Moose River & Oswegatchie River


The Moose River is considered a mountain waterway with three branches: the North Branch, the Middle Branch and the South Branch.  The North Branch begins at the outlet of Big Moose Lake, in northern Herkimer County.  The Middle Branch starts at the Fulton Chain Lakes located in Old Forge.  The Southern Branch has its headwaters in Little Moose Lake located in Hamilton  County.  The general flow of the river is westward through Herkimer County into Lewis County, where it converges with the Black River in Lyons Falls.  Moose River is a favorite spot for whitewater rafters, kayakers, and canoeists.  There are three whitewater sections below McKeever with varying degrees of difficulty.  The middle section of Moose river is classified as a class 2-3 that reaches from the gaging station in McKeever to Rock Island.  The lower section is a class 3-5, reaching from Rock Island to just above Fowlersville Falls.  The bottom section of Moose river is a class 5+, spanning from Fowlersville on.

Every year in October, hundreds of whitewater enthusiasts flock to the Moose River from all parts of the US and Canada.  The bottom of the river is a particularly favorite run for those who enjoy class V whitewater rapids.  The bottom run has many waterfalls, ranging from easy and straightforward to difficult and dangerous. There are also several hydropower projects along the Moose River.


The Oswegatchie River is made up of three branches: East, West, and Middle.  The Five Ponds Wilderness is where all three branches begin.

The Middle Branch is favorable for canoeists due to the shallow and fast moving waters, with only a couple of slow-moving sections.  Alder Bed Flow and Moynehan Flow are included in the Middle Branch.  Experienced kayakers occasionally take advantage of the high water conditions, generally from the Bear Pond Road to a seasonal access road located by Mullins Flow.  Due to the remoteness and seasonal access of these roads, this only attracts the most enthusiastic kayakers.

The West Branch is slower yet than the Middle Branch, with its still waters: Long Pond, Mud Pond, and Long Level separated by rapids and waterfalls.  Unlike the Middle Branch, the West Branch is not canoe friendly due to its small and narrow feeder streams with fallen logs and overhanging alders.  Back during the Depression there was a public trail from where the outlet of Mud Pond crosses the Long Pond Road all the way to Jerden Falls Road.  However, today there is no sign of this trail.

The Middle Branch and the West Branch converge near the village of Harrisville in northern Lewis County.  The river then flows downstream as the West Branch Oswegatchie until it merges with the East Branch near the village of Talcville in St. Lawrence County.  From there it is simply known as the Oswegatchie, as it flows northerly until it empties into the St. Lawrence River near Ogdensburg.

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