Raquette - 4) Stone Valley: Colton to Brown's Bridge

Raquette, New York, US


4) Stone Valley: Colton to Brown's Bridge

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 3 Miles
Max Gradient 200 fpm

What Line?

What Line?
Photo of Jim Mumme by Phantomboater taken 08/01/02 @ 720 cfs

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04266500 500 - 2000 cfs IV-V 00h49m 1520 cfs (running)
Real-time flow information not dependable. Use flow forecast provided by Reliant Stone Valley Forecast. (See 'Flow Info' tab.) Real-time flow information not dependable. Use flow forecast provided by Reliant Stone Valley Forecast. See 'Flow Info' tab.

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).


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.


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.

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

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-02-23 17:58:41


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Colton Falls5.0Putin Hazard Photo
0.2Tannery LedgesIV+
0.4Mushroom LedgesIII+Photo
0.5The NarrowsIV+Photo
0.8The Tub5.0Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.9Island Falls5.0Waterfall
1.0200 ProofIVPhoto
1.1Last Two MilesII+

Rapid Descriptions

Colton Falls (Class 5.0)

The Boof at Colton Falls

The Boof at Colton Falls
Photo of Stu Koster by Ratt Boy (KHCC) taken 09/01/03 @ 700 cfs

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)
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 0.4)


Photo taken 08/31/02 @ 720cfs

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)

Horseshoe Ledge in the Narrows

Horseshoe Ledge in the Narrows

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.


The Tub (Class 5.0, Mile 0.8)

What Line?

What Line?
Photo of Jim Mumme by Phantomboater taken 08/01/02 @ 720 cfs

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 0.9)
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 1.0)

Bottom of 200 Proof

Bottom of 200 Proof
Photo taken 08/31/02 @ 720cfs

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)
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 2.0)
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.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 22 2007 (4196 days ago)
Tim KelleyDetails
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.


Calendar Control Date:
Calendar by Date by Title

September 2018

Raquette Release Schedule
08:00 am -5:00 pm est
full release 10am - 3pm720-720 cfs

Raquette Release Schedule
08:00 am -5:00 pm est


Raquette Release Schedule Colton,NY runs 07/09/16 - 09/03/18
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