Access is along Kelly Stand road which can by muddy when the river is running. Four wheel drive recommended. The river itself is a classic very steep New England creek.
The Roaring Branch is a highly underrated Vermont creek. Mainly due to the fact that the white water comes not in distinct rapids but rather as a three and a half mile gauntlet with a couple highlights. High flows are best on here to pad out the shallow nature of the river, however due to the steep gradient, high flows also bring little chance for respite and introduce serious consequences for a swim. Early on the river will be small and very steep, with one rapid dubbed Spasmodic Mastication for its long complex and very rocky nature. It ends in a good sized hole. After the river confluences with the south fork it becomes bigger with countless good boofs scattered along the length, and also countless holes, big ones if the water is high. Towards the end come a set of slides stacked up which create large curling waves, holes and tough moves. The very bottom is a big uniform hole which is best avoided on far left, and is a good place to set safety. Below here is the takeout bridge.
The Big Branch gauge has been offline since 2010. The Batten Kill gauge is downstream, but no correlation data is known. If you run this section please leave a comment with the gauge reading.
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this is an underrated run for sure. ran it two separate times, once at medium lowish (Big Branch was at 2) and once at high (Big Branch was at 5+). at the medium low levels the upper part becomes very technical and rocky, once the south fork enters the riverbed is slightly less steep, but larger and more fluid tons of good boofs. at high this run was one of the most intense kayaking experiences of my career. definitely a solid 5. flipping or swimming would be very bad as the run is shallow and absolutely non-stop, but if you ate your wheaties very fun, you will certainly be tired at the end. be sure to scout from the road on your way up to know where the wood is. it seems there is always a fair amount and with decent water you need plenty of time to find a place stop above any downed trees. enjoy it be safe...would be a great run for a helmet cam.
8 years ago
by Mark Lacroix
There is no gage for this section. Look for it to run during high water runoff in the spring. Big Branch at 3' or better is a good bet, a correlation with the Walloomsac will hopefully be made soon.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
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Tyler finishes up Spaz-Maz
3rd Slide of Final Rapid
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The Vermont Superior Court sided with American Whitewater in a long-running dispute with the state over whitewater boating on the Green River in Morrisville. The Court overturned state restrictions that would have eliminated any meaningful opportunity for boaters to enjoy this extraordinary river and required scheduled releases in a ground breaking decision.
In response to of the state’s draft basin plan for southern Vermont, American Whitewater and scores of boaters pressed the state to support the expansion of releases on the West River. Restrictions by the Corps of Engineers and Agency of Natural Resources have led to the elimination of nearly all scheduled boating opportunities on the West River over the past two decades, eliminating recreation opportunity and hurting the local economy. AW and its partners have been working to restore these releases.
A hardy group of northeast boaters climbed into the natural river channel below a hydropower dam to participate in a flow study designed to assess whether whitewater flows should be restored to this dewatered river reach on the Connecticut River. While significant obstacles remain, this site has the potential for providing instruction, playboating, and a big water feature that that could be run throughout much of the year and provide a much needed boost to the local economy.
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