Monday, December 23, 2019

The Longest Adirondack Rivers

Hudson River near the Blue Ledges by Paul Schaefer, c. 1968How many times have we seen the Adirondack mountains ranked by height, the tallest 46 separated into a revered category of their own?

There’s a club and way of life dedicated to hiking the 46, and a Lake Placid restaurant offers 46 different sandwiches named for the peaks.

For a change, today we list the largest streams in the Adirondack region.*

Name / Drainage area, sq. mi. / Length in mi.
Hudson River / 4,627 / 156
Mohawk River / 3,462 / 154
Black River / 1,916 / 126
Oswegatchie River / 1,603 / 125
Raquette River / 1,256 / 152
Sacandaga River / 1,058 / 80
St. Regis River / 852 / 84
Hoosic River / 713 / 60
Grasse River / 676 / 109
Saranac River / 614 / 75
Schroon River / 568 / 53
W. Canada Creek / 562 / 69
Indian River (N) / 559 / 112
Ausable River / 518 / 57
Batten Kill / 441 / 42
Moose River / 432 / 52
Salmon River / 410 / 54
Beaver River / 334 / 55
E. Br. Oswegatchie / 331 / 51
Great Chazy River / 300 / 44
W. Br. Oswegatchie / 294 / 26
E. Canada Creek / 291 / 30
Boquet River / 278 / 55
Fish Creek / 252 / 18
W. Br. Sacandaga / 227 / 25
S. Br. Moose / 212 / 35
Indian River (central) / 201 / 15
Kayaderosseras Creek / 196 / 30
Cedar River / 164 / 39
Chateaugay River (NY portion) / 163/ 28
Walloomsac River / 156 / 14
Woodhull Creek / 149/ 16
Oriskany Creek / 146 / 30
E. Br. Sacandaga / 122 / 22
Black Creek / 103 / 24
Trout Brook / 100 / 7

We’re not suggesting anybody get a patch for paddling all of these; long stretches are unnavigable anyway. It’s just that we tend to overlook that the rivers in our towns have lives up- and downstream, and it’s humbling—I guess that’s the word—to be reminded how extensive they are (the Raquette, 152 miles!).

* Source: “The Technical Reports” for the 1971 and 1990 state commissions on the future of the Adirondacks. It’s unclear how they defined “Adirondack region” but many of these waters flow outside of the Blue Line.

Photo of Hudson River near the Blue Ledges by Paul Schaefer, c. 1968.

The article first appeared on the Adirondack Almanack on Oct 14, 2009.

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Mary Thill lives in Saranac Lake and has worked alternately in journalism and Adirondack conservation for three decades.

12 Responses

  1. Beverly Stellges says:

    Cool! It would be interesting to know where each of these begins and where it ends! Are there duplicate names like all the ponds and lakes? For instance, is Fish Creek at Fish Creek Campground?? Thanks!

  2. Noel A. Sherry says:

    Hello Mary,
    Loved your research on Adirondack rivers. You remind me of a map I had created earlier this year which actually shows all the rivers and watershed areas in the Adirondacks. There is a unique mapmaker who has a website and he creates these very unique maps showing rivers, elevation, and other features for states, countries, regions, or the whole world. I had him create a watershed map of the Adirondacks for me, with the surrounding areas, so Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence R, Hudson, Connecticut R. He drew in the “Blue Line” in red and the state borders, with a star showing my location in the Adirondacks. I paid about $100 for a high quality print and have it framed and hanging in my log cabin on Twitchell Lake, in Big Moose, NY. I wish I could attach a draft of it here to show you but do not see how to do that. His website is
    Thanks for your article, Send me your email address and I will send you a copy of it in JPG.

    Noel Sherry
    9 Twitchell Lake
    Big Moose, NY 13331

  3. Steve B. says:

    Sometimes Wikipedia can have errors, but they list the Mohawk as 149 miles, with the Hudson as 315.

    Obviously some variations exist dependent on what stream or brook you count as headwaters, but not likely the Mohawk is only 2 miles shorter than the Hudson.

  4. Pete says:

    I enjoyed this post regarding Adirondack rivers

  5. Lorraine Duvall says:

    Mary – thanks for the statistics. And Noel – perhaps John Warren would post your watershed map on the Almanack for us all to see.

  6. Tom V says:

    Fun! And as a dedicated water-hugger, I’m pleased to see our stream given the recognition they deserve. Now, how about lakes—both surface area and volume or maximum depth?

    Are the lengths given for total length within the park.

  7. J Lo says:

    Ahhhh …only to be able to paddle all of them!

  8. Frank Retrosi says:

    Excellent…thank you.

  9. Martga says:

    Could I please info on how to get a copy of the picture of the canoe between the mountains featured in your ad?



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