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Canoeing from Tahawus to Warrensburg on Hudson - looking for navigation info

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  • Canoeing from Tahawus to Warrensburg on Hudson - looking for navigation info

    Hello!

    I'm looking for information on the navigability of the Hudson for canoeing between Henderson Lake/Tahawus and Warrensburg, NY (the upper Hudson). Does anyone know where I can find info on rapids, carries, dams, distances, etc.? Is this trip feasible in canoes? Has anyone done this trip before?

    Thanks!
    ~Anna

  • #2
    Here is a link to an online topo map browser...

    What sort of boat do you have?
    If you can interpret the topo maps well enough, look at the drops for various sections. Generally speaking, 5 to 10 feet per mile will be flat, up to 25 or 30 feet per mile exciting (or limiting, depending on boat and experience), over 30 feet per mile not navigable for an open canoe. Beaver dams, ledges and waterfalls are good, gradual rock gardens are not.
    Even though there have been some more NYS acquisitions in the past year, some of that route passes through private lands...that's a whole 'nuther set of variables.

    Immediately downstream from Henderson will not be navigable now. Between the Opalescent and Newcomb river confluences there is a nearly 2 mile stretch of 100 ft per mile gradient, below that will be OK if not too bony. I'm sure you know about the drops between Rt 28N and the Indian confluence, and the gorge...
    Last edited by stripperguy; 06-27-2015, 08:53 AM. Reason: added a forgotten detail!

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    • #3
      Lots of shallow rapids in the upper part from Tahawus to Newcomb

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      • #4
        Feasible in canoes? Generally, no. You can find up to Class 3 in the section below the Tahawus Club, and as pointed out, it crosses private land. If you stay in the boat, you're fine, but I'm not sure what would happen if you walk on land to get your boat around rapids. Some folks say we have a right to do this, others, no.

        You'll find up to Class V in the Hudson Gorge, I wouldn't do it in an open canoe. I'd rig up some sort of cover and put extra floatation in the boat.

        I would have at least 2 other canoes with me on a trip like this. The gorge is the worst part and can be quite dangerous.

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        • #5
          No class V in the gorge. "Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain** large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. A very reliable eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class 5 is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc… each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last. Example: increasing difficulty from Class 5.0 to Class 5.1 is a similar order of magnitude as increasing from Class IV to Class 5.0. " It can be big at high water.

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          • #6
            Where is there private land above Newcomb? Please be specific.

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            • #7
              Starts near where the Perch Pond outlet joins the Hudson.

              http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/wp...stTransfer.jpg

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              • #8
                Thank you so much for the responses! Super helpful! A few more details: I'm working with a nonprofit organization called the Clipperton Project (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvteBqiKTH4) that runs expeditions with a focus on environmentalism and education. We're looking to do a trip from the source of the Hudson at Lake Tear down to either Albany or NYC next august with approx 4-5 traditional wooden canoes. Do you think this is unrealistic considering the rapids and shallows in the upper regions? Any way around them or any alternate suggestions?
                Thanks!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by asand View Post
                  Hello!

                  I'm looking for information on the navigability of the Hudson for canoeing between Henderson Lake/Tahawus and Warrensburg, NY (the upper Hudson). Does anyone know where I can find info on rapids, carries, dams, distances, etc.? Is this trip feasible in canoes? Has anyone done this trip before?
                  The book Adirondack Canoe Waters: South and West Flow describes the river with good detail.

                  The book River of Mountains: A Canoe Journey Down the Hudson describes a journey down the Hudson from source to sea.

                  The American Whitewater river database has details on the whitewater sections of the river.

                  As others have mentioned, the Hudson gorge is challenging whitewater and should only be attempted by experienced whitewater paddlers with appropriate boats and favorable water levels.

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                  • #10
                    This sounds like an interesting and ambitious project...
                    I paddle wooden canoes almost exclusively, although mine are modern "strippers" with clear fiberglass and resin skins. None of my boats could navigate the upper Hudson.
                    Sections of the Hudson, particularly the gorge, might be navigable in an open canoe, but only one designed for whitewater using modern composites and equipped with floatation bags. Traditional wooden canoes will not survive, and could be a life threatening proposition.
                    Is your organization determined to portray a full length, Hudson River trip?
                    There are other historic/traditional canoe routes that more accurately show the true allure of the Adirondacks, IMHO. While admittedly more subdued than a raging whitewater romp, there is much to be said for a serene, wilderness canoe trip.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by stripperguy View Post
                      .....While admittedly more subdued than a raging whitewater romp, there is much to be said for a serene, wilderness canoe trip.
                      Yes!


                      Asand, There is a book called, "At the Mercy of the Mountains". It's about people getting lost, hurt, etc. in the ADKs. I believe in this book is a chapter on two men who decided to canoe the Hudson Gorge. Their canoe was smashed and they had to walk out. My copy of the book is on loan to a friend so I don't have it in front of me, but I'm pretty sure it's in there.

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                      • #12
                        Dundee, the story you mentioned is Chapter 9, called Running The Hudson River Gorge. It is indeed a cautionary tale.
                        Zach

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                        • #13
                          thanks.

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                          • #14
                            Any way around the gorge that doesn't involve motor vehicles? any hiking trails?

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                            • #15
                              I'm afraid there are none. And that's the problem with the Gorge, you can get stuck in it. It's deep enough and the walls are steep enough to make it a problem hauling your gear out of it and it's a long bushwhack with boulder hopping within the Gorge. Onec you start down, you're committed.

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