The Mongaup–First Time Solo Canoe!

Me paddling the last rapid on the Mongaup

Last week I experienced the wonder and excitement of solo canoeing for the first time. The river of choice was the Mongaup–not a first timer’s river. Fortunately, I did not eat it and actually had a great time (having kayaked for a little while helps). The rest of this post will describe the river as well as some of my impressions of the open boat world.

The River

The Mongaup is a class II+ dam-released river in New York from the Rio Dam to the Delaware River. The river is about 2 and a half miles and starts just below the dam (which can release 1 barrel or both barrels) with a pretty good play wave. A lot of people like to stay on this wave and surf/ warm up. After that is another 100 yard rapid ending with a big eddy on river left to pick up gear should someone swim. The eddy is great for practicing some strokes and ferrying, catching eddies and getting into the current.

From this eddy, the river calms down, but it does keep going. The rapids get longer and

Struggling to go forward! I'm really missing the second paddle blade at this point. Neil is giving me some tips.

bigger the farther down one goes, ending in a double rapid into the Delaware. If you don’t want to do the last rapid, you can eddy out above a bridge. You can also do the first part of the rapid and eddy out right below the bridge. The main thing is that the last rapid is a little tricky and dumps into the Delaware, which is not a good place to catch all your gear should you swim.

Open Boat Time

My guide and canoe tutor Zack playing around in the first wave below the dam.

So, I’m a kayaker, and this open boat experience was interesting. Actually, it was thrilling. Guiltily, unexpectedly, I fell in love. I’ll write another post on what trying the new whitewater experience was like but for this one, just know that I am definitely going to be canoeing as much as possible in the future.


The Mongaup is a lot of fun for those looking to improve any boating skill–surfing, kayaking, and canoeing. Also! It’s dam-released from the bottom meaning the water is cold! Have a drysuit or don’t plan on swimming because it sucks the heat out of you quick.

I had one of the most fun times on the river canoeing the Mongaup. Try it, enjoy it, and see you on the river!



2 responses to “The Mongaup–First Time Solo Canoe!

  1. Pingback: Fife Brook–An AMC NY Trip | Earthy Journalist·

  2. Pingback: Detonator Canoe Review | Earthy Journalist·

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