White River - 1.) Upper

White River, Vermont, US


1.) Upper (Rochester to Bethel)

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 20 Miles

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01142500 42 - 2000 cfs I-II 00h18m 49 cfs (running)
Upper limit for best boatability uncertain. Please help your fellow boaters with a comment or report.

River Description

Information provided by Nate Mulherin

"Last Friday, 6/11/04, I canoed (OC-2) the 11-mi Stockbridge-to-Bethel section of the White, and found it to be on the low side at 1210 cfs on the West Hartford gage (mean flow over the 3 hrs we were out there) and 42 cfs at the Ayers Brk gage). But we floated the entire distance, finding those elusive slots between the rocks. It made for studious route-finding at each drop, but that was half the fun. Several of the drops above Gaysville were still Class 2-3, but all were quite manageable and friendly at his volume. Lower flow would result in alot of painted rocks. Beautiful river."

Alan Darling shared:

I have kayaked the section from Stockbridge to Bethel twice this year (2004). The first time, the downstream gauge was at 2800, and the second time that gauge was at 3200. As noted elsewhere, the downstream gauge is not the best indicator of the river, but it should be taken into account. The trip from Stockbridge to Bethel is about 11 miles, and it has steady rapids for the first 9 miles before becoming flat for the last two miles. These are mostly class 2 rapids, although the Gaysville rapid is probably a 2+, with some fairly big waves. We were following some significant rains the second time I ran it, and friends who had run it two days before (when the water had been even higher) said that one rapid, called S-turn, had become Class 4 at high level, and that the Gaysville rapid had become Class 3 or 3-plus. When I ran it at 3200 two days later, there were a couple of 2-plus or 3-minus rapids, and a number of stretches with some big waves, probably 3 to 6 feet high.

I would rate this as an advanced beginner river at high water, and as a beginner river at lower levels, although the Gaysville rapid is a tough one for a rank beginner. It is more difficult than Fife Brook when you exclude Zoar Gap, and at good water levels, a lot more fun because it doesn't have the long stretches of flat water. It is also more difficult than the Townshend Dam section of the West River, but not as difficult as the Ball Mountain Dam section of the West River. Many people pull out just below the Gaysville rapid; however, a good day-long trip can be had by going the whole way to Bethel (pullout point is Peavine Park). The scenery is excellent all the way.

One additional note: watch out for the strainers! There were multiple strainers both times I ran it, and a friend who has run it many times said that this river seems to generate many strainers.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2018-04-30 21:10:05

Rapid Descriptions

icon of message No rapids entered. If you know names, and locations of the rapids please contact and advise the StreamTeam member for this run.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
April 29 2018 (205 days ago)
stroupjt0 (159916)
Yesterday, April 28th, 2018, I ran the White River in the RASTA Disastour, which is an awesome
event - https://www.rastavt.org/ The section of the White River from D's Doghouse near Buffalo Farm
Road to roughly the USFS Rochester Ranger Station at about Quarry Hill Farm Road where the White
River flows under Route 100 was in perfect condition at this water level. The conditions at the
Ayers Brook gage read 241.00cfs on 04/28/2018 at 11:42:56 just as we were on the river. All I can
say is that the river flow was perfect for a delightful paddle: Plenty of fast moving water, some
good riffles and some nice waves; perhaps, a couple of Class 2 (maybe) rapids. There is, however, a
mandatory portage for a river wide strainer that exists just as you pass the Hancock Building
Supply. You'll see the old sheds on the right. Continue and make the next right turn in the river,
but as it straightens again, you must exit on the rocks to the left. Portage down the very
convenient beach, rocky shore and put in just below the strainer. The river flow was perfect in
this section at these levels.
April 29 2013 (2031 days ago)
Jack GillDetails
Ran the Stockbridge to Bethel section on 4/28/13. Had not run this river or section before, but
since there is a dearth of published info on this section post Hurricane Irene, I figured this
might help. We put in just downstream of Stockbridge Center on a roadside pull-off on Rt. 107. Took
out about 7 miles downstream at another Rt. 107 roadside pull-off which is downstream of Gaysville
center and just upstream of the Tosier (sp) Restaurant. We ran the river at what I would describe
as a lowish medium level. The online Ayers Brook gage was reading about 75 cfs and the White River
at West Hartford Gage was reading about 1700cfs. In only a few spots where the river had really
gotten scoured and made wide by the Hurricane did the boats scrap the bottom. All the rapids were
full enough and most had clean multiple lines. In my opinion there were two rapids that approached
the Class 3 level. Both were upstream of Gaysville. The first one (of these two) encountered was a
relatively straight forward abrupt drop and chaotic follow-up with some hole dodging required. It
was boat scouted. The second one was probably slightly harder and is better described as an S -turn
with holes and some large boulders (again this was upstream of Gaysville). This second rapid (the S
turn) was followed by about 75 yards of very fast water flowing into a river wide pine tree
strainer. The strainer at this level was a mandatory portage. If you swam in the S turn there is
plenty of time to swim to shore before the strainer, but boat retrieval would be difficult. The
strainer is beefy, healthy, and new - having come down in late winter or early spring. The strainer
is also visible from the road if you are heading towards Bethel on Rt 107 (again before you get to
Gaysville). This was the only river-wide strainer on this stretch at this point in time. All the
other downed wood was fairly obvious and relatively easy to avoid for competent beginners. After
the strainer, there was one more probably Class 2 plus rapid before you reach the bridge at
Gaysville. After Gaysville to our take-out, the river became increasingly easier. There is
widespread evidence of Hurricane Irene's damage all along the entire stretch. Fresh rocks, gravel
and sand bars towering high above you; embankments stripped, eroded, and raw; debris piled high in
the trees and this is more than a year after the Hurricane. Yet the river still retained some

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