Beer Kill - Marcus Rd. to Ellenville

Beer Kill, New York, US


Marcus Rd. to Ellenville

Usual Difficulty IV-V(V+) (for normal flows)
Length 3.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 140 fpm

Ted on the Beer Kill

Ted on the Beer Kill
Photo of Ted Devoe by Jeff Sharpe taken 5.14.06 @ med.

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-01367500 11.00 - 16.00 ft IV-V(V+) 01h04m 9.75 ft (too low)

River Description

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 

Wappinger Creek


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StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-26 13:03:23


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Put InPutin
0.1Toaster Slot5.3Portage Hazard
0.4Hanging Rock Falls (First Drop)5.3Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.5Hanging Rock Falls (Final Drops)5.3Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.7Sieve RapidIVHazard Photo
0.8First Big Drop after the Carry5.0Photo
0.9Lots of Great Boogie WaterIV+
2.0Ignorance is Bliss5.2Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
2.2Slot BoofIV+Photo
2.5Take outTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Put In
Put in at the Bridge on Marcus Rd.

Toaster Slot (Class 5.3, Mile 0.1)
Get out on the left after running the rapid under the bridge to portage this nasty, undercut slot.

Assmaster (Class 5.0, Mile 0.2)

Assmaster (small)

Assmaster (small)

This is the unfortunately named Assmaster. 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.

Hanging Rock Falls (First Drop) (Class 5.3, Mile 0.4)

Hanging Rock Falls First Drop (small)

Hanging Rock Falls First Drop (small)

The first drop might actually be runnable if your day job involves leaping tall buildings in a single bound. Ted left his cape at home on this day unfortunately.

Hanging Rock Falls (Final Drops) (Class 5.3, Mile 0.5)

Hangin Rock Last (small)

Hangin Rock Last (small)

The last two land on rocks. Portage on the left. Lowering boats is strongly recommended to get back to river level.

Sieve Rapid (Class IV, Mile 0.7)

Sieve Rapid (small)

Sieve Rapid (small)

It's not really too visible in this shot, but the moss covered rock forms an ugly sieve. I've run the left to right move above the sieve, but the better line is right of the boulder in the center. It does get a little bony at lower flows though.

First Big Drop after the Carry (Class 5.0, Mile 0.8)

Ted on the Beer Kill

Ted on the Beer Kill
Photo of Ted Devoe by Jeff Sharpe taken 5.14.06 @ med.

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.

Lots of Great Boogie Water (Class IV+, Mile 0.9)
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. Call this one a class V. It comes about 3/4 of a mile into the gorge.

Ignorance is Bliss (Class 5.2, Mile 2.0)

20 Footer (small)

20 Footer (small)

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.

Slot Boof (Class IV+, Mile 2.2)

Last Drop (small)

Last Drop (small)

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.

Take out
After a nice stretch of Class 3 boogie, the West Branch of the Beerkill will come in on the right. Take out shortly thereafter on the right alongside County Road 53. A longer run can be had by running down to the ballfield in Ellenville if so desired. This will add a few interesting ledge drops to the day.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
December 28 2006 (4368 days ago)
James DoughertyDetails
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.
October 30 2006 (4427 days ago)
Travis RobieDetails
Here is the full list of drop names, and some notes on their current condition as of 10/30/06 1.
Toaster - Has been run.. slot has a rock in the landing ( according to Paul Einfeldt ). Also has
the potential of catching wood. 2. Assmaster - Note: River wide strainer immediately after this
rapid. 3. Hanging Rock Falls 4. Tree Drop / Sieve Rapid - Used to be a tree across the entire
rapid, which forced one to run hard right, far away from the sieve. Note: There is currently wood
in the right side so run left.. closer to the sieve. 4. Double Drop - Double boof drop. 5.
Fifty-Fifty - First Big Drop after Carry 6. Mushroom - Similar to fifty fify, a steep funnel with a
large boil / boof in the top and a flushy hole at the bottom. 7. Ignorance is Bliss 8. Coffin -
Named after large slab of rock that sticks up on the right side of the final boof. Also, those who
run the Beer Kill may now enjoy some new scenery.. a two person paddle boat seems to have attempted
the run.

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