Falls. You can run one rapid just a hundred yards above the road, if you wish or put in at the bridge and start your day off with a Fowlersville Fling.

For those looking for a bigger challenge find the ramp hidden in the woods.  Be sure not to land too flat and don't try it under 3ft!

Fowlersville Falls (Class IV+, Mile 0.2)

Starts with a bang!
This photogenic baby is a huuuge slide, with a terminal hole in the middle. The hole is easy enough to avoid; at normal levels, everyone runs this on the left--and then maybe they climb up and run it again, because nobody got them on video the first time.

At 3ft or below the center and right lines open up.

Funnel (Class III+, Mile 0.7)

Technical, with a diamond-splitter rock at the bottom. The rock becomes exposed at levels below about 3 feet. It's best to bang through a hole toward the right and ride the channel to the right of the diamond-splitter.
There's an optional boof for those who want to provide carnage for their video-wielding buds. (See the photos on the right for the boof and the effects of a blown boof; click on the photos for the full-sized version.) Boof is best at and below 3ft


Knife's Edge (Class V, Mile 1.9)

Scout from the river-right sloping rock face.
The standard line here is the S-curve: ride a very narrow shelf on far river-right, then to drop off the shelf and snake your way between two large boulders (first photo on the right). The middle route, just left of the first boulder, is dangerous at low water, as there's a nasty pothole which caused a fatality in 1987 (see the rescue, second photo on the right). Finally, for the adventuresome, there's a niche boof way river right. Better not drop off the shelf early, as you'll be in a world of hurt in the rocky channel down there. If you don't like the look of the rapid, there's a sneak to the river left of the whole thing.

Difficulty ranges from II-V+ depending on flow and line


Double Drop (Class IV, Mile 2.1)
Technical, with a couple of holes. After the pool following this rapid is the mandatory portage at the power plant.
Double Drop begins with a right-to-left snaking line around some holes (first photo--click on photo for the full-sized version),
...and ends with a boof in the middle or left (second photo--click on photo for the full-sized version).

Portage (Class N/A, Mile 2.2)

Get out and walk around the dam. This is also the takeout if you're running the "Bottom," which paddlers often do when there's enough water to run the first four rapids but no scheduled release--and therefore not enough water to run the "Bottom Bottom."

Be careful, especially in winter. This might be the most dangerous thing you do all day.

Ager's Falls (Class III, Mile 3.0)
One of the easier 18-footers around. There is some minor complexity to the runout, but this waterfall can be run just about everywhere. That's why there are so many photos of people running it two and three at a time.

Shurform (Class IV+, Mile 3.8)

Right Channel: Steep, long, shallow, and technical. If you mess up the approach, you get up close and personal with a rocky mess in the middle. The approach is most easily run by punching a small but deceptively squirrelly wave and getting left. Stay high and to the left before dropping down at the very end. Another option is to run just right of the rooster tail.

Left Channel: Oh, yes: if you go left of the island, then it's really technical, with an undercut rock and a pitonat the bottom. Rate that line a 5.1. Come into the bottom facing 45* right and charging along the diagonal right, or stay left and try to ride over the peton just outside the under-cut.

Powerline (Class III+, Mile 4.1)

Nicest, easiest rapid that draws the most blood on the river. Read and run down the center working right if you aren't comfortable. Otherwise the eddy moves are a lot of fun (until you miss one that is) Careful of the pourover rock at the bottom.

Crystal (Class 5.1, Mile 4.9)
Whoa, Momma! This is one of the most visually impressive rapids in the East. From a rock at the bottom of the rapid, you can see it snake around for a quarter mile. It begins with a horseshoe hole which can mess with you, your boat, and your plans for the future. Typical, at normal levels, is to boof it left, as in the picture at the right (you know what to do: click on photo for the full-sized version).

Then, deal with the squirrelwater to line up for the final drop, a fifteen-footer with a spanky hole at the bottom. At low water (less than 2.5), it's really important to avoid penciling in on the right--the rock is exposed and ankle-breaking. At higher water (3.0+), it's harder to make the right-to-left move for the final Falls--but the middle line opens up, so you can bump'n'grind down that if need be.
Whoa, Momma!, this is a fun one!

Another low water option is to start on the eddy on river right above the horseshoes, ferry left into the pothole eddy between the horseshoes, then drop down.


Magilla (Class 5.1, Mile 5.1)
This one's optional; many paddlers take out before it, and it may not have any water even when the rest of the Moose is running. (It's dependent on yet another dam release.)

It kinda looks like Gorilla on the Green, but it's not as big a drop and the approach isn't so nasty. Nonetheless, don't drop your guard on the approach, either. It's not quite trivial--as seen in the first photo to the right (you know what to do: click on the photo for the full-sized version).

The second photo shows the preferred boof off the drop.

You can also run the middle channel off Magilla--just right of the normal boof line. That's extremely tight; it's easy to bang your elbows on the rock walls on the way down (don't ask how I know).


Matilda is another spout off the shelf. Enter a few feet right off the dam wall on the left. The landing isn't bad at higher flows, but brutal at low water (locals walk the dam and run the drop). The water constricts into a slotted channel and quickly snakes around to the lip. Take a few strokes left to try to get centered as you roll off the top of the lip.



Takeout on River Right, either before Magilla or after.

Spine Compressor (Class N/A, Mile 5.4)

Spine Compressor Falls

Spine Compressor Falls
Photo of Zone Dogg by Patrick Rogers taken 04/27/03 @ 4.6 feet

Below the next dam pond is a dam on the right under a green bridge.  This is the top of Spine Compressor, a seldom run drop that requires either very high flows, or heavily damaged splash boards. Go center on the dam and continue down a small wave train towards the lip. Be sure to hit the crease where there is the most flow right of center. A strong boof stomped at the last moment is the only way to have a soft landing. At most there is 2ft of fast moving water down there. The hole after the drop is no joke, be ready for a huge hit. Once you recover another drop is around the bend before you get to a camp site on the right.

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Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

October 2017

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est

Bottom Moose Releases
10:00 am -5:00 pm est


4th Annual Spring Black Moose Event Lyons Falls, NY,NY runs 05/10/13 - 05/12/13
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Bottom Moose Releases Lyons Falls,NY runs 04/17/16 - 10/28/17
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Associated Projects

  • Moose River (NY)
    AW fought a proposal to dewater the Moose River beginning in 1982, and ultimately secured some of the first recreational releases in the nation.

Associated News

Moose River Video
January 18, 2011