West Canada Creek - Big Brook to Route 8

West Canada Creek, New York, US


Big Brook to Route 8

Usual Difficulty III (for normal flows)
Length 3.5 Miles

Hans tries to sneak up on a big hole

Hans tries to sneak up on a big hole
Photo of Hans Merritt by Adrian taken 04/15/06 @ 2500cfs+ @ wilmurt

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01343060 600 - 10000 cfs III 01h16m 693 cfs (running)
The upper limit is a rough estimate. If it looks good to you, go ahead and scout it.

River Description

This section of the West Canada is generally run from the bridge over Big Brook on Haskell Road to the Scenic Lookout at the Route 8 Bridge in Nobleboro. Haskell Road has a few gates which are closed in the spring and fall, but you can generally get to pothole falls (about .5 mile from Big Brook put-in) without hiking.


This is a solid Class III run with a class IV (pothole falls) near the beginning. Haskell Road (a seasonal dirt road) runs parallel to the river and can be used as an escape route if needed. Most of this land is private hunting camps however, so use discretion.


The put-in at Big Brook is also home to a couple Class IV creeking drops upstream from the bridge if you want to bushwhack up to them. Paddle a half mile of II-III water to pothole falls. Eddy out for this one to take a look, and notice the second hole after the falls. If the falls dont get you that hole can. The rest of the river is II-III to the confluence with the South Branch near Nobleboro Bridge on Route 8.


Comments from Rob Yager: North Branch of the West Canada

Good intermediate run with outstanding scenery. Early spring the gate may be closed, so you\'re looking at a mile plus of prepaddle portage. Hopefully you can drive right up just past the ledges you can see from the dirt road and put in.

Starting at the pothole falls when hiking, may seem more appealing than starting above where you can get a 3+ ledge to warmup on before the class 4 falls. At about 3000+ cfs the falls has an \'easier\' line to the right, punch the 2 holes and do not boof too far right, look out for the stomping hole that can be easily avoided to either side.

Class 2 leads into some beautiful class 3, lots of eddies and even a real good wave on river left next to a small eddy and a big boulder.

If you have a full day, mix this one in with the South Branch first, then the North Branch and lastly the Ohio Gorge. I imagine the N. Branch would be a blast at 5000+ cfs or even up around 10,000 cfs (not unheard of). Everything would get much harder though, and the Ohio Gorge...yikes!

See you on the water...

Robert Yager


See Also:



Tug Hill - Old Forge Area Reaches

Beaver (1. Moshier)                               Beaver (2. Eagle)                                 Beaver (3. Taylorville)

Black (1.)                                                Black (2.)                                             Black (3.)

Black (4.)                                                Black (5.)                                             Black, S. Branch

Cincinnati Creek                                     Crystal Creek                                       Deer River (Section 1)

Deer River (Section 2)                        Fish Creek, E. Branch                          Independence River (1. Upper) 

Independence River (2. Main)               Indian (S.Br. Moose trib.)                     Little Black Creek

Little Woodhull Creek                             Mad River                                           Mill Creek 

Mohawk (1.)                                           Moose (1. Middle)                                Moose (2. Lower) 

Moose (3. Bottom)                                 Moose, Middle Branch                          Moose, S. Branch (1.)  

Moose, S. Branch (2.)                            Negro Brook                                       Otter Creek  

Roaring Brook (Brokeback Gorge)    West Canada Creek (1.)                      West Canada Creek (2. Ohio Gorge) 

West Canada Creek, S. Branch                Woodhull Creek (Upper)                     Woodhull Creek (Middle) 

Woodhull Creek (Miracle Mile)


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group



StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-14 18:52:24


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Big Brook Put-InIIPutin
0.5Pothole FallsIVWaterfall
3.5Nobleboro Bridge WaveIITakeout Playspot

Rapid Descriptions

Big Brook Put-In (Class II)
If the gate is open you can get to the bridge at Big Brook. There is room to park before and after the bridge on the right. The river is moving good right here at the put-in. Big Brook itself can also be a fun run.

Pothole Falls (Class IV, Mile 0.5)
This is a good big drop about 8 feet into a gnarly hole, followed by another hole and then for good measure one more. Run at higher levels this offers a few better lines.

Nobleboro Bridge Wave (Class II, Mile 3.5)
River right is the scenic lookout on Route 8 where you can take out. Above the bridge you find an old dam that creates a small play wave.

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