Hudson River Gorge

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New York, USA

Hudson River Gorge Guidebook

Beginning on the Indian River and continuing through the Hudson River Gorge, this run provides a 15-mile wilderness rafting experience with tremendous whitewater and stunning Adirondack landscape. It’s the state’s longest length of whitewater and is regarded as the best commercial Class IV in New York.

The Hudson has three distinct seasons offering a variety of rafting experiences. In the spring, the whitewater is the largest with challenging Class IV. During the summer, as flows mellow out and temperatures warm up, the rapids become tamer but still offer Class IV excitement. Finally in the fall, the river corridor sees far fewer people and you can see the landscape change with the season.

Interestingly, this trip starts on the Indian River which has scheduled releases of Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. The releases make it possible to raft the 2.5 miles on the Indian River to the Hudson confluence. The Hudson itself is runnable without the releases, but access is the limiting factor. Hence, the start on the Indian River.

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Hudson River Gorge – Class II, III & IV+

The Hudson River is an iconic stretch of whitewater in Upstate New York. This ~15 mile run offers a variety of rapids, beautiful Adirondack scenery, and consistent flows for multiple months.

Mile -0.16 – Otter Slide:

Class IV. This drop is just above the traditional put-in.

Mile 0 – Indian Head Put-In:

River Left. Unpaved walkway from the road to the river. Although this is considered the Hudson River run, you start on the Indian River, approximately 2.5 miles upstream from its confluence with the Hudson.

Mile 0.6 – Indian Head:

Class III. Continuous class III read-and-run.

Mile 1.66 – Gooley Steps:

Class III. This is a continuous Class III read-and-run rapid. Beware of a center pour over near the top of this rapid called “Kenny’s Hole”. It can be easily passed on the right.

Mile 2.46 – Indian & Hudson River Confluence:

River Left. The Hudson meets the Indian River here. At the confluence there’s Class II boogie water for a ways.

Mile 4 – Elephant Rock:

River Right. Pull your boat up to this jump rock, climb up, and send it!

Mile 4.88 – Virgin Falls Camp:

River Left. A small, shady camp with a waterfall.

Mile 4.91 – Virgin Falls:

River Left. Park at the small beach river right just upstream from this creek. Virgin Falls is a short walk up and well worth the stop. This small waterfall can be seen from the river.

Mile 5.53 – Blue Ledges:

Class III. This is Class III at most flows and is read and run. Enjoy the splashes as you enter the Hudson River Gorge. This rapid takes on a more aggressive character at high water. At high flows, start center and work your way to the right to avoid large holes and hydraulics.

Mile 6.1 – Blue Ledges Camp:

River Left. Sandy beach and easy parking river left. The camp area and fire ring are located just downstream in the trees.

Mile 6.32 – The Narrows:

Class IV. Enter the rapid river right, and stay right of center until you pass the “Widow Maker” hole. After that, head to the center and enjoy the big, splashy waves!

Mile 6.67 – Osprey Nest:

Class III. Run center down the fun, splashy waves.

Mile 6.86 – Carter’s Landing:

Class III. This long class III read-and-run rapid is aptly nicknamed “Mile Long”. Enter left of center to avoid the pour-over and then work toward the center. At higher flows, avoid “Nuts and Bolts”, the two ledge holes at the bottom of this rapid. They can be easily passed on the left.

Mile 7.97 – OK Slip Falls Camp:

River Right.

Mile 7.97 – OK Slip Falls:

River Right. If time allows, there is a strenuous 0.75 mile hike to a spectacular Adirondack waterfall. The trail is located upstream of OK Slip Brook and takes you up and over a steep hill to a lookout point to view the falls. “OK slip!” was the term that loggers used when releasing timber down stream (it was much easier for the river to move logs than for horses or men at the time).

Mile 8.42 – Givney’s Rift:

Class IV. Enter the rapid in the center and then move left to avoid the large center pour over/hole called “Soup Strainer”. After passing this feature, work back to the center. Some folks call this fun class IV Kettle Mountain Rapid after the peak just upstream on river left.

Mile 8.56 – Swimming Hole:

Enjoy a dip to celebrate getting through the class IV section of whitewater in this long, deep pool.

Mile 8.78 – Gunsight In:

Class II. Read and run, class II. You may notice the mountain saddles behind you and in front of you after paddling through this rapid. The saddles, and whitewater below them, are called “Gunsight In” and “Gunsight Out”.

Mile 9 – Gunsight Out:

Class II. Read and run.

Mile 9.36 – Harris Rift:

Class III. Splashy class III read-and-run rapid. There is a fun surf hole at most flows at the bottom of this rapid on the river right side called “Third Hole”.

Mile 9.85 – Third Hole:

This surf hole provides a fun ride at most flows. The feature can be accessed on either the right or left side. It is possible to paddle or row back upstream in the eddy line if you miss the surf on your first go. This is a popular spot for commercial boats. If it’s busy, you can eddy out above the feature on river right.

Mile 10.4 – Fluffy Box of Kittens:

This is a fun surf hole in the center of the river. You can pull into the eddy below the rocks on river left to get a good look at this feature before floating into it.

Mile 10.8 – Train Track Pool:

A nice, long pool of calm water to swim and float through.

Mile 11.2 – Railroad Bridge Trestle:

Train tracks cross the river here.

Mile 11.4 – Boreas River Camp:

River Left. If you are hauling gear, pull in river left before to confluence with the Boreas. If you are just making a pit-stop, the eddy at the confluence is easy to catch.

Mile 11.44 – Boreas River Confluence:

River Left. The Boreas river offers challenging Class III, IV and V whitewater for kayakers. It meets the Hudson river here.

Mile 12.1 – Bus Stop Wave:

This wave is called the “Bus Stop” because at high flows everyone is getting off here! this wave/hole can be avoided by staying tight and left at high flows. At most flows you can choose to avoid the feature or paddle through it. For a last hurrah adventure, you can paddle back upstream and surf this hole.

Mile 14.3 – Barton Mines Hudson River Plant:

River Right. Barton Mines extracts abrasive material that is used in commercial water jets.

Mile 14.9 – North River Take Out:

River Right. This is the easiest and most popular take out point for the Gorge trip. You may also choose to continue your float and take out at any of the pull-out access areas along Highway 28.