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Adirondack Paddling: East Canada Creek

A paddler on East Canada Creek.
A paddler on East Canada Creek.
Photo by Phil Brown

Driving the Powley-Piseco Road is an adventure in itself, but the dirt highway also serves as a starting point for exploration of the Ferris Lake Wild Forest in the southern Adirondacks.

Hikers will find numerous trails, most of them unmarked, leading from the road to such destinations as Sand Lake, Goldmine Stream Falls, Clockmill Pond, and Big Alderbed.

For paddlers, there is East Canada Creek, a lovely stream that winds through marshes and past pristine forest, with views of nearby mountains.

From the put-in at the iron bridge at Powley Place—a large, open area—you can paddle almost two miles downstream until you reach rapids. You also can go a short distance upstream before progress is blocked by beaver dams and/or alders.

Most of this stretch of the East Canada is bordered by marshes, grassy banks, and alder thickets. At this time of year, you’ll see lots of gentian in bloom. In a few places, the river pulls beside the mossy forest, where ferns grow close to the water.

About a quarter-mile downstream from the bridge, a grassy inlet enters from the left. You can go up the inlet a short way for a good view of Big Alderbed Mountain to the west.

The East Canada then winds south through marshes, paralleling Sugarbush Mountain, which rises nearby to the right. After a mile, you come to a long straightaway and a low beaver dam that usually can be paddled over with no problem. A half-mile farther on, you go around a bend and hear rapids.

At 1.75 miles, the stream divides in two as it flows around an island at the head of the rapids. This is the place to turn around. In the cascades below, the East Canada drops fifteen feet.

In all, you can get in about four miles of flatwater paddling on the East Canada. If you’re up for more, check out Big Bay, a 2.5-mile-long impoundment on Piseco Outlet. The put-in for Big Bay is on State Route 10, just a tenth of a mile north of the northern end of Powley-Piseco Road.

From the junction of Route 8 and Route 30 in Speculator, drive west on Route 8 for 12.4 miles to Route 10. Turn left and go 1.2 miles to Powley-Piseco Road. Turn right and go 8.2 miles to the bridge over East Canada Creek. Launch your canoe or kayak near the southwest corner of the bridge.



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