Lower Deerfield  

This is a class I and class II whitewater trip. Novice level Whitewater is not Novice level flatwater. Good boat handling skills a must.  Helmets required to prevent serious injury. This is a RSVP trip.  Click here for more information on the Deerfield River or the Charlemont Rain Gauge.

Here is a report that will update paddlers every few minutes on the Fife Brook Dam release.

Leader Jim McGrath JMcgrath@fedex.com 1-508- 865-8068.

Flatwater, quickwater, Class I & II

This year well paddle a shorter trip than last year. The shorter trip will provide more class I rapids, and less of class II.  Well cover about 8 miles, in about 3 hours. Sweeps and safety boaters needed.

Newbies are welcome to join in! Have some fun, work on new skills. Proper equipment a must.  Spray skirts highly recommended.  Helmets required to prevent serious injury.

Shuttle required.

Meet time: TBD  Meet place: Shunpike Rest Area, on the left side traveling west on Rt 2.

Co-Leaders please sign up in advance. 

Jim McGrath,

description of river trip-
Paddlers looking for milder whitewater run on the Deerfield river!
The 8 mile run holds both class I and II rapids. It takes about 3 hours and starts at Shunpike rest area. The best route is down the middle of the river. There are 2 sections of rapids between the Rt. 8 Bridge and the take-out. But, for the most part, the river is fast-flowing and unobstructed.

The Fife Brook Dam release is generally about 3 hours. You can call the Fife Brook Dam voice recording the morning of the paddle to get the exact release time that day.
It takes 2.5 hours for the water to reach the lower section where we will be paddling. So, meet time is 1pm that day, unless the release time changes slightly. We'll know that morning, and need to flexible to the power company's timed release that day. The Dam release # is 1-800-452-1737, the Dam code is 255123. This recording will tell you the exact time of release scheduled.

Directions; Take the Mass Pike West, to Rt 91 north to Exit 26, RT 2 west for about 17 miles to the Indian bridge. "Put-in" in Charlemont, Ma at the Shunpike rest area. On the left traveling west. There is ample parking there. The rest area is just before the Indian bridge on Rt. 2. If you reach the Indian bridge (passing over the Deerfield river), there is a sign on the right side "Rowe/ Monroe". You've gone too far! Its about 1/2 mile before the bridge. There is a sign "Shunpike Rest Area". You will see a parking area and picnic tables.




Deerfield River Guide


The river begins with some fastwater followed in a couple of hundred yards by the first class II rapid, Hangover Helper. The lead-in contains a few moderate-sized surfing waves. On river left and right, large eddies offer good places to stop and paddle back up into the rapid to surf the waves. This first drop is an excellent teaching site because the pool below it makes rescue a breeze and eddy lines and waves are well defined. A couple of class II rapids follow the abutment. The second, Freight Train, following the channel left of the island, holds some interesting surfing waves and a swirly eddyline for squirting at levels around 1000 cfs. Looking to the right at the base of this rapid, the remains of the mill building are still visible as stone walls, columns and lintels that have withstood the weather. After the railroad bridge follows a section of shoals as the river widens and flattens out. Choose the deepest channels here since there are several sections where a boat will easily run aground. As you float through these shoals, you pass under the Bridge to Nowhere, so named because it crosses from Florida into Rowe on what used to be a town road leading northeastward into the center of Rowe. The road is now maintained only as far as the two remaining homes on the Rowe side of the river, but its former path can be traced by walking up and over the mountain as it passes a few abandoned farms. About a mile past the Bridge to Nowhere, the river turns sharply left and enters a mile-and-a-half-long class II section called Pinball, which is one of the more interesting rapids on this stretch. With numerous large boulders forming excellent eddies and a few tight slots, several small surfing waves, and plenty of places to rest or recover, this rapid is a great play spot for beginning to intermediate boaters, and makes a perfect instructional area.

The next rapid in this section ends in a large, deep pool across from a rock outcropping. The small patch of sand on river left is known as Miami Beach because of its proximity to Florida, Massachusetts (which happens to be one of the coldest towns in the state). This is a nice place to stop for lunch or a breather. A few surfing waves appear in the rapid above the beach at most levels.

Continuing past Miami Beach, stay left of the large island, since at most levels the right side is too shallow to get down without scraping. Another class II rapid follows the island around then back right and ends in a pool with panoramic views straight ahead of Negus Mountain, named after a colonial British colonel. Past the pool, the river becomes shoaly again as it prepares for the largest rapid on this section, Zoar Gap, Class III.

For Class II boaters we'll take-out before we get to the Gap, on river right.

Directions to the put-in:  Take the Mass Pike West, to Rt 91 north to Exit 26, RT 2 west for about 18 miles to the Indian bridge. Once your reach the Indian bridge take the right just before the bridge onto Zoar Rd. There is a sign there "Rowe/Monroe" also. Follow Zoar Rd. to the end. Make a left at the end and proceed under the RxR bridge. Continue on the road you'll reach the bridge that passes over the Zoar Gap. Continue on the road for 5 miles. On the right you'll see a white sign and dirt parking area down a slight incline. The white sign reads "Fishing Access Area". Mostly likely there will be several cars and boats there just before the dam starts it's release.

Directions to the take-out: Just below Zoar Gap.  Take the Mass Pike West, to Rt 91 north to Exit 26, RT 2 west for about 17 miles to the Indian bridge. Just before the Indian bridge on Rt.2, there is a sign on the right side "Rowe/ Monroe". Take that right, follow the river till You come to a "T" in the road. Go left and under the bridge. Travel pass Zoar Picnic Area and the dirt parking lot on the right before the next bridge, is where we'll meet.


Any paddle sport is an assumed risk sport. Some aspects of canoeing and kayaking involve the risk  of serious injury or death. The Rhode Island Canoe/Kayak Association (Rhode Island Canoe Association, Inc.), although safety conscious, cannot guarantee your personal safety in club activities. Each participant is responsible for his or her own training in boating and rescue techniques, equipment, and personal well-being when engaging in or attending club-organized activities.