Difficulty V+
Length Miles
Gauge SARANAC RIVER AT PLATTSBURGH NY
Flow Range 400 - 1400 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 38 minutes ago 819 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 01/16/2020 6:30 pm

River Description


The High Falls Gorge is a spectacular vertical-walled gorge containing several large waterfalls and a TOTALLY UNRUNNABLE final waterfall.

At this time, little is known about the safety or appeal of running any of the drops in the gorge. One thing is sure, the gorge should only be attempted by teams of expert boaters with shore support and with experience exploring large waterfalls. It is imperative to scout carefully and take out several rapids above the final 60+ foot unrunnable waterfall.

Historically, the Gorge has been illegal to paddle or even scout, but a recent FERC License has lifted this closure.

Be Careful.

 

Plattsburgh Area Reaches

Ausable (Ausable Chasm)                                       Ausable, E. Branch

Ausable, W. Branch (4. High Falls Gorge)               Ausable, W. Branch (5. The Flume)

Ausable, W. Branch (Section 6)                               Black Brook

Boquet, S. Branch                                                Boquet, N. Branch

Chateaugay                                                             Great Chazy (Chazy Lake to Miner Lake)

Great Chazy (Miner Lake to Mooers)                      Great Chazy, North Branch

Little Black Brook                                                     Little Trout

Marble                                                                    Salmon

Salmon (Lake Champlain)                                        Saranac (Permanent Rapids)

Saranac (1. Union Falls to Silver Lake Road)          Saranac (2. Silver Lake Road to Redford)

Saranac (3. High Falls Gorge)                                 Saranac (Sec. 4)

Styles Brook 

Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group

Rapid Descriptions

Comments

Gage Descriptions

American Whitewater negotiated a flow gage on the High Falls bypassed reach to monitor flows for recreation and environmental compliance.  The website for the flow information is:

 

https://ebiz1.nyseg.com/cusweb/flowdata.aspx

 

Use this gage for accurate flow conditions.

 

The estimate used in our river database is based on the USGS gage and is VERY ROUGH! The dam can divert 850 cfs and typically does whenever possible. The likely good flows in the gorge are 200-400 cfs. Therefore the likely good gage reading is 1050-1250, but then you should add in some accretion flow since there are quite a few miles between the gorge and the gage. The take-home message is: use the gage as a general guide and then go to the NYSEG gage linked above for accurate flow information. 

 

Directions Description


Lat/longitude data are approximate, based on recommendations from Dennis Squires' book and Google Maps.

 

No Accident Reports

Alerts

News

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Army Corps Study Threatens Lehigh River Boating

1/3/2020
Bob Nasdor

Paddlers on the Lehigh River below the Francis E. Walter Dam and Reservoir are concerned that a planned study by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its partners, the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection will lead to a reduction in whitewater boating opportunities on the Lehigh. The study will evaluate the feasibility of various alternatives to optimize project operation. Aside from the project's authorized primary missions of flood risk management and recreation, the study will also consider water supply and water quality, to identify possible improvements to the existing structure, infrastructure, and operations that will support current and future demands within the region. The Army Corps is holding a public meeting on January 9, 2020 at the Mountain Laurel Resort in White Haven, PA from 6-8 p.m. to explain the study and hear public comments. American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, and other organizations are expected to file comments with the Army Corps prior to the September 29th deadline in order to share our concerns about the study and potential impacts on boating, the outdoor recreation economy, and the Delaware RIver Basin. We encourage our members to attend the public meeting to voice their concerns.




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AW Appeals a Bad Decision in New York

2/3/2012
Kevin Colburn

Earlier this week American Whitewater appealed a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to foreclose possible recreational releases on the Saranac River that was based on bad science, an inadequate review, and procedural problems. It is our hope that our appeal will confirm the need to rely on the best available science to make rational and transparent decisions - that ultimately protect rivers and their enjoyment.

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Moose River Video

1/18/2011
Mark Singleton

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.

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Report on Saranac Flows Finds Missed Opportunities

8/27/2008
Kevin Colburn

A report released yesterday by American Whitewater finds that the flows mandated for the Saranac River's High Falls Gorge will likely fail to restore basic ecological functions to the river.  The report critiques the mandated flows using an analytical tool developed by the Nature Conservancy that compares human caused changes in certain aspects of flows that are ecologically important.

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Alex Barham

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Matt Muir

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Kevin Colburn

Revisions

Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1214186 01/16/20 Alex Barham updated image position
1206089 04/05/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1195500 06/20/09 Matt Muir Corrected lat/lon coordinates
1194430 06/26/08 Kevin Colburn n/a