Saranac, New York, US
|Usual Difficulty||III-IV+ (for normal flows)|
|SARANAC RIVER AT PLATTSBURGH NY|
|usgs-04273500||4.30 - 10.00 ft||III-IV+||02h09m||3.66 ft (too low)|
Guidebook : Adirondack Canoe Waters, North Flow
by Paul Jamieson and Don Morris
Don Morris, 166 Park Ave, Saranac Lake, NY 12893
NOTE: The gauge listed is downstream, and is affected by power generation dams which are located between this reach and the gauge. However, it is the best reference available.
Put in at Silver Lake Road is under dispute and could be problematic. Most parties start upstream at Union Falls (see accompanying description).
Another put-in option accesses the river from Casey Rd. (Casey road runs just north of the river from Silver Lake Rd. to Union Falls). From the Silver Lake Rd. bridge, head north a couple hundred yards to the intersection with Casey Rd., and take a left. About 0.9 miles down this road there is a new (new several years ago) 100 yard trail down to the river marked with yellow canoe carry discs. This trail is on State Land and is about 50 yards upstream from where the state land starts along the road. This put-in allows privacy that the Silver Lake Road bridge put-in does not. It also adds a pretty river section to the beginning of the run. This is the preferred takeout for the upstream Union Falls to Silver Lake section of the Saranac. Those running from Union Falls to this takeout should walk down the takeout trail before starting the run so they can identify the takeout from the river.
The run (from the bridge) starts with a 1 1/2 mile flatwater, followed by Teft Pond Falls (Class IV+). Can be carried on either right or left, although the right side is much better. Next mile or so is a good stretch of class III-IV water, after which it settles down to class II/III or III for a while, before going through one more short III+ section (can be scouted on the right). Difficulty eases when the No. Branch comes in. End of trip has the 'Separator' - a class III ledgy section, followed by a short rapid under a bridge. This last section has some play possibilities at the right water levels.
Below levels of 4.5 feet, it is recommended to take out at the junction with the North Branch. The river between the No. Branch junction and the 'Separator' can be very shallow and not worth it.
Note on access:
A comment was added to this river description from Darron Laughland, which said in effect that if you asked the landowner near the bridge (house is on river right, upstream of the bridge) prior to putting on, he would allow access to the river at the bridge. I have also heard another party say this was his experience as well. For many parties, however, this has not been the case.
We don't believe he legally has the right to prevent access to the river at the bridge, as long as you stay adjacent to the bridge on the right-of-way to the road. However, he certainly feels that he does and is very vocal and insistent on it, to the point of being quite unpleasant and even calling the police on some boaters in the past.
It seems that if you want to try to put in here, ask the landownder first if you want to avoid a confrontation. Otherwise, you can always put in upstream at either Union Falls or the canoe carry trail.
My apologies to Darron, but I felt it best if I remove his comment from this river description. Thanks to Brian Hart for calling this to my attention and supplying up to date information on the canoe carry trail.
Plattsburgh Area Reaches