Stone Valley is a classic Adirondack run with a pool-drop character. The noted difference from other runs in the region is that the rapids are much closer together in Stone Valley. The first mile drops 200' through seven distinct rapids separated on average by 100-200 yards. The greatest distance between any two rapids is only 400 yds. One unique and potentially dangerous characteristic is that the river flows against the "grain" of the bedrock, creating piton features and potholes which are especially noticeable at flows below 600 cfs. (Few if any pins have been reported with over 500 runs being made though the spring of '04.) The last two miles are CL II with one CL III rapid.
The Stone Valley area is actually a cooperative recreation area that includes Reliant Power, St. Lawrence County, the Town of Colton, NYDEC and several user groups (ADK is the largest). ADK trails exist on both sides of the river, are three miles long, well maintained, and have limited parking at both ends. (For a map of the trails, visit ADK's Stone Valley web site.) AW has a great relationship with Reliant Energy and other user groups of the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreation Area. To help grow this relationship and reduce user impact on the trail system, please stay on trails when scouting if possible, especially around Colton Falls.
July 7 - July 21 - August 4 - August 18 - September 1 - September 2 - September 3 (High Water)
Colton is located approximately nine miles South of Potsdam on NY Route 56. There are a variety of roads that can take you to Colton. The State Police have a station in Canton and with three colleges in the area; I highly recommend you watch your speed on Rte 11, Rte 68 and Rte 56. :-)From Albany take 87 N to Warrensberg and drive through Blue Mtn Lake, Long Lake to Tupper Lake taking Rte 3 East and catching Rte 56 North about 2 miles east of Childwold. Drive through South Colton to Colton, turning right on Main St. (east).From Burlington go north and drive through Malone, NY to Potsdam on Rte 11. Pick up Rte 56 S. in Potsdam. Go 10 miles on 56 to Main St. in Colton and turn left (east).From Watertown, take Rte. 11 North.
Turn right (SE) on Rte 68 at the last stop light in the village of Canton (Pizza Hut on the corner).
Rte 68 ends at a T-intersection with Rte 56, turn Left (north).
Go about half a mile and turn right (east) onto Main St.Getting to the River in Colton: Once on Main St cross over the river and turn left driving past the fire station. The road dead-ends in a small parking area. Parking at the put-in is a little tight, best to park in the grass area behind the fire station and carry your boat to the put-in. Please do not park in the fire station lot just above put-in. Vehicles will be ticketed and/or towed. If there is no parking left in the grass area or along the road, then park on the other side of the river by the museum.Access to the river: Access is from river right to avoid damaging the historical ruins on river left. If running Colton Falls, put-on at the base of the dam. If you choose to portage Colton Falls, then please use the trail on river right. The pool between Colton Falls and Tannery Ledges has an easy trail. If Tannery Ledges looks to be too much for you, then I recommend you only paddle on the lower 1.5 miles using the mid-way put-in/take-out (see directions below).
From the put-in get back on Rte 56 headed north (right turn off Main St). After approximately three miles, turn right onto County Road 24. Drive 0.6 mi crossing over Brown's Bridge and turn right on Lenny Road. The power lines that cross the river and road mark the takeout parking (0.3 mi from the intersection). Park along the road where there's room or back at the Brown's Bridge Intersection. Exit the river 20 yds before the power lines on river right or down at Brown's Bridge.
1.5 miles south (up river) from the intersection of Lenny Rd and Browns Bridge Rd/CR 24 is a small grass "parking area" on the west side of Lenny Rd (right coming from CR 24). It is a 1/3 mile to the river from the parking area. The midway take-out is approximately 1.5 river miles from the dam. Take-out on the right before the river narrows at a rock cliff on river right with a small camping area. To set shuttle turn left when leaving the put-in. At the stop sign turn left and continue as the road switches to dirt. look for a grassy area with a red gate on the left.
The State Camp Ground near South Colton is open from Memorial weekend through Labor Day weekend and is less than 10 miles from the put-in.
The put-in is in the middle of a village and dozens of hikers use the trails along the rivers edge, so please be considerate and police your fellow kayakers
Colton does not have an open container law so post-run brews are not a problem, but please take the empties with you.
The Beaver has recreational releases on many of the same weekends as Stone Valley. Check the Beaver web pages for dates and flows.Beaver River, TaylorvilleBeaver River, MoshierBeaver River, Eagle.
Nearby runs of similar difficulty to Stone Valley that could be flowing in April/May and Oct/NovGrasse S. Branch, Twin Falls sectionOswegatchie, E. Branch Flatrock to EdwardsOswegatchie, M. Branch
Potsdam - Malone Area Reaches
Chateaugay Deer (Dickinson Center)
Deer (Dickinson Center to Lawrenceville) Grass (1. Lampsons Falls to Downerville)
Grass (Sec. 3) Grass (Sec. 4)
Jordan Little Trout
Marble Meacham Lake Outlet
Raquette Sec. 3) Hannawa Falls Raquette 2) Piercefield to Parmenter Site
Raquette Sec. 4) Stone Valley Salmon
Salmon (Chasm Falls) St. Regis
St. Regis, E. Branch St. Regis, Middle Branch (Sec. 1)
St. Regis, Middle Branch (Sec. 2) St. Regis, Middle Branch (Sec. 3)
St. Regis, Middle Branch (Sec. 4.) St. Regis, W. Branch (Sec. 1)
St. Regis, W. Branch (Sec. 2) St. Regis, W. Branch (Sec. 3)
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
Description of 1200cfs follows:
The channel-wide hole at the bottom of Colton Falls is essentially a keeper around this level. Don't know of anyone who has actually run the slide at this level or above. (The far right channel has been run from the Top at levels up to 3000)
The Left channel/Ledges at Tannery Ledges are very sticky. The right channel is a fun CL IV boulder field.
