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)
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
For a free, detailed map of the St Regis (section known as Silver Staircase, from the falls to Fort Jackson), go to www.cartespleinair.org.
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.
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.
That strainer above the Nicholsville Bridge (reported below) is long gone now.
5 years ago
by Matt Muir
The gauge is on the West Branch of the St. Regis River in Parishville.
Generally, 2.5 ft. is considered the minimum level, with a level over 3.0 ft. more fun. I know people who have pinballed down as low as 2.0 feet.
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