Quiet Water New York  by John Hayes & Alex Wilson

Quiet Water New York Guide Book

by John Hayes & Alex Wilson (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Quiet Water New York  by John Hayes & Alex Wilson
This completely revised edition of AMC's popular Quiet Water New York features 90 spectacular quiet-water destinations in New York specifically selected for canoeists and kayakers. From shallow and marshy bays to winding channels, clear and quick-flowing waterways to picturesque ponds surrounded by mountain peaks, this updated guide allows paddlers to explore the great variety of water adventures New York has to offer. Each trip includes expanded at-a-glance summaries listing the maps you'll need for navigation, the distances covered, as well as the types of fish and wildlife that inhabit the area. In-depth descriptions will help you get to locations and detail what to expect along the way, making it easy to find the right destination for you. Experienced paddlers and beginners will find this comprehensive guide to New York's quiet water a must-have companion.

© 2007 John Hayes and Alex Wilson/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Quiet Water New York" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 90.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 90.

Acabonack Harbor and East Harbor extend roughly 2 miles north-south but offer 8 miles of shoreline to explore, including two principal islands. With limited development, the whole area—rich with fauna and flora and protected by The Nature Conservancy, town and state— exudes wildness. Habitat type: short-grass salt marsh estuary
East Hampton, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing,Hiking
Located almost entirely within the Allegany Indian Reservation, Allegheny Reservoir represents one of the few quietwater paddling resources in southwestern New York. A dam just over the border in Pennsylvania caused inundation of a many-mile stretch of the scenic Allegheny River. The river begins in Pennsylvania, swings northward and flows west through New York for about 50 miles, exits into Pennsylvania through the reservoir, and eventually joins the Monongahela to form the Ohio River at Pittsburgh. Portions of the reservoir’s eastern shore belong to Allegany State Park, a huge state park that includes a nice camping area, which fills up nearly every day of the summer, and two popular swimming areas: Quaker Beach on Quaker Lake, just a mile from the access, and Red House Beach on Red House Lake. Leaving behind the Norway spruce, with its drooping branches, and large white pine at the access, paddle to the left over to the Quaker Lake outfall to look at the water cascading over the dam. Along the way, note the pine groves on the hillsides. Scrub vegetation, including lots of willow, grows down to the waterline along the left shoreline, and tall silver maple, white pine, hickory, oak, and hemlock climb the hillsides along the right. Habitat type: large reservoir
South Valley, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Three separate paddling areas await you at Ausable Marsh: Dead Creek, Ausable River, and the marsh between the river’s mouths, all part of a broad delta formed from silt carried by the Ausable as it tumbles down out of the Adirondack High Peaks—including the state’s tallest, Mt. Marcy—to the Champlain Valley. Habitat type: marshes and slow-flowing river
Peru, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
For observing wildlife near New York City, nothing beats Sullivan County’s Bashakill Wildlife Management Area. The largest freshwater wetland in southeastern New York, the Bashakill’s 2,213 acres protect the habitat of deer, grouse, wild turkey, fox, beaver, muskrat, raccoon, rabbit, skunk, mink, opossum, and waterfowl, particularly wood duck. The middle section of the Shawangunk Mountains—the northern “Gunks” are famous with rock climbers and hikers—parallels Basher Kill’s eastern shore, providing a scenic backdrop for paddlers and hikers alike. The western shore’s beautiful hillsides dripped with fall colors in late October, the first time we paddled here. We have since returned in spring with dogwood in bloom and in summer to watch osprey dive for fish. We have seen many deer, muskrat, and wild turkey, along with a few beaver. We recommend the perimeter trails hikes: one follows the historic Delaware and Hudson (D & H) Canal along the west shore, and the other proceeds over a long-abandoned railroad grade along the east shore. Habitat type: large, shallow marsh; meandering open channel; no development
Haven, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing,Hiking
