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Canoeing on the Black River
Canoeing on the Black River:
Black River—Lyons Falls to Carthage dam
Whetstone Gulf State Park, RD#2, Lowville NY 13367
Phone: 315-376-6630
NYSDEC Region 6
County: Lewis County
Location: Lyons Falls is about 14 miles southeast of Lowville
Class: Class I
Duration: Day trips along 35-mile stretch of river
Best Boat(s): Anything goes
Minimum competence: Novice (experience on moving water REQUIRED)
Guidebooks: Adirondack Canoe Waters:South and West Flow by Alec Proskine; Quiet Water Canoe Guide: New York, John Hayes & Alex Wilson
Notes The Black River is a major stream, draining the Tug Hill Plateau and the Adirondack Mountains. On this stretch, however, it can be paddled by boaters who are at home in Class I water—so long as it's not in flood!
From Lyons Falls to the Carthage dam are 44 miles of uninterrupted flatwater winding gracefully between the Adirondacks and the Tug Hill Plateau. There are a variety of access points and services along the way.
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Black River launching sites in Lewis County :
(D) - Lewis County. Adjacent to Route 410, 1/2 mile northeast of the Village of Castorland. Hard surface launching ramp. Parking for 22 cars and trailers.
(D) - Lewis county. Town of Turin. Off Co. Rt. 36, Burdick's Crossing. Beach launch. Parking for 10 cars and trailers.
(D) - Lewis County. At Glenfield on County Route 40. Hard surface ramp. Parking for 20 cars and trailers. Maintained by the town of Martinburg.
(D) - Lewis County. At Beach's Bridge on Number Four Road east of Village of Lowville. Hard surface ramp. Parking for ten cars and trailers.
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Paddling on Moving Water :
Moving water predominates on the waterways in this section. Portages (often called "carries" in the Adirondacks) may be necessary. Paddlers should be certain of their ability to control their boats in moving water and easy (Class I) rapids. Multi-day voyages will require camping skills.
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Fish Creek: Point Rock Bridge, Ava, to Taberg :

Fish Creek is one of New York State's most scenic whitewater runs, slicing through over five miles of sheer slate-walled canyon. Eighteen waterfalls cascade into the canyon, some free-falling over 90 feet. The canyon creates a sense of wilderness isolation, with hawks circling overhead and clean water providing habitat for trout and walleye. But Fish Creek offers its challenges. Several boats are lost on Fish Creek every year. The canyon section is very deep, narrow, and inaccessible. Inexperienced boaters find self-rescue extremely difficult in the continuous Class III - IV gorge riffs....
Fish Creek (D) - Oneida County. Westdale. Town of Camden. Off Westdale Road. Handlaunch. Parking for 10 cars.
Trail Finder > New York Trails > Whitewater Paddling New York
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Moose River - Lower Moose: Moose River Road to Lyonsdale Road
This eTrail includes two sections of New York's Moose River: Moose River Road to Fowlersville Road and Fowlersville Road to Lyonsdale Road. The Lower Moose provides a challenging run appropriate for strong intermediate to advanced paddlers. The drops are steep and, depending on the flows, can be more or less pushy. Water is generally reliable from April through mid-June and again from Columbus Day weekend through the end of October. The annual fall drawdown from the Fulton Chain of Lakes augments natural flow starting on Columbus Day weekend. The Lower is remote, running mostly away from roads, and the scenery is excellent. The Bottom Moose is a hair-boater’s dream, with several drops of mor...
© Copyright Bruce Lessels Published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.
Trail Finder > New York Trails > Whitewater Paddling New York
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Moose River: Old Iron Bridge to Lyons Falls
The Lower Moose River (Old Iron Bridge to Fowlerville Road Bridge) lies 10 miles outside of Old Forge, two and a half miles downstream of the Route 28 bridge. The put-in is a quarter of a mile upstream of the Old Iron Bridge, which crosses the river. Once the river leaves the road at Tannery Rapid, the next ready access is he take-out at the Fowlerville Road Bridge. The Fowlerville Bridge to Lyons Falls section of the Moose is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for paddlers with any questions about their skills in serious Class V water. If you are not prepared to paddle questionable Class V drops of serious consequence, don't put your boat in the water on this section - run eight the L...
© Copyright Ed Grove, John Connely, John Porterfield, & Charlie Walbridge Published by Menasha Ridge Press. All Rights Reserved.
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The Black River, by Dave Zembiec :
Tumbling out of the Adirondack foothills to meander through a peaceful rural valley before thundering through a deep gorge, the Black River is a recreational jewel with a diversity of character that’s unique.
"Often overshadowed by the nearby St. Lawrence, you tend to take the Black River for granted," says Joseph Brosk, an avid canoeist. "But the Black is a magnificent river that offers a variety of wonderful recreational opportunities, no matter your abilities."
