This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II-III(IV)
Length 5.5 Miles
Flow Range 300 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 30 minutes ago 136 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 04/07/2019 9:51 pm

River Description

Review courtesy of TommyCBoat.

I made my personal first decent of the Black in Cavendish Vt. Carlton Road to Upper Falls Road with NHAMC today. No gage, no experience so I'll call it a medium level based on comments I heard.

NHAMC ran it as a class III and I won't argue. The first drop was billed as a III. I looked at it too long and listened to others declare it a IV- and finally chose to walk it (wimpy wimpy). Sean attempted to run it solo in a Mad River Freedom (16' tandem)with dramatic results. The short swim didn't seem to faze him though. John, Bruce and Dan, kayakers all ran various lines without any drama. Below that it started with fast class I building to fast class II and finally III.

As anyone paddling today is well aware it got colder and windier as the day went on. I was glad to be in the Cascade C1 and pitied the openboaters when the wind blew up the valley.

The gorge section was pretty sweet. Some of us had been hanging back surfing everything we could. We caught up to the main group while they scouted. The consensus seemed to be "plenty of water watch out for the holes". I was still wishing I'd not psyched myself out at the first drop so I took that as my cue and went for it. It quite reminded me of the gorge at New Boston at 5'. Tight and fluid with big waves and small eddies. No Decoration Drop though. 

Below the Gorge it was II-III boogie water for a few more miles to the covered bridge takeout.

I was pooped by the time we finished which is to say it was a pretty great day.
Some of us drove up to and walked Cavendish Gorge Which has been compared to the Flume in Franconia Notch minus the boardwalk and cover charge. It's well worth seeing but I won't be paddling there any time soon... YIKES.

Rapid Descriptions

4 Fingers

Class - III Mile - 0.1
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

There are four different lines (drops of 3-5 feet) depending on water level, at 700cfs most were runnable - but there were some rocks to avoid underneath the drops.

The drop on far river right is the meatiest but most fun, just don't plug or you'll hit a rock. 

The drop on far river left is pretty straightforward and the easiest to get through. 

Can be scouted from the put-in.


Black River Gorge

Class - III Mile - 3
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

The 'gorge' section runs for about a mile and is more narrow with a higher concentration of small drops and holes than the first three miles. 

There are some places to get out and potentially scout, but most are read-and-run and the rapids flow into each other so it's hard to tell where one stops and another starts.

At 700 cfs it was mostly class II with a few class III moves and holes thrown in here and there. 


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Tom Byrne
2 years ago

Run Is about 5 miles and took about an hour at 800 cfs. 7.5 miles on main page needs editing. We beat our shuttle ride by an hour thinking it was longer run. Beautiful river.

Gage Descriptions

Note that the USGS gage in North Springfield is downstream of a USACE flood control dam; and therefore actually only shows what the dam is releasing. It can not be relied upon for accurate river levels in the Cavendish section.  CFS readings from the gage should just be used as an indicator of general watershed conditions.  For a more accurate reading go to the USACE North Springfield Dam Report Page and look at the "inflow" number.

The USGS gage has been set to a very wide (300-3000) flow range because of this.  Treat any level information is approximate unless verified.

Directions Description

Put-in is near: 40 Carlton Road, Cavendish, VT.

There is a bridge but limited parking, access to river is super easy. Just be respectful of the private proptery, which is for everyone to use if they keep in clean according to the sign. 

Take-out is near: 1870 Upper Falls Road, Cavendish, VT. There is a covered bridge and a small pull off area to park. Total run is 5.5 miles.

Note that there are additional possibilities for put-in's and take-out's.  One rumored take-out location is furthur downstream near 43.37, -72.5147.

No Accident Reports



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VT Supreme Court Protects Whitewater Boating on the Green River

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AW Wins Court Battle Protecting Green River (VT) Boating

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The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is currently investigating opportunities for restoring natural functions to the Connecticut River Watershed in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont.  TNC's efforts are focused on reconnecting rivers and streams, restoring floodplain forests, and managing flows for people and nature. AW is working with TNC, and we are hopeful that this process will benefit several whitewater rivers and their enjoyment. 


Skip Morris


Matt Muir


kipp m dixon


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1199849 04/18/11 Skip Morris
1199894 04/22/11 Skip Morris
1191825 05/25/01 n/a n/a
1199854 04/18/11 Skip Morris
1199855 04/18/11 Skip Morris
1199857 04/18/11 Skip Morris
1199858 04/18/11 Skip Morris
1199895 04/22/11 Skip Morris
1211856 04/07/19 kipp m dixon directions to the river
1211857 04/07/19 kipp m dixon updated stats
1199851 04/18/11 Skip Morris
1199852 04/18/11 Skip Morris