Ottauquechee, Vermont, US
|Usual Difficulty||III+(V) (for normal flows)|
|OTTAUQUECHEE RIVER AT NORTH HARTLAND, VT|
|usgs-01151500||300 - 1500 cfs||III+(V)||01h14m||20 cfs (too low)|
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:
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:
(Updated by Clinton Begley 10/06/2014)