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Difficulty III+(V)
Length Miles
Gauge OTTAUQUECHEE RIVER AT NORTH HARTLAND, VT
Flow Range 300 - 1500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 40 minutes ago 900 [CFS] 👍 ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/18/2018 8:40 pm

River Description


All rapids are an easy boat-scout except for "Well Enough". "Well Enough" is visible downstream from the Rte. 4 bridge. Make sure you get out and scout because you'd better leave "Well Enough" alone.

Check out the description in New England Nuggets from the AW Journal archives. From this description:

New England Nuggets
One Car Wonders
By Nathan Lewis
...
Quechee Gorge, Ottaquechee River, Quechee, Vermont

"A calculated risk adventure for experts"--Appalachian Whitewater Volume III Quechee Gorge, the stunningly deep but fairly short canyon formed by the Ottaquechee river in Quechee, Vermont, has been a small tourist attraction for about a century. Originally a major impediment to east-west traffic, it is now the site of Route 4's sturdy concrete span. For some time as we passed through on our way to Killington or the Hudson River Gorge, we would pull over and ignore the frozen yogurt and T-shirt vendors and peer over the railing at the whitewater far below.

From that dizzying perspective, the river was indecipherable. What was it like? How do you get down there?

The Quechee Gorge run starts at Dewey's Mills dam, about a quarter mile upstream of the bridge, and finishes at a picnic area about a quarter mile downstream. It's beautiful class III at the medium-low levels, except for one congested Class V just downstream of the bridge.

You'll find some classic creeky whitewater and nifty little play holes, but running the Gorge is as much about finding oneself within a beautiful spot, the gray walls sailing hundreds of feet up to meet the forest's edge, and the bridge leaping from rim to rim. If it's sunny you can expect a few surprised New Yorkers videoing you from far above.

The difficult spot, regretfully named "Washermachine", drops 6 feet through a four foot wide slot. It's an easy portage or scout on the right. It also defines the lower limit of navigability--a nasty rock appears in the middle of this slot when water levels drop. It's been run with the rock visible, but anxious pins have resulted. At higher levels some greedy holes appear against an alcove in the left wall just below the slot -- so use your best judgment.

This slot is also a favorite place for wood to lodge, so check it out beforehand. Back in the 70's, when the Gorge was getting its first regular descents, a local veteran of many descents decided he was in too much of a hurry to scout for strainers. The first plastic Hollowforms had arrived in town, and our eager paddler rushed straight to the put in to test the newfangled wonder. After bouncing through the upper stretch he confidently powered into the slot. Unfortunately, a good size log had wedged there; miraculously, the paddler swam free as his boat pinned, folded, and ripped in two.

DETAILS: Dewey's Mills dam is a flow-through dam, so the water in the Gorge approximates natural flow. Quechee Gorge is a high-to medium- water run, runnable in the spring and after rains. If the portage ledge at Washermachine is underwater, you may want to think twice about making the run. The put in is accessed by driving North from the Rte. 4 bridge along a short road. Picnic benches on the left, where the river makes a small left turn, signal the take out.

 

Lat/longitude coords are approximate, from online maps.

GAUGE NOTE: The old Army Corps link is dead. I'll leave it in place in case it ever comes online again, but the newest flow info can be found here:
http://nae-rrs2.usace.army.mil:7777/pls/cwmsweb/apitable.table_display_menu?gagecode=NHD

It's not as friendly as a histogram, but you can tinker with the interval and range parameters to get something useful.

I've created a google doc of the last 365 days of data for inflow, outflow and precipitation. Those interested can see correlation trends between inflow from Dewey Mill Dam and the outflow at Hartford. For what it's worth: 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/12hdtKIJmjXkCShL0qL_Noosf8dLHYpnY6_GH9gtk0hw/edit?usp=sharing
 
(Updated by Clinton Begley 10/06/2014)

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

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10 years ago

ran the gorge from Dewie's down to the picnic area at the end of the gorge with no portage on 5-2-09 couldnt believe how much fun the run was and how many people walked right up to us and asked us how it was and we were getting good lucks and great jobs all the way from and back to the car if you like pretty rivers and like a class V creek drop in the middle of your III+'s then this short run will appeal to you.....as far as the flow goes i heard from a person on NPMB that the gage for this river thats on this page is for tyhe damn down stream anyone know this to be 100% true?

Gage Descriptions

The portage route for "Well Enough" becomes the sneak route at higher water.

The listed online gauge is actually the outflow from a reservoir below this reach, so it's a very rough approximation of the level in the Gorge. here is a new link to the modeled inflow data from for the Queechee (courtesy of Greg Hanlon): http://rsgisias.crrel.usace.army.mil/nae/cwms_realtime.ProjectPage?gagecode=NHD. (Thanks to Ed Meyer for alerting us to this resource.)

NOTE: The above Army Corps link is dead. I'll leave it in place in case it ever comes online again, but the newest flow info can be found here: http://nae-rrs2.usace.army.mil:7777/pls/cwmsweb/apitable.table_display_menu?gagecode=NHD

It's not as friendly as a histogram, but you can tinker with the interval and range parameters to get something useful. 
(Updated by Clinton Begley 10/06/2014)

 

Eric Klem contributed:

Above 1500cfs, you can no longer portage Well Enough and you must run the sneak because the water is flowing over the portage rocks. The sneak is very high consequence and surprisingly hard. There is a hidden guardian rock at the entrance to the sneak which tends to push people away from the wall where it must be run. Unfortunately, the entire sneak is sloped towards the hole in Well Enough, which at these levels becomes a keeper. Above 2000 or so, the water actually slopes uphill for a ways after the hole and I am pretty confident that a swimmer would be unable to get out of there on their own and it would be extremely difficult to quickly get a rope to someone. Above 2000cfs, the rest of the river gets pretty pushy and tends to flip people a lot.  My own feeling would be that the upper limit should be no higher than 2000 and maybe even 1500 because of the inability to portage well enough at higher levels.  It is hard to say because we regularly run it at much higher levels but there have also been some relatively tense moments. At 2000cfs, I would call it class III+/IV with class V consequences, assuming the sneak is run.

Directions Description


Eric Klem shared:

Park in one of the two lots immediately west of the Route 4 bridge over the gorge. To get to the putin, walk North through the picnic area to the trail that is there and take the trail all the way to the dam. At the dam, you must climb down the rocks all of the way to the water; the dam area is not runnable. This climb requires agility and good footwear. Once you finish the run, marked by the gorge ending and the river widening, paddle to the river left bank. There is a trail there that will take you back up the side of the river to the Route 4 bridge which you walk across to get to the parking lot.

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Matt Muir

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clinton begley

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Alex Barham

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1191841 08/20/04 n/a n/a
1195590 06/28/09 Matt Muir Minor formatting change; added info about USACE website.
1195593 06/29/09 Matt Muir Minor syntax changes
1195657 07/20/09 Matt Muir Added flow info and directions from local boater Eric Klem.
1201255 05/08/12 Matt Muir Updated link to USACE gauge.
1203686 10/06/14 clinton begley updated gauge link to description
1202058 05/08/13 Matt Muir New link to USACE flow site.
1203685 10/06/14 clinton begley updated gauge info
1203687 10/06/14 clinton begley added google doc link with inflow data
1209259 04/18/18 Alex Barham Location