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Difficulty II-III+(IV)
Length 2.2 Miles
Gauge Ramapo River near Mahwah NJ
Flow Range 700 - 2000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 44 minutes ago 23.1 [CFS] ℹ️
Reach Info Last Updated 04/26/2016 1:15 pm

River Description

This is a small Catskillian stream which floats through Rockefeller State Park.

Paddle Head says that this is like a small Moshier, with 3-4 drops (Class IV) close together, but with room to recover. It's also a smaller stream, but with a sizable watershed and water dropping out of Pocantico Lake, it should retain its water pretty well.

"Jimmy" and his budz wonder if maybe they snagged a First D on this one, on Dec. 1, 2006. He reported must-portage river-wide trees just downstream of a tunnel.

From an NPMB thread, begun 12/2/06:

From Cold Spring: take 301 east to the Taconic south to the Sprain south. I'm 99 percent certain you can get on 117 and Bedford Rd west. Very shorty you'll bear left off of 117 onto Bedford Rd south? or west? to SleepyHollow Rd. At the intersection of Old Sleepy Hollow and Sleepy Hollow is a put-in option or walk upstream of the river or drive up a few yards (not a good place to park) and start at where the lake pours out. But scout this first drop--it's extreme and the hardest part of the river.
See also the Google Directions from White Plains.

Buck Webb offered alternative directions:
From the North: Taconic to Pleasantille Rd, Turn West (R), 1/4 mile to 9A south (Or just come down 9 to 9A).
Exit 9A at 117, go West (right). Left at first light (448). First right onto Old Sleepy Hollow Road. After about 1 mile you'll see the river on right, park at the intersection with Old Sleepy Hollow Road. (At this point the main road becomes Sleepy Hollow Road. You can continue straight to go along the river to the ledges You'll see a trail crossing and then, just after the ledges, the aqueduct pump house on left.) Bear Right off Sleepy Hollow Rd onto Webber then bear Right onto Bedford, then bang a Right onto N. Broadway (Rte. 9).
Go to the Citgo station, and turn right onto Dell St. for the south bank or Sleepy Hollow Ave (into the cemetary) for the north. This is a takeout.
This route avoids dribbling through Ossining town.


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


Google Map of New York Whitewater

New York Whitewater Paddlers Facebook Group


Rapid Descriptions


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James Dougherty
8 years ago

For Class 2 paddlers: Don't let the rating stop you from enjoying this river. If you start out at the usual put-in, Sleepy Hollow and Old Sleepy Hollow Ext. you will be paddling a mix of flat but fast moving current, CL1 and CL2 rapids with only two small easy to avoid CL3+ rapids which are easily portaged. The CL4+ is above the put-in, you'll have to hike up along side the creek if you want it. Don't park at the small 'pull-overs' above the usual put-in, it's not legal to do so, and there are "no trespassing signs" upstream of the put-in and I was detained by Westchester Police for being there. The usual put-in is a public and legal place to park. It's unlikely that you'll have a problem parking where you are supposed to be and walking along side the creek upstream to see the big CL4+ slide. From the usual put-in, if you wish to portage the CL3+ spots (there are two of them), when you see a small, cute, rustic paddestrian bridge made of wood and stone, pass under, the creek takes a sharp right, then left in flat water, eddy out creek-right walk up to the paved walking path, walk downstream to the ledges. The secound CL3+ spot is further downstream in the cemetary. When you pass under, or just before you pass under a pedestrain bridge, eddie out. Easy portage on a paved road. Another place you might need to portage, regardless of ability is when you go under a large tunnel due to four river wides trees. At higher water we paddled over them with no problem. Water is flat here. (Note: The water is no longer flat here due to the flood in April 2007 and two of the strainers are now gone. Because the water is swift here now, it is critical to make the eddie just after the tunnel. It's not a hard move for a solid CL2 paddler but you must make this move. A few feet pass the tunnel there are old growth trees that completely block passage. I think you get one more chance if you blow it. The tunnel has small waves at normal levels, at high levels they get kind of big. You do not want to swim here. If in doubt, scout prior to the run. The whole thing can portaged by taking out before the tunnel and putting in after the tunnel. I run the tunnel and portage the strainer only on river left) After which, you need to go left of the island. If there are new strainers, they may present a problem because there's not a lot of room and the stream moves kind of fast here. The secound CL3 spot desribed above is downstream of this. There are quite a few strainers on this creek. Most of which are quick easy portages, easy to see and get out in time. (Note, most strainers now gone be be alert, it dosnt take much to block the entire creek).

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Cameron Fearey
9 years ago

ran the top drops today. low water.

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James Dougherty
12 years ago

We ran this again when other streams in southern NY and NJ and Ct were up. At a better level we were able to paddle over the four river wide tree/strainers pass the tunnel with no problems. It seems if the Moodna reaches it's Minimum( which on AW is the gauge on the Ramapo in Mahwah) and it's still raining, the Pocantico should be at a good level. It will NOT hold water as long. I usaully will go if I can get there while it's raining, a few hrs afterward or if it was raining hard the night before if I'm going in the mourning. The first time we ran it, nothing else was up. Again, for the most part, its a CL2 river.

