The Hudson Gorge is a unique rafting experience when it comes to day trips. It’s got a steady current and the whitewater in the Gorge is sustained for miles and miles. Once the big water starts, it’s a continuous flow that goes a little something like “rapid, pool, rapid, pool, rapid, pool, rapid…” you get the idea. It’s one of the main reasons The Hudson Gorge is consistently rated one of the best whitewater day trips in the country. Every water level brings out different features in each rapid that guides know and love, but whitewater changes drastically when it’s high volume and there are a few rapids that are truly rip-roaring good in the spring time. While we know we shouldn’t play favorites, we’re totally going to. Read on for our top picks.
The Narrows might be The Hudson’s most beloved rapid at every water level but at high water it just plain stomps. Think sustained wave trains with peaks well over school bus height, big holes and wave troughs so deep you can’t see out of them. Chances are your guide will hype this one up, maybe even tell you about the time they saw God when they swam it during rookie training, and you’ll enter the rapid thinking “Yeah! I see what they mean, this is darn fun!” And then you’ll round the corner and see where The Narrows actually begin. The wave train is a straight shot down the right-hand shore and each wave gets progressively bigger and bigger. When it seems like your lungs can’t take any more hooting and hollering and your arms might fall off from paddling, it spits you out at the end.
Carter’s Landing, or Mile Long as it’s affectionately called is, you guessed it, a mile long. It starts off with a bang at a big ol’ hydraulic called Big Nasty and is just plain high water fun until you get to the Nuts and Bolts section. You’ll be tired by the time you get there, but your guide will most certainly be hollering at you to paddle harder because there’s two big boat flipping waves that need some serious momentum to punch through. As you’re smashing through hole after hole during this one, just remember that Carter’s Landing was also known for being one of the trickiest rapids to run during the river drive era—when whitewater was navigated via log. Give your self-bailing, sea-worthy raft a gracious pat at the end of this one and thank your lucky stars you weren’t an Adirondack logger 100 years ago.
Blue Ledges, sometimes called Entrance Rapid, is the perfect case of a rapid changing drastically between water levels. It’s the first real rapid on The Hudson after you merge from The Indian, and it typically gives you a good taste of what’s to come. In the summer it’s a great introduction, and eases you into the bigger rapids, but when the water is high it’s a fast moving, high volume, cold slap in the face. There’s hydraulics where there once were not, and those giant rocks you remember from your trip in July? Yeah, they’re all underwater. We think it’s the best possible way to get familiar with what’s to come in The Gorge. Blue Ledges is also the last known place that one of the BBO bosses flipped a boat. We’re looking at you, Pete.
Not actually where the bus stops, The Bus Stop is one giant ledge hole rumored to be big enough to stop a Greyhound Bus in its tracks. We’re not so sure about the validity of that claim as we’re pretty sure it’s never been tested, but it sure is big enough to flip a raft right over! When the water is really cranking, we don’t go near it because of its nearly spotless raft flipping track record. Every big water morning guide meeting starts the same: Pete and Bone saying “For the love of God don’t hit The Bus Stop” Looks like Marnie here didn’t get the memo.
But those aren’t the only ones! There’s also Harris Rifts (with 1 mile of roller coaster waves), Osprey Nest, Gun Sight In and Out, Givney’s Rift, the whole Indian River and countless waves in between them all. Whatever your flavor, The Hudson Gorge has got a high water rapid for you. Have a different favorite? Let us know in the comments! Water levels are still high and are looking promising for the rest of the spring. If super high water isn’t your thing, come on back after May for the same great trip, but with more approachable whitewater. Book your whitewater rafting trip by calling 1-888-454-8433 or online at www.beaverbrook.net