The hole at Mushroom Ledge is sticky...don't get to close to the Mushroom. The far left has a fun CL IV slot move...boof left.
The Horseshoe falls in the Narrows is really sticky if you miss the boof, but you can swim out.
The regular line at the Tub "goes", but there is very little room for error . Missing the line is unforgiving. Running the far left line is an option but you will take some licks even with a "clean line
Both options at "Island Falls" still go. The entrance into "Da Falls" can be sticky and push you into a rocky landing. The right channel (Particle Accelerator_Rocket Ride_50:50) gets a bit more chaotic with big reflex waves. The hole at the bottom is still tame and only the far right is very sticky. Careful of hitting the wall or being pushed into the 50:50 slot. This drop gets mean above 2000cfs...3000cfs was ugly
200 proof still goes, the entrance is a bit more technical and the reflex waves in the slot are BIG. The hangover ledges cleanup a bit but can be sticky if you're not paying attention.
The Bottom two miles is a better CL II-III at this level.
This reach is one of AW's latest success stories after a ten-year FERC Settlement process. Flows through Stone Valley are controlled by a series of 5 dams, but paddling levels regularly occur APR-NOV. Flows are a result of recreational releases, minimum instream flows, and "notification" of when natural flows or unscheduled events result in spillage through Stone Valley. Due to the series of dams, there is no dependable real-time flow information so use the flow forecast provided by Reliant Stone Valley Forecast.
The range of flows combined with numerous lines through all rapids, gives the river "multiple personalities".
Note: rapid descriptions in the Rapids are for 700-900cfs.
APR-MAY: The Raquette has a very large and marshy headwater area that starts in the heart of the Adirondacks at Blue Mountain Lake winding through Long Lake and Tupper Lake. This makes for a long and consistent spring runoff. Flows are generally "MED" to "HAIR!" running 24/7.
Minimum Instream Flows: Once runoff is below facility capacity, only minimum instream flows occur. The upper mile is fun CL IV+ creekin', but you will scrape lots in the lower two miles. Below 180 cfs I would not try to scrape down the last two miles. The Midway take-out is an option at these levels. (See directions below)
APR-JUN: 200 cfs
JUL-NOV: 90-125 cfs
Scheduled Releases: There are 6 scheduled releases Jul-Sept. Release flows are generally between 600 cfs and 900 cfs, but can be as high as 1200 cfs. The schedule is published in the late spring and subject to change due to power emergencies or severe drought.
Sign In: Be sure to sign in whenever you paddle. User data is important to document use of the resource for continued releases. For the six scheduled releases, sign Reliant's roster (grey podium). Sign ADK's trail log all other times and note that you are paddling (brown box).
Releases on some September weekends. Here's the confirmed Raquette release schedule for 2011:
Sat., July 9: 720 cfs from 10 AM-3 PM
Sat., July 23: 720 cfs from 10 AM-3 PM
Sat., August 6: 720 cfs from 10 AM-3 PM
Sat., August 20: 720 cfs from 10 AM-3 PM
Sat., September 3: 720 cfs from 10 AM-2:30 PM; 900 cfs from 2:30 PM-4 PM
Mon., September 5: 720 cfs from 8 AM-4 PM; full release from 10 AM to 3 PM
Ramping Flows: Flows are ramped up and down by a factor of two every hour until the target level is obtained. It takes about 30 minutes for the release bubble to travel the first mile, and about 2 hours for target flows to reach the takeout. Approximately the same amount of time for ramping flows down. BEWARE OF THESE CHANGING LEVELS and plan your runs accordingly. Ramping schedules are generally posted by Reliant on the Stone Valley Forecast site.
On some Stone Valley weekends, paddlers also head over to the Beaver for some fun. Here's the Beaver release schedule:
Eagle section of the Beaver (all releases 1 PM-5 PM, 200 cfs):
Sun., September 4
Mon., September 5 (Labor Day)
Sat., September 10
Sat., September 24
Sun., September 25
Moshier section of the Beaver (10 AM-2 PM release, 400 cfs):
Sun., September 4
Taylorville section of the Beaver (all releases 10 AM-2 PM, 400 cfs):
Sat., September 3
Mon., September 5 (Labor Day)
Sat., September 10
Sat., September 24
Sun., September 25
Fall Paddling: Once the leaves drop normal rainfall and storage draw-down allows several weeks of paddling mid-Oct through end of Nov. Levels range from LOW to HAIR. Note: Reliant Power does allow hunting on its property in Stone Valley.
Permits are not required for this reach.
The Tub (I think)
Below the Tub (I think)
Below Colton Falls
Below Colton Fals
Island Falls: Panoramic View
Gradient: Stone Valley and Bottom Moose
Ferry overshoot at the Colton Boof
Colton Boof; where you want to be
Colton Boof Setup
Horseshoe Ledge in the Narrows
Left Channel of Narrows
Bottom of 200 Proof
High Line on Horseshoe Ledge
Ratt @ Raquette
Spin offa da Boof
Rescue at Colton Falls
The Boof at Colton Falls
Colton Falls--Near The Runout
Risa avoids the Tub
Making the right move
What a way to start the day !
Salto's Lookin' Great !
Mark that spot !
Let's Play "Follow the Leader !"
What Line ?
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Northeast boaters will again have the opportunity to boat in the Adirondacks this year on the Moose, Raquette, and Beaver rivers. Be sure to mark your calendars for these releases and join us for the Moosefest and Beaver River Rendezvous this year
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.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!