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James Dougherty
13 years ago

IMPORTANT UPDATE: ran this again on 4/17/07 after a lot of rain, a lot of flooding and closed roads the day before. The Pocantico was real high Tues when I ran it and Monday's flood stage water got rid of most strainers but added new ones: after the ledges you'll soon get to where you'll see two pedestrainian bridges, one after another, they both had strainers under the bridges toward river right. Eddie right (left if need be) or just slow down and make sure you can get by safly (river was moving fast that Tues and I wasnt taking any chances but they were passable). Further down the river splits in two (left is best) and the river makes a sharp right and the gradient picks up for a bit and you'll pass a tree trunk on your right (you'll see it right after the right turn) eddie behind this trunk, there's a riverwide. One more POSSIBLE SERIOUS HAZZARD: when you get to the tunnel, other times it was flat but on this day it had a fast moving wave train and it used to be flat. The riverwide used to creat a dam-like effect but no longer the case. YOU MUST EDDY OUT IMMEDIATLY AFTER PASSING THE TUNNEL. The water was crashing into and under this large tree. If you wanna play it safe you can avoid this potential danger by eddying out after the large pedestrian bridge with three arches (which you should do so anyway due to a riverwide pipe, I usually duck it myself) and portage the tunnel and put back in after the tunnel and strainer.

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Bucknell Webb
13 years ago

The Pocantico can be paddled from just above the bridge where old sleepy hollow rd crosses the river below Pocantico lake to the lower end of the cemetary above 9A. The Hagstrom westchester maps show the river pretty well.,+NY&z=19&ll=41.104298,-73.846136&spn=0.000829,0.002108&t=k&om=0 This seems to be the area called the Ledges, something like the "hard" section of New Boston on steriods, the slides and ledges are bigger and the section longer. I would rate it at the very low water we saw as an easy IV. Thre is easy scouting or carry on the right. The rest of the river is class II, except one drop in the upper part of the cemetary section just after a walk bridge (see map) that is short but ugly. There is a walk in- path with a footbridge just above the ledges at the point above where the river gets really close to Sleepy hollow road before bending away into the park. On river right upstream of the bridge is a wall remnant. This wall has a top cornice and below, cinder blocks. At the level we ran which has to be considered minimal there were 3+3/4 cinder blocks visible. Blow-downs: The river from the put-in up-river to the dam had several trees. There was a river wide tree trunk comfortably below the ledges just before the hairpin left turn that could be boofed hard left although certain people felt it should be crossed as a group effort and made a party out of it. After the next footbridge there is a big must carry tree trunk with vines but in flat water. R right was easier carry but left was doable.Jim said this was new in the last couple of weeks. It is rotten and cracked so it may not persist. Immediately after the tunnel at the aqueduct crossing is a 50 foot section of log jams (must carry) (beaver dam?) There is an easy eddy on R at this level after the tunnel and a steep but passable carrry on river R. We hiked up into the cemetary to take out, it looked like you could also take out more easily along Dell street on river left above 9A. The whole section along the cemetary was painfully bony at this level, the section above was shallow but OK. More water could make things interesting in all ways. There are spots blow the ledges and the cemetary nasty drop that could be nice or not waves or holes at higher water. The cemetary drop may be easier with more water. The whole area is filled with a rabbit warren of paths with a pretty consistant horse path nearby on river right most of the way. Total time on the river was about 3 hours, with scouting and boat bumping over slow water. One addendum- after the ledges and there is a point were the river splits around an island. The main flow and route goes left, at least at low water. There is a passable tree down just after the next right bend.

Gage Descriptions

Check the Moodna, if thats up now check several Westchester creeks and scroll down and see if they are still rising.

 Kisco River gage is a good one to look at. If the Mooda is up and the Westchester creeks are still rising or at least not dropping, chances are the Pocantico is up. I have not seen it up once since mid spring. During the summer there was practically no water in it.

 Also, on old sleepy hollow rd, down stream from the put-in and where 117 is no longer alongside sleepy hollow rd where you'll see a lot of parking and a trail to the river. Take that trail to the pedestrain bridge and look upstream and to your right. Where you see cinderblocks, if you see only 3 and a half blocks, you should be able to get a decent run. Less blocks, the better. 

Directions Description

Basically, meetat Sleepy Hollow Rd and old Sleepy Hollow Rd ext. To get there, I get off the Taconic at 117, then I turn left onto Bedford Rd (117) and immediatly make a right onto Sleepy Hollow Rd (or is it Old Sleepy Hollow(?) it seems it's old sleep hollow and turns into sleepy hollow), take that until you see a bridge on your right (Old sleepy Hollow Rd Ext) Park there upstream of the bridge. There's sort of a trail that goes to the river. Then continue on Sleepy Hollow Rd Then you can either bear right onto a road (I forget the name) and take that to 9 or stay on Sleepy Hollow and make the next right onto Bedford Rd and make a right. When you get to rte 9, make a right (north) and very shortly you'll see the cemetary. Drive in and park where it looks good. Just get your car over as much as possible, there's no parking spots but it there are none in the cematary at all and there has not been a problem. Cemetary Closes at 4pm. If you think you might not make it back by 4pm, then park out side the cemetary. From the cemetary there's a road, Dell(?) that goes just opposite side of the river. There's many parking spots and there was/is an opening in the fence. The cemetary is on river right, this spot is on river left. You'll have big wooded beams that are like stairs up to the street. Also, be advised, when returning to the put-in, when you go up Bedford Rd, 448, Sleepy Hollw Rd will be on your left. The cross rd is funny, it's called Sleepy Hollow on your left (which is where you are going) but on your right it has a different name, although it's the same rd. This threw me off one day because I was looking to my right.  

 BTW if you are going back to the city and you took the Taconic to 117 to get here, be advised there is no Taconic south bond serv. I take the Saw Mill south and switch for the Sprain. This is better than going through Terry Town which moves along awfully slooooow.   The roads are wierd around here.

No Accident Reports



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Moose River Video

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.


James Dougherty


Alex Barham


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1201371 06/03/12 James Dougherty Put-in Old Sleepy Hollow rd. and Old leepy Hollow Rd. Ext.
1206391 04/26/16 Alex Barham Added local info
1194641 04/02/07 n/a n/a