Deerfield River Reach 9

Last Updated: 2/2018
Fife Brook to Zoar Picinic Area

Reaches 9, 10, and 11
          From Fife Brook Dam in Florida, Massachusetts to the Number 4 dam in Buckland, the Deerfield River flows unimpeded for 17.6 miles. This is the longest stretch of the Deerfield River without a dam on the main river, this run is also among the most heavily used by whitewater paddlers.  We have broken this down into 3 separate reaches to make it most understandable.


Launch your kayak or canoe.  
  • Mile 37.4 - Almost immediately the river turns right into a Class II rapid at "Hangover Helper Rapids"  If you need to collect yourself, or others, you may want to find an eddy in the calm water just below.
  • Mile 36.6 - The river turns left at "Railroad Rapids". The river goes quick for 0.2 of a mile before turning right with rapids.
  • Mile 36.0 - Pass to the left of a low gravel island to enter  "Freight Train Rapids" a Class II rapid continues directly under the railroad bridge near where the Hoosic Tunnel exits. This rapid has standing waves that are fun for kayaks.  This is followed by an immediate turn to the left.
  • Mile 35.2 - Pass under an old bridge called Nowhere with a wooden floor.  Whats left of the road leads to two homes and a hiker can trace where the old road once traveled.
  • Mile 34.4 - After making a left turn, you will need to pick your way through a rock garden called "Pinball 1 Rapids".  There is about a tenth of a mile rest.
  • Mile 34.1 - "Pinball 2 Rapids" is your next challenge followed by quick water as the river turns left.
  • Mile 33.5 - Beaver Island should be passed by going left.  At the lower end of the island is "Krutiak Rapid" another Class II.  At the ned of this rapid is a small pool and may be a good place for a break.  A small sandy area on the left has been named "Miami Beach". 
  • Mile 32.5 - This begins "ZOAR Gap Rapids".  This is the longest and most challenge sequence of rapids on this section.  It continues for over a quarter of a mile before emerging on a left turn calm. 
  • Mile 31.9 - The Zoar Picinic Area will be on your left.  This ends this reach of the river.

 For a professional description try the following webpage:

Skill Level:            Class 2 & 3
Estimated Time:    1.5 to 2 hours
Distance:               5.5 miles
USGS Map: Greenfield, MA (7.5’x15’) 
Fife Brook Release Schedule for 2019

    The Deerfield’s Fife Book section ranges from 700 cfs to 2000 cfs, at which point it becomes class 3 to 4.       
April 6, 10-12, 14, 17-21 & 24-28
May 11-12, 18-19, 22-26, 29-31
June 8-9, 15-16, 19-23, 26-30
       (9 a.m. start on June 29, 4 hour release)
July 4-7, 11-14, 17-21, 24-28, 31
August 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-31
September 1-2, 4-8, 11-15, 25-29
October 2-6, 9-13.
Releases take place from 9:30 a.m.
Fife Brook Dam - Mile 37.8 - Put-In at mile 37.4
Position: 42-41.12 N 72-58.60 W

Boat Launch:
Take the first turn off below Fife Brook Dam.
Follow a short distance to the put-in.  This is the most popular put-in on the upper Deerfield River.  There is a barrier below the dam for safety.  Remember, the river can rise at any time.  Do not leave a boat unattended.
Nearest Launch Address:  
239 River Road, Florida, MA 01247
Put-In Directions (10.1 miles, 18 minutes):
From the Center of Charlemont on Route 2:
  1. Head west on Route 2.
  2. At mile 1.9, turn slight right onto Zoar Road just before Route 2 passes over the Deerfield River.
  3. At mile 4.4, Rowe Road is on your right. Continue on Zoar Road.
  4. At mile 4.6, pass under the railroad tracks.
  5. At mile 5.4, pass over the Deerfield River.  The road becomes River Road.
  6. At mile 9.0, cross over railroad tracks near where the Hoosic Tunnel begins.
  7. At mile 10.1, turn right onto a small road below Fife Brook Dam to the put-in.
ZOAR Outdoor
At-A-Glance description
Hoosac Tunnel
      The Hoosac Tunnel (also called Hoosic or Hoosick Tunnel) is a 4.75-mile active railroad tunnel in western Massachusetts that passes through the Hoosac Range, an extension of Vermont's Green Mountains. Work began in 1851 with an estimated cost of $2 million and ended in 1875 with a total cost of $21 million.  At its completion, the tunnel was the world's second-longest, after the 8.5-mile Mont Cenis Tunnel through the French Alps. It was the longest tunnel in North America until the 1916 completion of the Connaught Tunnel under Rogers Pass in British Columbia, and remains the longest active transportation tunnel east of the Rocky Mountains.
      The tunnel runs in a straight line from its east portal, along the Deerfield River in the town of Florida, to its west portal in the town of North Adams. It remains an active freight rail line, owned by Pan Am Railways and operating without a schedule. "No Trespassing" signs are posted throughout the area and it is illegal to enter the tunnel or walk on the railroad tracks without permission. The tunnel is frequently monitored by Boston & Maine Police. Trespassing in the tunnel or on railroad property may result in arrest, injury, or death.

        If you want the complete story of the tunnel, consider reading the book  "A Pinprick Of Light" by Carl R Byron.

            Click on the website below whick strives to be the most robust source of Hoosac Tunnel information on the Internet. The owner has been collecting data and photographs, as well as going on adventures for more then 5 years. Now the archive is available to all.
Hoosac Tunnel
​​Zoar Picnic Area - Mile 31.9
Position: 42-39.06 N 72-57.12 W
Boat Launch:
There is plenty of parking and picinic tables.  Park near the river for an easy take-out.
Nearest Launch Address:
Zoar Picnic Area, Rowe, MA 01367
Put-In Directions (5.2 miles, 9 minutes):
From the Center of Charlemont on Route 2:
Head west on Route 2.
  1. At mile 1.9, turn slight right onto Zoar Road just before Route 2 passes over the Deerfield River.
  2. At mile 4.4, Rowe Road is on your right. Continue on Zoar Road.
  3. At mile 4.6, pass under the railroad tracks.
  4. At mile 5.2, arrive at teh Zoar Picnic area on your left.