Brosk is on to something. The Black River has much to offer those that make the trek, from fishing and canoeing, to white water rafting and kayaking. It truly is a beautiful destination for sportsmen of all ilks.
The Black River originates in the central and western Adirondacks, following the divide between the Tug Hill Plateau and the Adirondack foothills and flowing northwest to Carthage. From there, it flows in a wide curve to Watertown and through a gorge to Lake Ontario. The river has sections of flatwater, whitewater, and riffles, supporting a wide range of recreational activities and fish habitat. Fishing opportunities along the river include angling for brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, northern pike, rock bass, and walleye. Fish ladders at Dexter and Glen Park allow steelhead and chinook salmon to swim as far as the center of Watertown. The lower segment of the river offers some of the finest whitewater rafting in the east with a long season that extends from May into October.
This river has an understated significance. Along its way, the Black River and its tributaries drain a large geographic portion of the Adirondack Mountains that is likely one of the wildest areas in the Northeast. The Black itself originates in the Black River Wild Forest. Together, its major tributaries—the Moose, Independence, and Beaver Rivers—drain several remote forests. These include the Five Ponds, Pepperbox, Ha-de-ron-dah, Blue Ridge, Pigeon Lake, and West Canada Lake Wilderness Areas, the Independence River Wild Forest, and the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. In the Old Forge area, the Moose River also offers a month or so of early season whitewater rafting. The Deer River, another tributary, has its origins in the remote core of the Tug Hill region.
From its Adirondack headwaters in Herkimer County into Oneida County, the Black River drops substantially. Once in Oneida County, the river passes through Kayuta Lake and the Forestport Reservoir. From there into Lewis County (at Port Leyden) the upper segment of the river is fairly flat and fished heavily. Though canoeing is good in some stretches, it is not frequently used for such.
Flatwater Central:
The Lewis County (middle) segment of the river is primarily flatwater, dropping only 12 feet in the 41 miles from Lyons Falls to Carthage. This flatwater segment is popular for canoeing, motor boating, and fishing. The tree-lined banks of the river wind mostly through agricultural lands, complementing the peaceful ambiance of the river. There are five launch sites along this portion of the river at intervals of four to 11 miles, allowing canoeists to choose paddling distances appropriate to their skill and fitness level.
During the 1800s, the Black River and Canal was the main artery for shipping and receiving goods into and out of the North Country. The canal ran from Rome through Boonville before connecting with the river. There was even regular passenger service from Lyons Falls to the canal’s northern terminus in Carthage. Jetties, dams, and locks built along the river made it more navigable for steamboats, even when water was low in the summer months. The remains of several of these structures are still visible.
The lower segment of the river flows through Jefferson County, from the villages of Carthage and West Carthage out to Lake Ontario. This section of the river has distinct sections of whitewater and flatwater and is punctuated by several dams—some that are the remains of industrial properties (mostly paper mills) and some that have been updated by hydro power companies.
While the flatwater sections of the river are used for motor boating and fishing, the whitewater sections are Class IV and Class V; certainly not suitable for beginning kayakers but great for those with some experience.
Whitewater Rodeos, More
Four whitewater rafting companies are active on the Black River, providing group rafting trips from the City of Watertown to the mouth of the river at the Village of Dexter. The reliable flows and long season also make the river popular for whitewater kayaking. The "Hole Brothers" and "Route 3 Wave" are two popular play hole areas in the City for "park and play" whitewater rodeo activities, including training and practice for competition elsewhere. The city hosts an annual river festival organized around whitewater competition on the river.
The Black River holds so much promise that to explore it fully, by canoe or otherwise, would take a lifetime. So why not get started today?
Dave Zembiec is director of administration and community projects with the New York State Tug Hill Commission.
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The Moose River -- Canoeing the North Branch of the Moose River is like stepping back to a simpler time. The meandering flow carries you through unspoiled wilderness, past large stands of forest and natural sand bars perfect for an afternoon picnic. Simply put; you will experience more natural beauty in one afternoon in a canoe than most people see in a lifetime.
Since 1979, Tickner's Adirondack Canoe Outfitters has been providing wilderness experiences on the Moose River and surrounding Adirondack waters. Over the years, they have grown to become the largest rental canoe shop in the Adirondacks. Their store is uniquely situated on the banks of the Moose River and they offer 4 and 6 hour trips on the North and Middle Branch of the Moose River.
In addition, they also offer canoe & Rail rides where you canoe down the Middle Branch of the Moose River where you meet the Adirondack Scenic Railway. You and your canoe catch the train for a scenic ride back to town.
The Tickners also offer canoe & camping trips from 1 - 7 nights at such places as Nelson Lake, Stillwater Reservoir, the North & Middle Branch, Lake Lila, the Bog River Flow and the Adirondack Canoe Route with full shuttle service throughout the Adirondacks.
Click here to make reservations by e-mail
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