One of the Best Creeks in NY. Put in at the Garden hiking area and hike up to 3 miles to put in. Avg gradient 350+ fpm. Lots of strainers. Be cool to the outfitters, buy something & ask if you can park there.
So there I was, the better part of the way down what was easily the most difficult creek I had ever paddled, standing on the shore waiting for Mike to walk down, after paddling a long section of class IV-V by myself trying to catch up with Mike's lost paddle. My spray skirt had been badly ripped on a log which was stuck under an undercut rock and Mike's skirt was also badly ripped. Luckily mine had ripped first so I had gotten dibs on the only safety pin we had which was now holding together the tear and keeping my little creek boat from sinking like the Titanic in this heinous 350+ fpm creek known as John's Brook. If John's Brook had been a movie review it would have read like this:
John's Brook is the newest in a long line of productions aimed at appealing to the segment of the kayaking community that have hit their heads on a few to many rocks. The first two hours is spent watching kayakers hike up 3 miles of steep rocky trails dragging 100 lbs of gear through the mud, over creeks and over huge boulders. You can tell from the gradient that once these guys hit the water, there will be hell to pay. While most runs gently ramp up for the viewer, once they get to the water Johns creek starts out full bore and never slows down. The entire 5 miles is just one long climax with little or no interruption. Most people who enjoy this spectacle will be forced to switch over to auto-pilot or will end up running out of energy and adrenaline after the first 15 minutes. After the first couple of hours, you wonder when it will end, and whether or not the actors will just say 'enough' and walk out of the canyon.
1:1 Yea verily though shalt not let go of thine paddle, even if thou aren't stuck in a strainer, struggling to get out of thine boat 1:2 For if thou dost let go of thine paddle, then thou must pull thine partner over that same log that thou hast broached on 1:3 And as thine partner looks at thee with sad and worried eyes begging you to be careful, you shall push him into the water on the downstream side of the log and say unto thee "Thou must go now alone and fetch my paddle which hath gotten away from me" 1:4 And with great fear thine partner shall boat quickly, yet carefully down the next mile of rapids until he doth portage to avoid yet another log whith hath blocked his passage. 1:5 Givith not up though, as another paddle awaits ye back at thine trusty car. 1:6 Thine friend shall jouney to the car and return with his spare paddle so that you may complete thine run 1:7 Athough the rain continues to fall, and the creek continues to rise and although you are hungry and tired, you must continue on. 1:8 For you have traveled so far to see it, and you will have it done.
While only a dozen or so drops rivaled the Bottom Moose for difficulty, the sheer continuousness of the river caught Mike and me off-guard. It was a bad gear day, though it was a good paddling day. Usually I'm anxious to keep paddling after most runs. This time I was happy to be back at the car. It had 10 hours since I had eaten and I had drunk all my water bottle after hiking the first 1/2 mile and had been drinking river water the rest of the way. By the time we had reached the takeout I was relieved and exhausted.
The next time you see an old-school creeker who has been paddling longer than you've been alive, ask the where the best run in the North East is. If they say John's Brook, you'll know to shudder in terror at the thought of the heinous hike and of all those drops, one right after another with few eddies and lots of wood. More strainers in fact than I have seen in ALL the rivers I have run in my piddly little 4-year paddling career. While everything else in NY is in flood, this creek is one that is better reserved for the certifiably insane.
Eastern Adirondacks Reaches
Ausable, E. Branch Ausable, W. Branch (1.) Ausable, W. Branch (2.) Balm of Gilead Brook
Boquet (2.) Boquet (3.) Boquet, N. Branch Boquet, S. Branch
Boreas (1.) Branch, The (Boquet trib.) Branch, The (Schroon trib.) Cedar (1.)
Cedar (2.) Cold Deer Creek (Hudson Trib.) Glen Creek
Hague Brook Hudson (0.) Hudson (1. Indian River to North River) Hudson (2. North River to Riparius)
Hudson (3. Riparius to the Glen) Indian (Hudson trib.) John's Brook La Chute
Mettawee Mill Creek (Essex County) Mill Creek (Hudson trib.) North Creek
Pike Brook Poultney Putnam Creek Raquette (1.)
Rock River Schroon (North Hudson to Schroon Falls) Schroon (Starbuckville to Riverbank) Schroon (Warrensburg to Thurman Station)
Squaw Brook Styles Brook Thirteenth Brook Trout brook (Schroon trib)
West Mill Brook
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
Tell us about this gauge by leaving a comment.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Paul on JB
Pinned on JB
JB Boogie Water
Stu offers DK a throw bag
4 mile hike down, Johns Brook to go
Jay checks out a sharp right in the creek
Stu scouts a drop
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Paddlers on the Lehigh River below the Francis E. Walter Dam and Reservoir are concerned that a planned study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will lead to a reduction in whitewater boating opportunities on the Lehigh. The study will evaluate the feasibility of various alternatives to optimize project operation. Aside from the project's authorized primary missions of flood risk management and recreation, the study will also consider water supply and water quality, to identify possible improvements to the existing structure, infrastructure, and operations that will support current and future demands within the region. The Army Corps is holding a public meeting on January 9, 2020 at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven, PA from 6-8 p.m. to explain the study and hear public comments. American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, and other organizations are expected to file comments with the Army Corps prior to the September 29th deadline in order to share our concerns about the study and potential impacts on boating, the outdoor recreation economy, and the Delaware RIver Basin. We encourage our members to attend the public meeting to voice their concerns.
2010 marked the 25th anniversary of protecting the Black and Moose rivers! View an online video documentary on the Moose River and the early role that American Whitewater played in protecting this amazing river.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!