Visitors Center - Mettowee River
Meet the Mettowee...
Sally Dewes hits the line on the Mettowee River. Photo by Dennis Squires
Mettawee River near North Granville Class IV-V Length 4.5 miles The Mettawee has good scenery and it doesn’t take much rain to get the river up and running for a long while. Most any day from late March through May will have enough (or too much) water for you to play on. You’ll be getting out several times to look ahead when the river gets steep.
The first rapid (IV+) at the bridge is a great spot for a photo. It’s not as gnarly as it looks – just stay right side up. The next good one (IV) is about 0.25-mile downstream. For the few miles that follow you’ll find easy water and a handful of rapids that you can scout while staying in your boat. And just as you start feeling really relaxed a big horizon line (IV+/V) appears – get out and scout or portage on either side. If you run this, start down the right center and keep paddling all the way through – things will happen quickly. As you get to the big ledge, ski jump over the left center (and the hydraulic), and keep paddling!
The next major rapid is Z-turn (IV); watch out for the undercut rock face at the bottom right side (Sally’s Hole). This flows into the next steep, but easy down the middle, rapid (III+). A few minutes more and you’ll be at the falls and the take-out. The most exciting line here is way right – with lots of airtime. Be aware that there’s a small cave behind the right side of the falls, which, so far, has been more a source of humor than fear.
Directions: On NY Route 22 in North Granville, which is 20 miles northeast of the city of Glens Falls, turn north onto Truthville Road (County Route 12). At the T take a left, the put-in is at the bridge. Or you can go right at the top of the next hill and get in at the fishing access a few hundred yards upstream (this is above the first hard rapid you’ll see at the bridge). For the take-out, get back on Route 22 and head west. In less than 2 miles you want to take the first right on Upper Turnpike Road and go about 2 miles, then park at the big turn out on the right at the falls.
Gauge: To find out how high the river is, go to http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis. Click on Real-time; select New York; and finally, either select a site or view the entire Statewide Streamflow Table. Levels of 4.4 feet to 4.8 feet are ideal and 5.0 feet is getting high. If you don’t mind a lot of scraping you can paddle this as low as 3.5 feet.
When it really rains in New York there are probably 1,000 brooks, creeks and rivers that can be paddled. They range from slowly moving water to class VI. Most of these have very short doable sections, but a variety of problems: lots of trees across the streambed, barbed wire, high water bridges, waterfalls, dams and more. There are, fortunately, almost 250 rivers and creeks of various degrees of difficulty that can be paddled for pleasure – if you know where and when to find them.
Adirondack Sports Fitness This article was first published in Adirondack Sports & Fitness, the only regional publication that uniquely covers outdoor recreation sports and fitness topics in New York State's Adirondack Park and Capital-Saratoga region.