Oswegatchie River

I’m going to hook up with an old High School friend in May/June and am looking at doing the Oswegatchie. I’ve read that we can put in at Inlet and go up to High Falls but am wondering if we wanted to do a down river trip where would be a good place to put in and what kind of river conditions, WW/rapids/portages/lining would have be be done. Many thanks for any advice.


Paddler’s Guide
Suggest you get the Adirondack Paddler’s Guide and map, available from St. Regis Canoe Outfitters http://www.canoeoutfitters.com/maps.html

On their Routes page they have a brief description of the Bog River-Oswegatchie Traverse, which is the way to do a downriver trip. You can put in at Lows lower dam, paddle up the Bog River flow, carry at the upper dam (about 1/4 mi) then traverse Lows Lake; at the other end there is a canoe trail (about 3? mi) to carry to the upper Oswegatchie River. I’d guess it’s about a 13-14 mile paddle to get to the carry trail access point. I’ve not done it but I hiked a part of that trail off of Lows Lake on the way to other trails, and for the most part it looked cartable. I’ve heard of canoeists carrying to High Falls as well, from the Dead Creek Flow on Cranberry Lake (4+ miles).

Upstream from Inlet and then back down would of course be much easier. No real whitewater on the Oswegatchie; there are some small rapids and beaver-dam drops here and there. You can paddle some of the upper Oswegatchie by carrying around High Falls; depending on beaver dams obstructing the way.

The upper Oswegatchie and surrounding Five Ponds Wilderness area is one of the most remote & wild areas of the Adirondacks. Absolutely wonderful!

A great resource where you’ll learn alot from experienced paddlers there is the Paddling and Trip Reports sections on the ADK forum:



Have fun!
You might try www.americanwhitewater.org as well.

Dan Caldwell

Rapid Media TV Guy

I paddled a section of the river
some 35 years ago. I must have been on the wrong part of the river. The section I paddled was described as “pure Canadian shield”. The reality of the section I paddled, if I recall correctly, was a somewhat swampy slow moving, narrow and winding river. It was interesting, but not what I was expecting. Again, I think I must have gotten into the wrong area. We spent one or two nights out if I recall.

Blackflies !!!
Doug, In May and June the Blackflies can be a bitch.

I have paddled this river with Conk in August. It is narrow and twisty. Really cool. Conk could give You the answers You are looking for. He has done this area a bunch of times.

We did an up and back trip from Inlet the time I went with him. The 2 rapids are really short and small. lots of Beaver dams.

Where in Inlet is the put in? Yeah, blackflies! Hate em’ and we aren’t totally set on those dates, although what about early May? I spent a lot of time in the Daks as a kid but haven’t been back much since.


I’ve paddled the Os
many times in May, although not recently. It can be a long paddle up to High Falls against the spring flood, but the return is quite fast. Maybe 6-8 hours up and 2 hours back, but totally depends on flow. Normally you’ll be OK with blackflies before Memorial Day. You might encounter a few, but usually not too bad. If you go between May 1st and 15th, they will likely not be present at all, but warmer than usual weather can change that in a heartbeat. It’s a great time to go, you can normally run the beaver dams in both directions.

Inlet is the put-in

Because your asking where the put-in is in Inlet I have to believe your confused with Inlet NY and the boat launch on the East branch of the Oswegatchie River, otherwise known as Inlet. The Oswegatchie Inlet is a parking lot at the end of a four-mile dirt road. It is off Route 3 half way between Star Lake and Wanakena in the township of Fine.