Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls

Adirondacks, New York

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Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls


  • The massive spillway as seen from the put-in.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The first drop is a great place to practice waterfall technique.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The right side of the first drop offers a twisting slide.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The second drop has an obvious flake to avoid a nasty hole.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • A short but steep Class IV rapid follows immediately after the second waterfall.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The often-overlooked mini gorge ends in a significant hole.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • Halfway down Moshier Falls.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • Dropping into the second tier of Moshier Falls.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • A perfect boof in the third stage of Moshier Falls.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The first tier of Moshier Falls features several diagonal waves.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • Swarms of paddlers gather at Moshier Falls to watch successful lines and carnage.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The final tier of Moshier Falls hosts a very turbulent hole.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • The runout of Moshier Falls leads directly to the takeout.- Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
  • - Beaver River: The Spillway to Moshier Falls
Overview + Weather
High quality rapids. Variety of difficulty. Great scenery.
Big crowds. Only one release per year.
Adirondacks, NY
Average Gradient: 
58.00 ft/mi (10.98 m/km)
Route Characteristics: Character:
Pool Drop, Gorge, Wooded (Forested)
Gauge URL: 
Overall difficulty: 
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Put-in location (lat, long coordinates): 
Suitable for:
Kayaks, Rafts
Take-out location (lat, long coordinates): 
Moshier Falls Powerhouse
Total Distance: 
2.13 mi (3.43 km)
Current Local Weather:

Notable Hazards + River Information

Adventure Description

Adventure Description


The Moshier Section of the Beaver River is the crown jewel of the Beaver River system. It features a perfect waterfall, great scenery, fun between rapids, and one of the best rapids in New York. Sadly, the power company releases water for this section for only four hours each year on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend. As such, it gathers a huge crowd, and there are often lines just to run the rapids.

Paddlers will begin by hiking down below the enormous aqueduct that typically diverts water to the power house. Once at the river's edge, an enormous spillway comes into view on the other side. Simply known as The Put In Slide or The Spillway, this Class V+ cascade drops over 100 feet in a long slide. The main flow of the river crashes into a block of bedrock, sending a rooster tail 15 feet into the air. While some paddlers choose to hike up and put in near the top of the slide, the consequence of messing up the line can be costly.

When you've finished watching the stuntmen (and women) on the slide, paddle downstream through a few riffles and some flatwater to reach the first drop. On the left, a perfect 12-foot waterfall can be found amid a throng of people. It's easy to hike laps on river left to perfect your waterfall technique. The far right side also has a fun line, dropping into a moderate hole and then down a twisting slide.

At the far end of the slowly moving pool, another small waterfall is found. The second drop hides a terrible hole in the center right, but it is easily avoiding by running over the obvious flake on the left. Immediately below the falls, the river turns 90 degrees to the right and flows through a Class IV rapid that is difficult to scout. No line is perfect here, as several unexpected rocks complicate the rapid. Just be sure to punch the first hole, and the rest will sort itself out.

Flatwater returns for a short while, with the occasional Class II-III to break it up. Eventually the riverbank rises into short but vertical cliffs. Within this mini gorge, the river funnels into a Class IV rapid, followed by a recirculating hole. The rapid is best run starting right and ending left of center where the hole is weakest.

More flatwater with interspersed Class II-III follows, ending in a slight left turn where you will see lots of boats on the river right shore. This is your marker to take out and scout Moshier Falls, a four-stage Class V- rapid. Many people choose to portage, so the trail is well worn. The rapid starts with a long series of crashing waves and diagonal holes, leading directly into a steep ramp with a huge hole. Both the right and the left sides are an option. Below here, the river moves swiftly through more crashing waves as it approaches the crux, a challenging wall boof on the left. It's important to note there is a sieve/undercut cave directly below the pillow that forms the boof. While many paddlers pass by it unharmed, even upside-down, swimmers have been caught in the cave on more than one occasion.

A brief pool gives paddlers time to catch their breath before plunging over the final tier of Moshier Falls, an enormous pourover with a hole that looks worse than it really is. It's still quite sticky though, and it is best avoided on the left or the right. About 50 yards of Class III runout follows until the take-out on river left. Many people hike their boats back up and run several laps on Moshier Falls.

For shuttles: From the take-out, simply follow the dirt road past the gate and along the aqueduct back to the top. Parking will be scarce.

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(20 within a 30 mile radius)

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