The wave (which is actually, in Waterford) is located on the first outlet on river left below the RT. 32 dam. Heading north on Saratoga Ave, take a right across from McDonald's onto Fulton St and take the road to the end; it's less than 1/8 mile. The wave is at a little park there.
The wave (or waves) are created by a shale shelf located in the park at the end of Fulton St. Sandwhiched between a power dam and the Mohaxk Paper Company dam, the features are consantly shifting. While the gauge is an indicator of the amount of flow over the shelf, the pool height is constantly changing as it is filled and drained by the Paper Company dam. Because of the changing levels and vegitation there is often no way to predict the exact shape of the features except from the eddy. At times what appears to be a perfect wave from the parking lot will be a retentive hole, and vis-versa.
The wave seems to be best at normal levels when it is filling, this can be becuase of rising upstream levels, or due to the daily increase in power production and closing of the Paper Company dam around 5-6pm. At high water this wave is excellent. 14.5-15.5 ft seems to be a sweetspot, 15.5-17 tends to be a meaty hole, and at 19 and up the wave can form a massive shelf-wave.
This wave can be considered a big water feature by some at normal levels and should be treated with caution. Swimmers should move quickly to river left and head for the boat launch. Swimming for river right or swimming too slowly can result in being pushed to the dam. Swims are most often caused by sticky features and the crashing waves which form in the run-out. (This has led to some debate about the safety of bringing beginners here. Personally I mainly learned to paddle here and have swam countless times without incident or close call.)
Other local attrations:
A fun slide can be reached by paddling around Goat Island on the downstream side and then portaging around the next island. Beware of the hole on the extreme river right.
The power dam upstream can be run at low water when the slot on river left is opened to clear out wood. I have only ever seen this a few times around at 6ft on the guage. Bring a fullface to catch your paddle, it is quite a fast ride.
The paper dam is runnable. Paddle to the island in the center to scout. a boof-slide line at 11+ ft
If there is med-low flow and the main waves aren't doing much you can explore downstream and see if the lower waves are in on the left channel by the power dam. At times the outlet tube for the plant makes a nice hole for advanced moves.
Capital Region Area Reaches
Basic Creek Batten Kill Claverack Creek
Cobleskill Creek Fox Creek Hannacrois Creek
Hoosic Hudson (Lock 2) Kinderhook Creek (1.)
Kinderhook Creek (2.) Kinderhook Creek (3.) Kline Kill
Normans Kill (1.) Normans Kill (2.) North Chuctanunda Creek
Mohawk (Upper Cohoes Wave) Mohawk (Cohoes Wave) Poesten Kill (0.)
Poesten Kill (1.) Poesten Kill (2.) Quacken Kill
Schoharie Creek Stony Kill Wyant's Kill
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New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
In general this posting is misleading. The levels for this feature are from about 11 and up; there really is no max flow. The limiting factor to surfing this wave is whether or not a swimmer will have time to get out which I will admit to having to do at 23 feet. Actually it takes only a few hundred feet as the current pushes you into the shore.
The main wave gets HUGE at certain levels especially if you catch the period where the upper dam is opened and the lower is still closed. The added pool height creates a monster green wave with a small foam pile.
This feature is formed by a shale shelf which has been eroded in the last year or two from a shelf into a V-notch. This has caused a pretty nasty hole to form at certain levels. Do not drop into the river right hole when first putting in. That mistake could lead to a brutal beat-down.
While the river left wave has become a semi-nasty hole the river center hole has gotten deeper and a lot nicer. This turns into a great spin/cartwheel spot, though it is still too shallow to loop. At high water this makes a nice wave to wave/hole. To reach this requires a ferry which can be difficult depending on the level, but makes for great training.
There really should also be a separate page for the upper waves at Cohoes which are located a 1/4 mile below Cohoes Falls on river left which appear at 15ft and top out as 8ft tall crashing waves. This is a high water feature only, the main attraction is the first wave which forms a hole at around 14ft, wave/hole at 15.5 and a full blown wave upwards of that. This feature is easily comparable to Inner-City Strife on the Black River in Watertown which comes in below Knife's Edge at 10.5-11k cfs.
Once again to paddle this feature you must have a very solid roll otherwise you are in risk of taking a long swim with a good likely-hood of going over a dam. There is a very large (800ft long) straight-forward eddy that forms behind the waves but missing it is not an option.
Reaching these waves is a bit of a challenge and is part of the reason no one seems to know about them.
From Saratoga Ave take an immediate left at the light after crossing the bridge over the Mohawk. Take a left at the first stop sign which is river street. Park by the fence where the road hits the cliff overlooking the river. There is a trail that goes upstream to the right. Follow it and at the third or so overlook will be a tree 10 ft in with a rope or two on it. If you can use the larger diameter rope to lower your boat and paddle down and then follow it down the slope. Otherwise you will be forced to transfer ropes halfway down which is doable but a bit scary. Use extreme caution scaling the cliff, the rock is loose and probably wet. This deposits you in the eddy in front of you will be the waves.
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Permits are not required for this reach.
March 29th, 2015
Lower Wave at 23 feet
Cohoes Wave @ 10.5'
The Wave at 18+ feet
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