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.
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
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)
Google Map of New York Whitewater
New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group
Sign up to join the Sultan River (WA) working group and stay informed on issues related to improving flows through hydropower relicensing.
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:
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.
Permits are not required for this reach.
Lat/longitude data are approximate, based on recommendations from Dennis Squires' book and Google Maps.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!