Saranac, New York, US
|Usual Difficulty||II-III (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||25 fpm|
|Max Gradient||30 fpm|
|SARANAC RIVER AT PLATTSBURGH NY|
|usgs-04273500||4.00 - 10.00 ft||II-III||02h16m||3.72 ft (too low)|
The picture posted on this page by John Gangemi of AW is of the Kent's Falls section, which
is immediately upstream of this section. Currently, there is no legal access to Kent's Falls,
a 1/2 mile class 4 bypass reach. The dam is currently being re-licensed, and access is under
This stretch of the river can be broken into three distinct pieces:
1. Foot of Kent's Falls to Military Turnpike - 7 miles - Class I
Put in at the Fisherman's parking area, just downstream of the Kent's Falls Powerhouse. Class I water with no real obstructions down through Morrisonville, then to the dam at the Military Turnpike. Flatwater last mile to the dam. Take out at the parking lot between the dam and the water intake for the power plant.
2. Military Turnpike (Route 190) to Imperial Mill - 2.5 miles - Class II/III
Park at the parking lot at the dam. This section generally needs more water, but the level is dependent on dam operations so the gauge may not be a good indicator. Generally, we like the gauge to be at least 5 feet. To put in, carry across the bridge to the river left, then follow the ATV/Mt. Bike trail down to the river below the first drop. This first drop may be runnable with alot of water, but it is shallow at the base so beware.
Paddle easy water (class I-II) until the Interstate comes into sight. There is an old wood crib dam to be run here (class II-III). Scout on the right. Can run either the small drop on the right, or the slot on the left. Small slide immediately after the drop.
At this point, the water diverted by the power plant comes back in. Easy rapids, then flatwater to a broken dam. Carry on the right. This may be runnable by someone with alot more guts than we have. 15 foot drop into a nasty hrdraulic. Remember, there is broken cement (sharp!) in here, too. Put in immediately below the dam. Rapids soon die out to a flatwater for 3/4 mile to the Imperial Mill Dam. Take out and carry on the left.
3. Imperial Mill Dam to Lake Champlain - 3 miles - Class II
This is the section most often run. Probably runnable below 4, but not very interesting. Starts to get fun at 5.0 feet, and gets increasingly better as water level rises. Has been run as high as 11 feet.
Put in immediately below the Imperial Mill dam. There are a couple of holes at the base of the dam that can be fun surfing (shallow!). Downstream, good rapids for 1/4 mile, with some surfing chances at 5.0 feet and above. Rapids die out for a while.
After about 1 mile, rapids pick up again. Good surfing for the next 1/4 mile to the South Catherine St. bridge, and again immediately below the bridge. Rapids die off again until the Broad Street Bridge.
Immediately below the Broad Street Bridge, there is a series of 3 or 4 waves that make for nice surfing at the right water levels. The bridge was rebuilt in 2001 and the river in this area is still changing due to rocks droppped into the river during construction. Soon after this, rapids die out as you approach the lake. Take out at a boat launch on river right.
Plattsburgh Area Reaches