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Difficulty II-III at this flow (II-III normally)
Length 3 Miles
Flow Range 800 - 3500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 2 hours ago 62.3 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 06/09/2016 2:08 pm

River Description

Oatka Creek is a seasonal creek that drains into the Genesee River just south of Rochester. The creek is characterized by numerous ledges and pour-overs. Though rather tame, it features a nice surf wave, many excellent play holes and a beautiful but unrunnable 50-foot waterfall (Buttermilk Falls). Oatka Creek is most fun when run at high levels (6 feet on the Garbutt gauge).


Western New York Area Reaches

Beaver Meadow Creek                     Canadaway Creek (1.)                                      Canadaway Creek (2.) 

Canaseraga Creek                           Cattaraugus Creek                                           Cattaraugus Creek, S. Branch 

Cazenovia Creek, W. Branch (1.)    Cazenovia Creek, W. Branch (2.)                     Chautauqua Creek 

Clear Creek, N. Br.                           Conesus Creek                                              Eighteenmile Creek 

Eighteenmile Creek, S. Br.                Ellicott Creek                                                    Genesee (Letchworth) 

Honeoye Creek                               Keshequa Creek                                            Little Chautauqua Creek 

Murder Creek                                  Niagara                                                             Oak Orchard Creek 

Oatka Creek                                    Rushford Lake Outlet                                       Sugar Creek 

Twentymile Creek


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

Rapid Descriptions


Class - Mile - 0
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The putin is located in downtown Le Roy, just below the Route 5 bridge. There is a nice city park on river left with ample parking and convenient river access.

There are numerous surf waves adjacent to this park (best above stage 5.5).


Class - III Mile - 0.5
Just downstream from the putin are three bridges in quick succession. Below the third bridge is the best surf wave on the creek. It is fun at 4.5 feet, but is is best at stage 5.5+ feet. This wave is a great "destination boating" play spot.

The creek divides left and right at the surf wave. Take the right branch. Downstream there are three holes. Beware, these holes can be VERY sticky.

Below the convergence of the two branches, there is another river-wide pour over. Like so many other pour overs, this hole is VERY sticky at stage 5.0+ feet.


Class - III Mile - 2
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At two miles, North Road crosses the creek. This is Crocker's rapid. If the water level is less than 4.5 feet, takeout here. There is ample roadside parking.


Class - Mile - 2.5
Not far downstream from the North Road bridge, you will cross under an old railroad bridge. One hundred yards downstream from this railroad bridge, you will notice a definite horizon line and hear a tremendous roar. This is Buttermilk Falls. Takeout just above or just below this bridge, on river left.

WARNING! Buttermilk Falls is approximately 50 feet high. It is not runnable. The pool at the base of the falls is very shallow and is clogged with boulders, shopping carts and other debris.


Class - Mile - 2.6
Portage around Buttermilk Falls on river left. There is a well-worn trail that will lead you along the rim of the gorge. After hiking about 200 to 300 yards, you will see a walking trail that leads through a break in the cliffs and down to the creek. Putin anywhere that is convenient.


Class - III Mile - 2.7
The gorge downstream from Buttermilk Falls is bony at 4.5 feet. At 5.0 feet and higher, this section of Oatka Creek is very exciting. The water is pushy and rock abound. Definitely not a place for paddlers who cannot stay upright. A capsize in this water would quickly lead to an injury and a swim.


Class - Mile - 3
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Oatka Creek parallels Route 383 for several miles east of Fort Hill. Takeout anywhere along Route 383 that is convenient.


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Chris Campbell
9 years ago

Ran this 3/12/2011 around 5.25' or so down to the falls. A few strainers but all with sneak lines. However, I would recommend going left at the island instead of right as there is a nasty strainer and sticky situation as the right side converges back to the main. After scouting this we simply portaged across the island and put in on left side. Fun run at this level! Note -- Ran today (4/28/2011) and everything was clean -- not strainers. Right side was clear.

default user thumbnail
13 years ago

Stage 6 feet is considered flood by the USGS.

Gage Descriptions

Stage 6 feet (2150 cfs) is considered flood, according to Harry Marinakis, who contributed most of the content to this page.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports



article main photo

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.


Alex Barham


Mike Shafer


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1206633 06/09/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1191159 04/03/05 Mike Shafer n/a