The Black River is 114 miles long and features long stretches of meandering flatwater as well as exciting segments of whitewater rafted both commercially and privately. The 21-mile section from the spectacular Lyons Falls to Beeches Landing wends through the gently rolling hills between the Tug Hill Plateau and the foothills of the Adirondacks. In the heat of the summer this section is generally very low with occasional sandbars. Sections above Lyons Falls and below Beeches Landing are also commonly paddled.
Make sure to budget extra time at the put-in for your trip. The boat launch is located directly below a 70-foot waterfall and dam. Due to the abrupt benches of bedrock, climbing up the side of the falls is quite easy, but mist from the falls makes the rock exceptionally slippery. Use caution.
Once you're ready to head downstream, slip into the gentle current and float your way into surprising solitude. The river is never very far from a road, but there are extended periods where it is out of earshot and out of sight. The occasional riffle will add some excitement to your day. Additionally, the remains of the Black River canal can be seen at various points along the river. At low water especially, wooden posts that once supported a dock system stick above the surface.
Farmer's fields, enormous willows, and occasional camps and homes line the banks. It is not uncommon to see herons, Canada geese, deer, and even beaver or muskrat along the river. The fishing is also great, featuring trout, bass, and pike.
Unfortunately, the river is very polluted from industrial and agricultural runoff. Surprisingly, it is the presence of natural tannic acid in the river that creates the dark, "rootbeer" coloring, not the pollutants.
There are several access points along the river, both above and below Beeches Landing. The first boat launch below Lyons Falls is Burdicks Crossing, just outside the town of Greig. The next is off of the Greig Road in Glenfield. Otter Creek and the Independence River enter on the right before the takeout at Beeches Landing. Several more boat launches exist between here and the mouth of the river.
Beeches Landing is found on river left, shortly below the Number 4 Road Bridge.