This photo needs editing.
Difficulty IV-V
Length 3 Miles
Gauge RAQUETTE RIVER AT PIERCEFIELD NY
Flow Range 500 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 2450 [CFS] ℹ️
Next Release 2019-07-06
Reach Info Last Updated 02/23/2018 5:58 pm

River Description


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.

 

2018 Releases:

July 7 - July 21 - August 4 - August 18 - September 1 - September 2 - September 3 (High Water)

 

Directions to Put-in/Parking

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).

Take-out


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.

Midway Take-out/Put-in


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.

CAMPING


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.

Nudity/urination/alcohol

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.

Nearby rivers:

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, Taylorville
Beaver River, Moshier
Beaver River, Eagle.

Nearby runs of similar difficulty to Stone Valley that could be flowing in April/May and Oct/Nov
Grasse S. Branch, Twin Falls section
Oswegatchie, E. Branch Flatrock to Edwards
Oswegatchie, 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)

Trout Brook

 

Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

Rapid Descriptions

Colton Falls

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0
Starting at the base of the Colton Dam, this 60' drop is a continuous series of ledges, slots, and slides that ends with a mean river-wide hole at the bottom. There are short pools and a few eddies that make this easier than it may sound at levels below 900cfs. (At high flows, the bottom hole is a keeper!) Slots do have high pin potential. The river right channel avoids the bottom hole, but it is technical, shallow, and unforgiving if you flip. Scout this using the trails and on river right. Easy to portage using the trails on the right.

Tannery Ledges

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
Immediately after the short pool below Colton Falls. You can run the far left slots (pourovers are sticky above 800cfs), boof the middle ledges or run the far right "S channel" (easiest option). Scout the left slots from the left bank, right channel from the right bank, but the middle can only be scouted from below the drop. (Note: this is one of the few drops that you can't use the trail network to scout from, so scramble along river's edge after Colton Falls.)
Lat/longitude verified by GPS.

Mushroom Ledges

Class - III+ Mile - 0.35
This horizon line is a couple hundred yards below Tannery. This 4' pourover ledge has a "mushroom" water feature in the middle of the main flow which backs up a mean hole. The feature is created by either a rock or a pothole sieve that acts like a "geyser" creating the mushroom. There are numerous options to run this drop. Scout river right. (At high levels, far left along the bank is a fun, safe line.)
Lat/longitude verified by GPS.

The Narrows

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.5
A 90-degree bend to the left as the river cuts through bedrock marks the start of the Narrows. An island separates the Left Channel (5.0) from the Middle (5.0) and Far Right channels (V+). The Middle channel rejoins the Left channel just above the Tub (5.1). The ledge-slide that forms the Tub marks the end of the Narrows.

The Left Channel is the most common route and starts with a technical ledge called "Horseshoe Ledge", which has multiple lines. The easiest is to run the "high" far right line next to the island boofing the far right part of the ledge. All other lines through this drop are more difficult and bring the The horseshoe hole into play. The hole is very sticky at levels above 500cfs.

Horseshoe ledge is followed by a fast moving pool, which funnels all water through "The Slot" (IV). Fifty yards below the slot is the Tub, catch an eddy on river left 20-30 yards below the slot to scout The Tub.

The Middle Channel and far Right Channel are seldom run and should be extensively scouted from river right. Take out before the river bends to the left.

A MISHAP IN ANY CHANNEL IN THE NARROWS CAN BE TERMINAL. RESCUE IS VERY DIFFICULT, AS WAS SHOWN BY THE FATALITY DURING THE 2002 RELEASE. MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR YOU, HAVE A GOOD SAFETY PLAN FOR YOUR GROUP, AND ENJOY THIS AWESOME RAPID.

The Tub

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.75
The horizon line 50yds below 'The Slot', marks the blind entrance to 'The Tub'. The 50yd CL II-III stretch above the tub has some sticky pourovers above 500cfs, but they are easy to miss. There are plenty of eddies; eddy left.

The Tub is a two-tiered drop separated by a very small/narrow 'pool'. The 'pool' is really a house sized pothole the river has carved out creating a "Tub" between the two ramp/ledges.

The first ledge is a bit of a blind drop and being off line will either result in a piton or getting a beating in the Tub. (Sore ankles, broken paddles, and humble pie are regularly served at the Tub.)

The hole at the bottom of the second ramp/ledge is very sticky but is in a big pool. Run the second ledge far right or far left on the main flow. (Self rescue can be difficult if you have to swim, so make sure you have a plan or you will be walking for a while.)

