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Difficulty IV-V
Length 4 Miles
Flow Range 1200 - 2200 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 1 hour ago 284 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 12/31/1969 7:00 pm

River Description

Section #3 of the Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie is often referred to as the Rainbow Falls Section. Section #3 can be combined with Section #2 or Section #4.  The put-in for #3 is the take-out for #2 and the take-out for #3 is the put-in for #4. Section #3 feels remote and you will not cross any roads while paddling this section. The scenery is excellent. There are a few large drops on this section including Rainbow Falls (monster) and many boat scoutable sections. There are several bad holes on this section especially as the water gets high. All the drops have been run in this section but 2 are often portaged. Even with the portages this is a fun section especially when combined with another section of this great river. 

Both the put-in and take-out are on Bryant Bridge Rd. If you are coming from Harrisville (food and gas) you will turn left onto Middle Branch Rd. At Middle Branch Corners the road turns into Bryant Bridge Rd. As you continue down Bryant Bridge Rd you will cross a bridge and then there will be an intersection. This is the take-out. Turn left (still Bryant Bridge Rd.) and drive until you cross the river again. This is the put-in. Bryant Bridge Rd can be a little rough between the put-in and take-out. Four wheel drive and high clearance certainly make the shuttle easier but are probably not a necessity. 

Other rivers in the area: Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie Sections #2 and #4, West Branch of the Oswegatchie, East Branch of the Oswegatchie, Browns Bridge Section of the Oswegatchie and The Grass sections South Branch, Lampson Falls section, Middle Branch to name a few.

I am hoping to get back on this section soon (Fall 2007) and get some pictures and to refresh my memory on the rapids. I have put up some rapid descriptions but it has been a year since I ran the river and I have only run it once. If you don't like what you see make sure you get out and scout.

Rapid Descriptions

Warm Up

Class - IV Mile - 0.5
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After a half mile of moving and flat water the river will narrow and start to drop.  Get out and scout on the right.  The trees and bushes are very dense on river left and you won't be able to see the hole you want to avoid at the bottom.  The river then opens and becomes class III for about 150ft and then narrows again. 

Nipple Twist Falls

Class - IV+ Mile - 0.7
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Catch an eddy and scout on the right.  The river narrows again.  Dodge a couple holes and be wary of Nipple Twist, the final hole in the rapid.  Some people think they can go right and boof into the eddy.  Often those people go swimming and get recirculated by the hole.   When levels are high "Nipple Twist" is really bad and has been know to strip a man (or woman) of both their dignity and their pants.

And for your reading pleasure a truly inspiring story about our first run down this river.  STORY!

Manky Spanky

Class - 5.0 Mile - 1
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After some moving water the river will turn right and drop.  Get out and scout on the left.  Manky Spanky is a slide that looks, you guessed it, a little manky.  This has been run but is often the 1st portage.  There is a cool looking boof into an eddy move on top but the rest looked a little to manky to me to fire up.  Scout and make your own decision.  Portage is on the left.

Between Manky and Rainbow

Class - IV Mile - 2
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There are several rapids in this section but I don't remember them well enough to give a good description.  There are some short gorges and some ledge drops.  I do not remember anything more that class IV.  I will get back ASAP and get some good details.  Sorry.  I think the rapid at the 3 mile mark made me forget everything else.

Rainbow Falls

Class - 5.1 Mile - 3

This is one impressive rapid.  You will know you have reached Rainbow Falls when you see a big horizon line.  Scout/portage this one on river left.  If you get out early enough above the first drop you will avoid walking over a bunch of downed trees (thanks Dennis).  It starts with a 10-12 foot waterfall, then a large slide, a small pool of swirling water, another slide thing and then a big waterfall into a deep gorge.  After the waterfall the river enters the gorge and turns 90 degrees to the left causing some interesting looking currents.  Rainbow Falls has been run but not by many.   There is a trail on river left that will get you down into the gorge so if you decide to forgo Rainbow falls you can still run the gorge.  It may be easiest to lower the boats by rope.  I didn't know how to rate this one.  It has been run but most portage it.  We will call it a 5.1.


Class - IV Mile - 3.2
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After Rainbow you are in a deep gorge.  The gorge is very scenic but not that hard.  Once you are in though it is tough to get out.  It is relatively short though.


Class - Mile - 4
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When you see a bridge you can either get out or tighten your helmet for Section #4!


Gage Descriptions

The gauge is actually on the West Branch of the Oswegatchie so it should be used as a guide only.  There is not a gauge on the Middle Branch.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

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.


Matt Muir


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1194801 06/06/20 n/a n/a