Pocantico - Pocantico Lake to Sleepy Hollow cemetary

Pocantico, New York, US


Pocantico Lake to Sleepy Hollow cemetary

Usual Difficulty II-III+(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 2.2 Miles
Avg. Gradient 73 fpm

Slam Dance

Slam Dance
Photo of invisable kayaker by Cindy Haang-McIntyre taken 01/01/06

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Ramapo River near Mahwah NJ
usgs-01387500 700 - 2000 cfs II-III+(IV) 01h03m 208 cfs (too low)

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


StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-04-26 13:15:47


Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 3 2012 (2419 days ago)
James DoughertyDetails
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
February 27 2011 (2881 days ago)
Cameron FeareyDetails
ran the top drops today. low water.
December 14 2007 (4052 days ago)
James DoughertyDetails
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.
April 20 2007 (4290 days ago)
James DoughertyDetails
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.
December 11 2006 (4420 days ago)
Bucknell WebbDetails
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.
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.