The far left line avoids 'The Tub', but is filled with potholes and rocks that could pin a boat. The far left is normally only run at high levels...its pretty ugly even then. Scout the tub from river left. (You can scout from the Island right of the Tub, but this makes the entrance a bit more difficult.)

Island Falls

Class - 5.0 Mile - 0.85
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
An island forms two channels. "Da-Falls" (IV) are left of the Island, scout Left. (Not recommended below 500cfs) "Particle Accelerator" (5.0) is right of the Island. A technical entrance and crankin' water are the characteristics of this drop. A clean line avoids being pushed into the river right wall and avoids being funneled into the slot left of the big rooster tail at the bottom. The slot is called '50:50'(5.1) and run by very very few and only at low flows. Not a recommended line. Flipping in any part if this rapid is ugly. Scout from the Island. (You can still portage this drop after scouting from the island.)

200 Proof

Class - IV Mile - 1
This 200yd rapid marks the end of the first mile which drops 200'. The entrance is a 100yd CL III boulder field which starts just below the big pool at the bottom of Island Falls. Rock ledges on river right, channel the main flow to river left. The crux of the rapid is a CL IV slot along the left bank. (The "200 Proof" slot is very similar to the left channel of "Tannery Ledges," though not as difficult). The river makes a 90-degree turn to the right just below the slot and the the rapid ends with 100-yd CL III runout called "hangover ledges". These ledges can be pretty sticky at about 900cfs. (Scout left about 50yds into the boulder field.)

The tree in the picture has been removed (20 August '04).

Lat/longitude verified by GPS.

Last Two Miles

Class - II+ Mile - 1.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The river's character drastically changes the last two miles of Stone Valley. There is one class III rapid, "S-Turn", in the last two miles; the gradient is only 50'/mi; and the channel is wide and shallow at levels below 900cfs. Below 500cfs the river is "boney". I don't recommend paddling the last 1.5 miles below 180cfs so use the midway takeout.

S-Turn

Class - III Mile - 2
Rapid Thumbnail Missing
The entrance of the S turn has a couple of sticky pourovers that are easy to manuever around. The meat of this rapid is a channel wide ledge- hole that is easy to punch below 800cfs. A nice foam pile forms about 10 yards below the pourover at flows above 500cfs (the hole is shallow at these flows.) At High Flows this is a great playspot and nice waves form just below this.

Comments

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Tim Kelley
|
11 years ago

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.

Release Schedule

Date Start Time End Time Flow
07/06/2019 10:00:00 14:00:00 0
07/20/2019 10:00:00 14:00:00 0
08/17/2019 10:00:00 14:00:00 0
08/31/2019 10:00:00 14:00:00 0
09/02/2019 10:00:00 14:00:00 0

Gage Descriptions

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.

Flows


The range of flows combined with numerous lines through all rapids, gives the river "multiple personalities".

MIN 125cfs Class IV+ creeking (upper mile only)
LOW 500-900cfs Class IV-V (CL IV+ below 500cfs)
MED 900-1200cfs Class V (Holes become very sticky at about 900cfs)
HIGH 1200-2000cfs Class V-V(+) Holes become keepers
HAIR Above 2000cfs Class V(+). Think Bottom Moose over 6 feet with no pools between drops.
Plan on spending 3 times longer scouting, setting safety, and portaging than actually running rapids.



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.

Directions Description


Directions to Put-in/Parking
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).

Take-out
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.

Midway Take-out/Put-in
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. Be sure not to paddle past the small cliff on the right that has painting on it.

CAMPING
The State Campground at Higley Flow State Park near South Colton is open from Memorial weekend through Labor Day weekend and is less than 10 miles from the put-in.

 

Nudity/urination/alcohol
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.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2002-09-04 Medium Fatality Failed Rescue Read More

Alerts

News

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Adirondack Whitewater Release Schedule Announced

2/27/2019
Robert Nasdor

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

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Moose River Video

1/18/2011
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.

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Alex Barham

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Matt Muir

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Tim Kelley

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1205516 12/04/15 Alex Barham
1208972 02/23/18 Alex Barham Releases added
1195136 05/29/09 Matt Muir Changed Release Schedule for 2009.
1191181 05/06/08 Tim Kelley n/a
1197353 03/05/10 Matt Muir 2010 Release Schedule
1205739 12/29/15 Alex Barham
1199919 04/26/11 Matt Muir Updated release schedule; added abstract.
1206051 04/05/16 Alex Barham Added local info