South Sandy Creek - 2. Route 11 to Ellisburg

South Sandy Creek, New York, US


2. Route 11 to Ellisburg (Lower)

Usual Difficulty IV (for normal flows)
Length 7 Miles
Avg. Gradient 50 fpm

Canoe Hole

Canoe Hole
Photo by Adrian Vanden Bout taken 01/21/06

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
usgs-04250750 4.00 - 8.50 ft IV 01h54m 1.07 ft (too low)

River Description

The following description is generously contributed by Adrian Vanden Bout of FLOW:

If you put in at 11, there are two "falls" that you'll find, marked on a NYS Gazetteer. One is visible from a road, looks to be 5-6' high (or more) and river-wide; the other is not visible from a road. More info would be needed to complete a description of Rte. 11 to 3.

We put in at a road-side spot on Lee Road just downstream and within sight of the Log London Road bridge (LL road is not marked on a NYS Gazetteer, but its extension is Woodpecker Road). There is a sweet surf wave just above the put-in, accessible from the large eddy on the opposite shore. The river has continuous rapids of class I-III (see 1st attached picture), with lots of surf-waves. One early stretch of class III, lined with Hemlock trees, ends with a river turn to the left. On the inside corner is a spot locally known as Canoe Hole (probably named for the shape of the hole; see 2nd attached picture). Surprisingly most of the water pushes to the inside corner, up against the wall. It's easily missed, but in summer, swimmers have jumped into this from 10 feet above and not hit bottom. The hole would be deep. This is approx. 1 mile from LL road.

The biggest thing to watch for (in the stretch we ran) is Monitor Mills Falls, approx. 2.5 miles from Log London.

You can scout MMF before your run. Not marked on a Gaz is Monitor Mills road. It's the second road that bridges S-Sandy - upstream - from the Ellisburg take-out. There is a great fishing access parking lot near the river. Park there and walk back to the bridge to look at Monitor Falls. Its a man-made 6-7 footer, followed by multiple ledges up to 5' high or slides. As the water channels narrow again directly under the road bridge, there is a powerful hole in river center, followed by a long fast Class-III stretch (see attached video clip). That's the hole that got Ron's shoulder (a dislocation). We portaged the old mill falls but put in directly below it. One mile of river below Monitor Mills is the Ellisburg take-out; there is one bridge in between.

For a good take-out, look on a NYS Gazetteer for Ellisburg. Downstream at the bridge, on river right is a good take-out (steep dirt 2-track path next to bridge), even though route 3 has a big fisherman's access site, you'll paddle a bunch of flat water if you wait. If you have multiple vehicles at the take-out, I wouldn't advise parking in the fire stations parking lot.

See also the Lorraine Gulf Section, located just upstream.


Watertown Area Reaches:

Black River (Rt. 3 Wave)       Black River (Watertown to Brownville)      

Black Creek                            Deer River (Section 1)      

Deer River (Section 2)           Roaring Brook (Brokeback Gorge)   

Salmon River (Section 1)      Salmon River (Section 2)      

Sandy Creek                            South Sandy Creek (Section 1)      

South Sandy Creek (Section 2)             Mad River     

Mill Creek                                  Negro Brook


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-03-28 21:13:31

Rapid Descriptions

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