The Best Fall Whitewater: Deerfield River, Massachusetts

Best for families and leaf freaks

Oct 1, 2012
Outside Magazine

Deerfield River, Massachusetts.    Photo: Alex Kerney

One of the most heavily-used rivers in the country, the Deerfield holds 10 dams over its 76 miles. The longest undammed stretch of the Deerfield is the Zoar Gap section, 17 miles of Class III and III+ which stretches from Fife Brook Dam to Number Four Dam. It’s popular with kayakers because of the multitude of features, and because busy rapids, like Class II Pinball, give beginner boaters lots of places to work on reading water and navigating eddys. The other whitewater section, the Class IV Dryway, is short but serious. It’s less than three miles, but it gets progressively more intense as you head downstream. There are three major sieves on the section, so first-time boaters should go with someone familiar with the rapids.