Otter Creek - Partridgeville Road to Pine Grove Rd.

Otter Creek, New York, US


Partridgeville Road to Pine Grove Rd.

Usual Difficulty III-V (for normal flows)
Length 10.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 61 fpm
Max Gradient 110 fpm

First Drop

First Drop
Photo by Matt Muir (KHCC) taken 11/22/04 @ 450 @ Independence

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04256000 350 - 3000 cfs III-V 39d18h28m 42.5 cfs (too low)

River Description

Otter Creek is a very pretty stream with good character. It's mostly continuous class III, with one serious Class-V drop (easily portaged--it's right after a dam, portage left). Most of the run is boat-scoutable--but be wary of wood! Great run to do with the Independence.


To Takeout: Coming North on NY 12 from the South, turn Right onto Main St., just half a mile after Johnson Rd. on the right. Bear right at the next intersection, staying on Main.
At the next main intersection, bear Right onto Greig Rd. Cross the Black River.
After about 1/2 mile, take a Left onto Otter Creek Rd. After about 2 miles, you'll reach a T intersection with Pine Grove Rd. This is the takeout. The best parking spot is a few yards before the intersection with Pine Grove Rd., a sandy turnout on the left (North) side of the road.


To Putin (note that there are TWO putins):
To Lower Put-in (for a 2.5ish mile run including all of the rapids in the "rapids" tab):

From Otter Creek Rd., take a Right (South) onto Pine Grove Road.

Turn Left onto Eatonville Rd.

Put-in where the bridge crosses the creek.

***Note that this road is far from ideal and is deeply rutted.  If it's spring and you don't have a truck, you'll probably bottom out a couple times.  Additionally, this is the only road that accesses this putin.


For the full 15 or so mile run (I've never done this run or driven to this putin, so yer pretty much on your own):

From Otter Creek Rd., take a Right (South) onto Pine Grove Road.
After 2-3 miles, take your Second Left onto Brantingham Rd.
In Brantingham, take a Left onto Partridgeville Rd.
After 4-5 miles, bear Left. You're on this dirt road for quite a while. 



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 18:51:26


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
-0.1First RapidIVPutin
0.0Eatonville Rd. PutinN/APutin
0.1Bridge RapidIV
1.2Eagle's Talons5.1Portage Hazard
1.8Crumbly DamIV+Hazard Waterfall

Rapid Descriptions

First Rapid (Class IV, Mile -0.1)

Carry up from Eatonville Road (river left, attainment right) to run this rapid.

Most of the following rapid descriptions are based on the post by John Alden (October 19, 2002, at 700+ cfs on the Independence River gage).
The first rapid is a fifteen-foot slide at a thirty degree angle that ends in a deep, but flushy, hole. The entrance required a ferry from river right to left with a turn back to the right at the top of the slide. The hole at the bottom was big enough to flip several boats.
There was also a more straightforward line on the far left side of the slide to avoid the hole at the bottom, but there was a risk of broaching on the numerous upturned flakes of rock on the ledge. More water would open a smaller chute on far river right, but it was not navigable on the day we ran the Otter.
We all ran this rapid at least three times each and explored all of the lines.
The run-out went over some small ledges and ran straight into the next significant drop, a broken five foot ledge with multiple routes available. The far river right was a shallow sneak with little water running over the drop. There was a small hole at the base, but the ledge was significantly undercut in this area. Everyone that ran to the right penciled in, but was not held in the hole. The main flow was over the left side where the water dropped over a steep four foot sluice onto a rock slide and then into a big hole. The hole stopped several people, but they all pulled through the backwash.

Eatonville Rd. Putin (Class N/A)

This is the putin that people typically use. It gives ~2 miles of good whitewater action, often before or after a run of the Indy. Mileage for the rapids is given from this point.

Bridge Rapid (Class IV, Mile 0.1)
From the eddy behind the second drop, pull out into the swift current which is moving right to left over a shallow cobble bottom.
The slide starts under the bridge where the water slams into the left shore and rebounds to the right. There is a large standing wave (4') to the right center of the slide and this is your landmark. To the left of the standing wave the water feeds into an ugly recirculating hole that is fed on three sides. If you line up on the wave you'll be launched and land on the run-out of the slide which is shallow and fast.
Keep the boat straight here because of the shallow angled holes in the run-out.

Boof (Class III, Mile 0.3)
Around the next corner the creek cuts left and then immediately turns back to the right while dropping a couple of feet. There are some interesting holes at the bottom of the drop jutting at weird angles to mess with your line, but none were a problem for any of us.

Ledge (Class III, Mile 0.8)
The next half mile contained several river wide strainers in the class I-II flow. Get out and walk around these. Someone in our party got hung up while trying to sneak under a tree and took a swim. (Did I mention that the temperature was in the thirties.) The next horizon line presented a five-foot ledge that was runnable on the left or right. The hole at the base of the ledge was not a problem. After initialy running it on the right we all got out to run it again on the left. Either way offered both a straight forward five-foot boof or a sluice through the ledge. Lots of fun.

Birdbath (Class III+, Mile 1.0)

Get out and scout the next horizon line. The river necks down and drops over yet another bedrock slide. The main flow is along the left shore, but it flows directly into and through a series of strainers. It's possible to sneak around to the right side of the channel in the center of the river and then cut in front of and then behind the strainer. The flow then necks down to ten feet in width and drops over the first part of the slide. The water pushes up against the left wall, forming a pillowed flume that turns back to the center of the river into the pool below. The trick is staying on top of the flume. You can fall off to the right side and get surfed in a recurculating birdbath eddy which happened to one of our group. She was spun around in circles a few times before she aggresively ferried up onto the flume and exited the eddy. The total drop is fifteen to twenty feet.

Eagle's Talons (Class 5.1, Mile 1.2)

Where the signs warn you of an approaching dam, take out river left. If there's water over the dam, the runout looks runnable or almost runnable. It's narrow, steep, and kinda scary. There are a couple places in there where the water pillows against river right. It looked runnable on 11/22/03 (Independence 450-500 cfs), but if you didn't keep your boat angled left, it looked like you might put a serious hurt on your ankles. We weren't too proud to walk it. (More water might provide a better error margin.)

Crumbly Dam (Class IV+, Mile 1.8)

After some more smallish boogie water you'll come upon a significant horizon line. This is recognized by the presence of a house on river right with a large deck hanging out over the water. Scout or carry on river left. The drop is the remains of a horseshoe-shaped dam. The initial drop is eight feet, but is complicated due to a lot of large-diameter rebar and debris at the base of the drop. We all probed different lines over the dam with no real consequences other than a few surfs. Below the initial drop is a bedrock slide than runs for thirty feet directly into a ten-foot ledge with a nasty looking hole on the right and a sluice on the left. We all ran the sluice. The rapid then splits into 2 channels; the right was not scouted, but disappeared over a ten-foot wide horizon line. The left was yet another bedrock slide that pushed to the left where there was a nasty hole backed up by a big rock. Landing in the hole would have likely led to a bad broach. The whole rapid drops about thirty feet in the span of fifty yards through very fast water. Next time I'll get out and scout the right side.

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