Big Branch - Mt. Tabor to Appalachian Trail

Big Branch, Vermont, US


Mt. Tabor to Appalachian Trail

Usual Difficulty V (for normal flows)
Length 2.6 Miles
Avg. Gradient 260 fpm

Mellow Yellow

Mellow Yellow
Photo of Owen Callahan by James Sullivan taken Oct '03

River Description

As of September 2011 and Hurricane Irene, the river is completely different. I'm leaving the info below for historical records, but the three major drops are no longer really there. Cave Drop is there in some form, but is relatively straightforward compared to how it used to be. The following rapid is best run down the river left channel. Mushroom is no longer really a distinct rapid, although there is a steep boulder garden in its place. BLT has also changed dramatically and now has a much longer lead-in, but more runnable options in the bottom. 

Overall, the river is still very good and very runnable. It is still predominantly steep boulder garden. A few sections have been scoured to bedrock. There are some sievier spots than there used to be; hopefully these will fill in over time. The river needs more water than it used to, as the bed is much wider and less channelized than it was before Irene.

Greg and Sue Hanlon's Steep Creeks of New England has more info on this run.

This run is totally continous from the moment you put in, until you take out. Beautiful boofs, slots and drops. Three drops stand out:
Cave Drop, early in the run, has been the site of a few mishaps. The rapid that follows should be run right, down the rocky sneak.
Mushroom, is a long rapid terminating in a rock with water piling on it.
Boof left twice, is the largest signle drop on the river, and occurs about half way down. There's plenty more to keep you busy though, right to the takeout.

Head North on Rte. 7 from Manchester about 12 miles to Danby and Mount Tabor. Turn right on Mount Tabor Rd. one mile to the Big Branch takeout; park in the pull-off before the bridge.

To putin: Continue upstream to the Big Branch picnic area. Take the switchback trail down to the normal putin.

If the water's high, putin upstream where the Long Trail crosses the river; to get there, continue up the road to the Long Trail; hike the trail about a mile to the river. If the water is really high, you'll want to take out at the normal put in!

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2011-09-07 21:51:34


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 21 2015 (1033 days ago)
rrmartinez (155234)
This winter's heavy winter weather or a micro burst of wind dropped a lot of wood throughout the
run. Uprooted trees were river wide in spots, and there are plenty of substantial strainers here
and there from the upper put-in to the take-out. Definitely heads up boating.
September 26 2011 (2336 days ago)
Ed ClarkDetails
Ran it 9/24/2011 at what was probably 2-3 on the old gauge. Unbelievably different but everything
goes and it still has the same kind of structure(mostly). Bottom of steep rapid below cave has an
issue. Definitely some scouting to be done first time down. Think of it as finding a brand new
river right close to home. Ed
September 5 2011 (2357 days ago)
Mark LacroixDetails
On August 28th, 2011 Hurricane Irene struck New England. The resulting floods caused extensive
damage throughout the region, the worst in over 100 years. More than half the rivers in Vermont and
northern New Hampshire recorded their highest flow levels ever. Many roads, guardrails, power
lines, bridges, trees and other debris now litter several rivers throughout the region. River beds
have been scoured and changed course, many new strainers make navigation problematic at best and
downright dangerous at worse. Please realize that the river description you see here may not match
current situation after the floods. Use common sense and when in doubt scout especially on blind
drops. Also, if you run this river in the next year or so please comment on its navigability, even
if there are no problems this will be very helpful. Please report any new strainers or changes to
the rapids that will impact future boating. Thank you,
June 24 2009 (3160 days ago)
Nicholas GottliebDetails
I have tons of pictures of this run:

Do more than just check gauges; join over 5,000 AW members today.

Or, consider donating