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Difficulty IV(V)
Length 10 Miles
Gauge N/A
Flow Range
Reach Info Last Updated 04/18/2018 6:06 pm

River Description

From the putin to takeout, this remarkable river is almost nonstop. Only a few short flat sections disturb continuous whitewater, along the whole 10 Miles. A number of ledge drops, slides and constrictions form the whitewater interest. This has to be unique amongst Vermont rivers in having so much whitewater, for such long distance.
This river can be split into a number of sections, to allow mixed ability groups to enjoy this great run. Eddies are fairly small, and a lot of rapids crop up around bends or under bridges. There is also a considerable tree presence, although at the time of writing (Apr 06) none were riverwide.
The complete run, 10 miles in total, can easily be completed in a day by a fast moving group who are not going to portage too much.

Power Plant to Greenbanks Hollow Covered Bridge (the only covered bridge on the river!): Class II- III (IV)- 3.6 Miles
The section starts off fairly mellow, drifting lazily through cedar woods. There are 4 or 5 ledge drops and one major series of slides rapid in this section. All are fairly easy to inspect or portage, particularly the major slide, since it is roadside.

Greenbacks Hollow Covered Bridge to Morses Mill Bridge on Joe's Brook Road: Class III-IV(V) - 2.8 Miles
Takeout to inspect prior to heading under the covered bridge. Serious horizon lines and gradient lies below. This is the biggest rapid on the river, and consists of a number of ledge drops and slides back to back. This is easily inspected or portaged on river left. From the end of this rapid, for the next couple of miles you are assaulted by a series of almost back-to-back ledge drops and slides. Notable amongst these are the waterfall drop. In high water this section can be fairly intimidating!

Morses Mill Bridge to Rte. 5.: Class III (V) - 3.6 Miles
Passing beneath Morses Mill Bridge, the river continues swiftly, and soon enters a short gorge. There are several drops a couple of feet in height. Groups have encountered ice bridges here in the early season. A few flat water sections follow. The last few bridges on the river hold interesting rapids beneath them, including the "constriction," which has a tricky drop and meaty hole. One more bridge rapid lies in wait downstream, then continuous easy water to the takeout. In low water, this last section can be boney!

To putin:
View the Dam spillway in West Danville on Rte. 2. There is a scarily large rapid just below the spillway! Continue East on Rte. 2 for a few hundred yards, and take the next right hand turn, Power Plant Road. This leads shortly down to the river and power plant. From here, you can get a visual on the water leaving the power plant. The putin is right below the plant.

To takeout: I hope you have your gazetteer! There are a number of roads in the Joe's Brook vicinity. Some run parallel to the river for a period, but none parallels the whole length. There are a large number of bridge crossings, so you can inspect partially on the way down.
Our preferred route was to continue east into Danville, take Brainerd street, onto Joe's Brook Rd. Cross the river, and continue on river right Rd, until you hit route 5. Turn left and park immediately at the great takeout by the Rte. 5 bridge. There are several bridges on this last section, just off from Joe's Brook Road to allow easy scouting, and a large portion is roadside.

If you wish to inspect the main rapids on this run, you can view some between the Peacham Rd bridge, and the Greenbanks Hollow Covered Bridge .

Previous Trip Notes:
Posted on the VPC message board by Eric Bishop
Randy Allen suggested we check out Joe's Brook, which flows out of Joe's Pond in W. Danville, and, despite the name, is a small river. It falls about 1000' between Joe's Pond and the Passumpsic River, a distance of about 10 miles.

It was snowing when we put on, after doing a little road and foot scouting. We paddled from the power station, at the bottom of Power Station Rd., just outside W. Danville Village, and took out at the closed off Greenbanks Hollow (covered) Bridge. This stretch of 4 miles or so had lots of continous class 2, a bit of just drifting and more class 3 to 3+ ledge drops than we could count. We spent a fair amount of time scouting drops but they were all runnable.

The section from Greenbanks Hollow Br. to Joe's Brook Rd. appeared to be considerably steeper and more difficult and we left it for another (warmer) day. Instead we drove around it, put in where the river flowed under Joe's Brook Rd. and paddled another 2 1/2 miles to Joe's Brook Hill Rd. This stretch was continous class 2, 2+ with many class 3 ledge drops and a class 3+ gorge just above a quickwater float to the take out.
From what we could see there was more class 2 (at least) in the remaining mile or so to the Passumpsic. The weather was bad but this could be the best day of paddling I have ever had. This river is special and at higher water would be a tremendous challenge.

Will Lyons shared:
A friend of mine took me and a few other guys down this run last spring. We ran from the covered bridge down to under a bridge with a cool rapid under it. We didn't run the drop under the covered bridge, but it looks like a solid IV with pinning potential. The rest of the run down consists mostly of slides with one 8-foot waterfall. Be careful on the waterfall and make sure to boof out because the pool isn't too deep at the bottom. Definitely a cool run and worth checking out if there's water. I don't know anything about levels or access, though. Enjoy.

Rapid Descriptions


No Gage

Gage Descriptions

No automated gauge exists but, the following information has been compiled from local boaters. Thanks Chris Skalka and Tony Shaw!!
Joes Brook flows out of Joes Pond, which is dammed. Green Mountain power use this for power generation, but also to keep the pond level stable for waterfront landowners.
Water level in the river is a combination of two factors:
1) Water flowing over the spillway Spillway (medium flow) Spillway (lower flow)
2) Water being diverted for generation Diverted Water
Normally #2 would be a bad thing, but the water comes back in just a short way from the dam, and there is a great put in spot.
Information regarding the Pond level, bladder inflation, and generating load can be obtained by calling Green mountain power on 1-888-835-4672, and ask for the Colchester dispatcher. They are usually very helpful, so please be polite and honest about why you want the information. The more people who call, they may get round to posting this information someday.
Generally, you would need a large amount of water spilling to make the river navigable, or a combination of moderate amounts spilling, and some diverted for generation.
When the pond level is 5.2 to 5.3 feet the bladder on the dam will be fully deflated to allow the pond level to lower.
The bladder density can be 2.25 PSI (max inflated) no spillage, or somewhere lower (partially deflated) this will allow some water to spill.
They can also generate full or part load, which will affect the amount of water diverted.
Water levels do vary from day to day considerably.
There is a guage rock (with three holes) which I would personally use again, under the takeout bridge. Guage Rock
Water level with the bottom of this rock gave good medium water. Certainly would go lower, but would be more scraping involved. Higher water would increase the challenge!

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

No Accident Reports




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Alex Barham


simon wiles


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Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1209238 04/18/18 Alex Barham Location
1193772 04/04/06 simon wiles n/a
1198432 10/23/10 Matt Muir Copyedit; added abstract.
1200448 07/25/11 Scott Gilbert