The Beer Kill flows through a steep, wooded gorge in the Southern Catskills. It is predominantly Class IV/IV+ ledge drop boating interspersed with some easier boogie water between the larger drops. Most people will want to portage three times. The portages, coupled with the depth and apparent remoteness of the gorge, create a wilderness feel that is unique to the region and seem to make the portages more tolerable, if not enjoyable.
The beginning of the run is slow-going with a likely portage of the second rapid, immediately below the put-in bridge. This one is a narrow toaster slot that has wood stuffed in an undercut on the right side. After a couple of notable drops, the most significant of which is a 5 foot boof onto a slide, you'll need to be heads up for a horizon line which indicates Hanging Rock Falls. Pull out on the left. Rumor has it that the first 20 footer has been run, but shortly below are two even bigger drops, of which the final one drops at least 30 feet onto rock. Walk on the left and take time to admire the spectacular three- tiered falls. The Beer Kill has a very intimate feel and Hanging Rock Falls, at a total height of close to 100 feet, adds significantly to the character of the river, despite being a rather cumbersome carry. To re-enter the river, it might be necessary to lower boats down because of the steepness of the gorge; the loose dirt and rock make finding sturdy footing somewhat difficult. But your efforts will be rewarded with a mile of excellent paddling. The drops are comfortably spaced, but there are a few places where you can feel a bit of tilt to the riverbed. Scout the horizon lines and be prepared for the very real possibility of a strainer in an inopportune place. Be VERY heads up on this run for wood. A final portage will probably be required towards the end of the gorge. This 20 footer has been run, but the landing is shallow and should be scouted carefully. The portage is on the left and is reasonably strenuous, but still seems to be the preferable mode of transportation. One other rapid deserves mention on this run. Shortly after the portage around Hanging Rock Falls is a rapid marked by a boulder in the center. The left side of this rapid has a dangerous sieve and the right side has an undercut. The rapid is not particularly difficult but warrants caution.Shuttle Directions:
The Beer Kill can be found by heading west from the town of Ellenville on Rte. 52. Follow the river upstream and make a right onto County Road 53 and park in a small turn-out a few hundred feet downstream of the confluence with the West Branch of the Beer Kill (a short, roadside Class 4/5 section). From the take-out, follow 53 upstream along the West Branch until it rejoins Rte. 52. You will stay on 52 for a very short time before making a right back onto 53. Follow 53 uphill for a couple of miles and then make a right onto Marcus Road, which at the time of this writing is not denoted by a road sign, but will be the only right hand turn fitting the description. Go with your instincts and you will soon find yourself crossing a bridge over the Beer Kill which is the put- in.
Catskills Area Reaches
Basic Creek Batavia Kill Bear Kill
Beaver Kill (Delaware Trib) Beaver Kill (Hudson Trib) Beer Kill
Beer Kill, W. Branch Bowery Creek Bush Kill
Callicoon Creek, E. Branch Callicoon Creek, N. Branch Catskill Creek (1.)
Catskill Creek (2.) Catskill Creek (4.) Claverack Creek
Coxing Kill Delaware Delaware, E. Branch
Delaware, W. Branch Little Delaware Dry Brook
East Kill Esopus Creek (1) Esopus Creek (2)
Esopus Creek (3) Esopus Creek (4) Esopus Creek (5)
Hannacrois Creek Kaaterskill Creek (1.) Kaaterskill Creek (2.)
Kinderhook Creek (3.) Kiskatom Creek Mombaccus Creek
Mill Brook Neversink (1.) Neversink, E. Branch
Neversink, W. Branch Peters Kill Platte Kill
Plattekill Creek Potic Creek Roeliff Jansen Kill (1)
Roeliff Jansen Kill (2) Rochester Creek Rondout Creek (1)
Rondout Creek (2) Rondout Creek (3) Sandburg Creek
Saw Kill (1) Saw Kill (2) Saw Kill (3)
Schoharie Creek (1.) Schoharie Creek (2.) Shingle Kill Creek
Squirmer Creek Stony Clove Creek Ten Mile Creek
Thorp Creek Tremper Kill Wallkill
West Kill Woodland Creek Vly Creek
Downstate New York Area Reaches
Beer Kill Beer Kill, W. Branch
Callicoon Creek, E. Branch Callicoon Creek, N. Branch
Coxing Kill Croton
Delaware (1.) Delaware (2. Mongaup Wave)
Delaware (3.) Fishkill Creek
Mombaccus Creek Mongaup
Moodna Creek Neversink (1.)
Neversink (2.) Neversink, E. Branch
Peters Kill Pocantico
Popolopen Brook Ramapo
Rochester Creek Rondout Creek (1.)
Rondout Creek (2.) Rondout Creek (3.)
Sandburg Creek Stony Brook (1.)
Stony Brook (2.) Wallkill
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
This is the aptly named Assmaster (south park reference). There is a fair amount of abuse on your backside, so I suppose it's a fitting name. You can hit the boof just about anywhere; the left is not as high, but go to far left and you'll be peeling yourself off the rocks along the bank. There are a couple other easy IV's after this before the mandatory portage (most use the left side) around Hanging Rock Falls.
This is the first big rapid below the portage at Hanging Rock Falls. The key is to have a little right angle as you come off the vertical drop, because most of the flow wants to push you left into an undercut.
The next mile or so is all more or less boat scoutable, depending on your comfort level of doing so. You'll want to look at a couple of horizon lines unless you're with someone who knows the run, but otherwise everthing is good to go until you get to a funnelled, sliding drop with a boof in the center (Mushroom). Call this one a class IV+. It comes about 3/4 of a mile into the gorge.
This is big waterfall with a tough approach. The drop lands on a shelf and has a small sweet spot. It has been run, but is more often portaged on the left.
This is the last drop on the run. It's a pretty straightforward boof, but the cave on the right and the wood on the left make it interesting.
Marcus Rd has a sign but it's bent. If you go slow and look for it, you'll see it. It's a small Rd with a house on the corner on the far side of the road. I made a right turn after the bridge which will take you back to 209 hoping to do some scouting but you cant see anything from the Rd and the climb down would have been very difficult at best.
This stays up longer than other Catskill creeks,
because of the lake above it. The Rondout will need to
be 11 feet, but look for it to peak over 12.5 ft before
coming down if there hasnÂt been any recent
precipitation or the lake may not fill before spilling
over.If this is high (>16 ft.), head
somewhere else, because of the possibility of flushing
into a new strainer or one of the normally portaged
rapids. I usually like to hit the Beer Kill a couple of
days after a rain when everything else has dropped
too low in the area.
Permits are not required for this reach.
The Beer Kill can be found by heading west from the town of Ellenville on Rte. 52. Follow the river upstream and make a right onto County Road 53 and park in a small turn-out a few hundred feet downstream of the confluence with the West Branch of the Beer Kill (a short, roadside Class III-IV section). From the take-out, follow 53 upstream along the West Branch until it rejoins Rte. 52. You will stay on 52 for a very short time before making a right back onto 53. Follow 53 uphill for a couple of miles and then make a right onto Marcus Road, which at the time of this writing is not denoted by a road sign, but will be the only right hand turn fitting the description. Go with your instincts and you will soon find yourself crossing a bridge over the Beer Kill, which is the put-in.
Ted on the Beer Kill
Ted on the Beer Kill Slide
Josh in the Slot Boof
Hanging Rock Falls Final Drop
Hanging Rock Falls First Drop
Adam on the Beer Kill slide
Above the Sieve Rapid
20 Footer aka Ignorance is Bliss
Jeff on the Beerkill
Matt Walker boofin on the Beerkill
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.
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!