St. Regis, Middle Branch - 3. St. Regis Falls to Fort Jackson

St. Regis, Middle Branch, New York, US


3. St. Regis Falls to Fort Jackson (Silver Staircase)

Usual Difficulty III+(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 10.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 55 fpm
Max Gradient 80 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04268800 2.50 - 7.00 ft III+(IV) 01h10m 1.39 ft (too low)

River Description

Guidebook : Adirondack Canoe Waters, North Flow
by Paul Jamieson and Don Morris

The hi-light of this river section is the continuousness of the rapids. In the 7.1 miles from St. Regis Falls to Nicholville, there is literally only 100 yards of flatwater paddling. I cannot speak to the section from Nicholville to Fort Jackson, as I have never run this lower part.

Put in is at the base of the falls in St. Regis Falls at the campground. This campground is right on the river and has some nice cabins, if you want to make a weekend of it.
Start with 0.3 miles of class II water. At that point, you will see a horizon line. Here the river splits around a rock outcrop and drops about 8 feet. To the right of the rock, the drop is rated class III/IV and to the left, the drop is rated class IV. The line to the right has some rocks in the hydraulic at the base, so hitting the correct line is critical. The line to the left drops into a deceptively sticky hydraulic. Get out to scout on the side of the river you want to run. If you are going to carry, the right side is preferred.
Immediately below the drop, you encounter class III rapids. Then the river alternates between class II and III for 0.7 miles to a short flatwater section. This is the backwater from an old, broken dam. This is the only flatwater you will encounter on the entire trip. Carry this dam on the left. This site could be used as an alternate put-in.
Below the dam, you immediately hit class III water for about 0.5 miles to the pillars from an old bridge. Then the river alternates between class II and III for the next 2.0 miles. At low water levels, manuvering is required and at higher water levels, the river is full of small hydraulics.
The Lake Ozonia Outlet joins from the left 2.5 miles downstream from the broken dam. Here the river becomes easier. From here, you have 0.5 miles of Class I water to the Days Mill Road bridge (access point), then another 1.0 miles of class I water to the start of the 'gorge'. If the water is low, this section of class I water is where you will have the most trouble.
About 1.0 mile below the Days Mill Rd. bridge, you will notice that the banks start to get steeper and the rapids start to pick up again. The next 2 miles are referred to as the gorge. Soon the rapids have picked up to class II/III. The banks alternate between steep slopes and rock outcroppings. About 1 mile into the gorge, you will notice the remains of an old tannery mill. This is the site of a class III+ slide. Scouting is difficult due to the steepness of the banks. If you decide to forgo scouting, the preferred line starts on the right (not far right in the old dam diversion slot). There is a nice surfing hole at the base, although it is very shallow so forget about doing any cartwheels.
Below this slide, the river returns to class II/III for another mile to the route 11B bridge in Nicholville. Most parties take out on the right under the bridge.

At the right water levels, there are surfing opportunities along this run. The best bets are both above and below the broken dam at the start, and in the gorge. There are both glassy waves and waves with nice foam piles to be found. Most of these waves are 'one-trick-pony' waves, however, as you are unlikely to get back once you are washed off.

The river continues downstream below Nicholville for another 3.3 miles to Fort Jackson, with class II water. This section can be particularly rocky at low water levels. The take out is at the bridge in the hamlet.


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: 2016-04-05 21:08:52

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 20 2014 (1703 days ago)
K8paddles (156421)
A group of 6 canoeists + 3 kayakers from Ottawa, Canada ran this on April 19, 2014 at ~3.2 cfs.
Lovely day, some snow patches up in the trees, but river banks free and clear of ice and no
strainers, etc. Lots of friendly locals, curious about our river run. One local advised us to use
an alternate take out a short drive down river from the bridge at Converse Road. Rather than
parking @ the bridge (across from an old church), keep driving down river (up over the hill) a few
hundred meters to a park with picnic tables, bbq stands, etc. That way you get to run the last few
rapids after the bridge, and the river banks are less steep for the take-out.
April 27 2013 (2062 days ago)
Dave HowlettDetails
That strainer above the Nicholsville Bridge (reported below) is long gone now.
April 16 2013 (2073 days ago)
Matt MuirDetails
This past weekend some paddlers out of Ottawa were on the St Regis and encountered a well hidden
log. One of the paddlers has a POV video and some comments here:
Some other comments on our forum:
"Another fellow paddler wasn't so lucky and went through the exact same spot behind me and did get
caught in it. He apparently was very close to pulling out his knife to cut off his spray skirt. He
was also lucky and managed to get himself freed and ended up swimming.
"For the record I did not get caught, or pinned, on the log (I wouldn't necessarily call it a
strainer as there, luckily, were no branches on it).
"What happened to me, was seeing the log, but without enough time to go around it, I leaned into it
and climbed on top / over it. In an attempt to roll my boat over the log, a part of the log
protruding out caught my skirt at the top of my cockpit (near the pull) meaning that I was unable
to finish sliding over the log. As I was unable to pull my skirt, and wiggling out of it upside
down would have compromised my comfortable head out of the water position I considered cutting the
skirt. Fortunately I was able to shift the boat enough to get out (both myself and my boat were
downsteam of the log at this point, having traveled overtop of the log)."
Saw the tree today (the following day). Hard to spot, and it was the natural place paddlers would
find themselves on the river, on the outside of a turn.
Saw the strainer in question today, near boulders just above Nicholville bridge.
May 24 2002 (6052 days ago)
Charles LeducDetails
For a free, detailed map of the St Regis (section known as Silver Staircase, from the falls to Fort
Jackson), go to
The map is in French however (English to come), under "Canot-Cartes" (Canoe, Maps).
Other river maps you may want to distribute are welcome too.

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