Whitewater Rafting in New York’s Adirondack Mountains

by Patrick Cunningham, President
Hudson River Rafting Company

The Lake George, Saratoga, and North Creek regions are blessed with two scenic rivers — the Hudson and Sacandaga Rivers. The Hudson River Gorge stretches 53 miles (upper 17 miles; middle 19 miles; and lower 18 miles) for whitewater rafting, tubing, and kayaking. The Sacandaga River is a major tributary entering the Hudson River at Rockwell Falls in Lake Luzerne off Route 9N going to Saratoga. Rafting starts April 1st with three seasons: spring, summer, and fall; so whenever you visit the Adirondacks, the Hudson River Rafting Company has a wilderness adventure for you to get inside the Adirondacks. Rafting and tubing are fun, and you will have stories to tell about your river adventure from “mild to wild.” 2012 will be a record- setting year for high water, and the mighty Hudson River set an all-time high record by reaching a flow of 36,000 cubic feet per second with a reading of 13.6 feet at the North Creek gauge house.

The upper Hudson River Gorge runs daily in the spring, and Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the summer and fall. We receive recreational dam releases from Indian Lake, so rafting is guaranteed on your visit. This 17-mile adventure is one of America’s single best rafting trips.

The middle Hudson River Gorge has three sections: North River – 6 miles; North Creek – 7 miles; Riparius – 7 miles which has Class ll and lll whitewater. We can raft or tube the North River section by riding the bubble into North Creek at 2 pm. North Creek has been using the Hudson’s middle gorge for recreation offering the Whitewater Derby (same weekend as the Kentucky Derby) for the past 55 years, starting in 1957. When you come to North Creek, they say the water is warm since the outfitters start rafting on Gore Mountain’s snow April 1st each year.

The Sacandaga River has been damned at the great Sacandaga Lake; and this working river makes power 12 months a year. Thirty-three years ago, the Hudson River Rafting Company and Adirondack Wildwaters (closed) started offering summer and fall rafting adventures to families and camps visiting the Lake George and Saratoga regions. This large flow of water gave us 3.5 miles of free- flowing water, creating Nature’s Water Park. Everybody loves the Bow Bridge’s big standing wave as the Sacandaga River enters the Hudson River. Beautiful Rockwell Falls is right above this confluence, becoming the first waterfall and narrow chasm on the Hudson River as you leave the Adirondacks.

The lower Hudson River Gorge, again, has three sections: Thurman – 18 miles; Buttermilk – 7 miles; and Hadley – 3 miles, floating through a beautiful valley as the Hudson leaves the Adirondacks. The moving current is Class 1 water and gives you a chance to relax and float a scenic river. These trips are guided and self guided where rafting or tubing is popular. Tubby Tubes has made the Hadley section of this float a favorite place for young children and families to have an adventure that starts people playing in Nature’s Water Park.