Paddling the Middle Moose

In the March/April issue of the Explorer, Mal Provost wrote about a long whitewater trip on the Middle Branch of the Moose River. Not being much of a whitewater paddler, I opted for a long flatwater trip on the same river earlier this week.

The Middle Branch of the Moose. Photo by Phil Brown.
The Middle Branch of the Moose. Photo by Phil Brown.

From Thendara, outside Old Forge, you can paddle down the Middle Moose for more than six miles. The catch is that you have to paddle back upriver. Although the current is slow, even a slow current can be tiring at the end of the day. You’ll need to judge for yourself how far you should venture before turning around.

The put-in is on Green Bridge Road in Thendara. At the start, the river winds through a marsh where you’re likely to see ducks and turtles. The right shoreline has seen a lot of development, but you’ll leave the buildings behind in less than a half-mile.

In just over a mile, you come to an old wooden dam. Take out on the left and follow a short path to the next put-in. Below the dam, the Moose has a much wilder feel as it meanders through a dark forest. As you continue downriver, the forest starts to open up and eventually gives way in places to alder swamps and marshes with big-sky views. On my trip, I enjoyed a close-up look at an American bittern hiding in the grasses.

You’ll reach a rapid about five and a half miles below the dam. Unless you’re a whitewater boater, this is the farthest you’ll want to go. Most people probably will want to turn around earlier.

If you’re interested in a shorter trip on the Middle Moose, see my earlier post on paddling to Nelson Lake.

Note: It is possible to paddle the longer stretch of the Moose and return by train. For information on this trip, call Tickner’s, an outfitter in Old Forge, at 315-369-6286.

Directions: From Route 28 just east of the railroad overpass in Thendara, drive south on Beech Street (which turns into Green Bridge Road). After crossing the Moose, park in the lot on the right. To put in, walk back over the bridge. The put-in will be on the right.

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

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