A series of connected reservoirs form the popular Beaver River Canoe Route. You can travel this route, starting at Moshier Falls, paddling east to west downstream through Beaver Lake, Soft Maple Reservoir, an unnamed reservoir, Effley Falls Pond, Elmer Falls Pond, and Taylorville Pond. Because of dams, only in a few spots does current impede upstream progress, should you decide to paddle the route both ways. During high-water conditions, fighting the current between Beaver Lake and Soft Maple Reservoir may prove difficult. Near the access at the beginning of every reservoir, water rushes out of turbines in proportion to power generated. At peak generation times, paddling against the current back to the put-in spot may be dangerous. Another consideration: on your return, all of the carries go straight uphill. We paddled this route in both directions and heartily recommend it as a one-way trip . . . downstream. Habitat type: interconnected small lakes with portages
Croghan, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
A shallow, marshy wildlife paradise, Dexter Wildlife Management Area protects Black River Bay from development. The northernmost wildlife management area on Lake Ontario’s eastern shore, Dexter harbors many plants and animals and few paddlers. We launched at sunup from the private campground on Black River, paddling southwest down to the bay. After clearing the campground, we paddled by a few small islands with beautiful fractured rock formations, eventually leading out onto a huge bay with Lake Ontario in the background. We were totally unprepared for the unfolding sight. Water shimmering on the horizon made it impossible to judge distance over the glasslike surface that lay before us. Ripples created by Caspian terns diving on fish barely stirred the surface waters. Rarely do we confront a body of water this large under such calm conditions. Habitat type: shallow, marshy bay
Brownsville, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Blue Mountain Lake, at an elevation of 1,790 feet, nestles among the High Peaks of the central Adirondacks, with Blue Mountain on the east stretching to more than 3,600 feet. Looking back from the lake’s west end, we see how the mountain got its name: ringed with high-altitude conifers, the peak’s upper reaches look dark, even blue. Scenic granite boulders and islands dot the lake. One cannot help but notice, especially on the lake’s western end, a conspicuous browse line on the northern white cedars that hang out over the water. Deer often yard up in cedar stands; here, they browse the shoreline cedars up to head height as they walk along the ice. Habitat type: large, deep lake connected to smaller lakes and a river
Indian Lake, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Backed up against Lake Ontario and only a few miles from Rochester, Buck Pond offers a pleasant escape from civilization. Though most of the marsh lies within earshot of automobiles and motorboats, you will feel alone here exploring the rich, bird-filled marsh. The few buildings on the northeastern shore and vacation traffic along Edgemere Drive do not seem to spoil its wild character. Though less than a mile across, Buck Pond offers long, winding, inlet channels and hidden coves to explore that could occupy you for several hours. By early summer, marsh vegetation—cattail, bulrush, bur-reed, swamp loosestrife, arrowhead, pickerelweed, fanwort, duckweed, tuberous waterlily—chokes the shallower channels. Although cattail dominates the shoreline, a rich diversity provides for the needs of the marsh ecosystem’s many animals. At the end of June, we could still paddle up the western inlet—where the current seemed nonexistent—and under the Lake Ontario State Parkway, though thick vegetation impeded our progress in a few places. Habitat type: cattail swamp
Greece, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Canada and West lakes mark Adirondack Park’s southern end, and although the state owns huge tracts of forest all around these connected waterways, it does not own any significant amount of shoreline. Private inholdings abound, and with them wall-to-wall shoreline camps, bringing substantial motorboat and personal watercraft traffic. Consequently, we would avoid Canada Lake’s heavily developed eastern arm and concentrate on its southern shore and West and Lily lakes. If you do not mind paddling by an occasional summer home—particularly when you near Stewart Landing—you can still have a wonderful paddling experience through scenic waterways chock-full of interesting plants and wildlife. Habitat type: deep lakes
Caroga Lake, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length:
Canopus Lake, within Clarence Fahnestock State Park, offers a wonderful paddling opportunity, especially in the off-season. Although the park prohibits gasoline motors, believe it or not, it can get overrun with rowboats, canoes, and kayaks, especially on sunny summer weekends. Three reasons account for this: the Appalachian Trail, which skirts the lake’s western edge, draws hikers; a popular campground lies within the park; and the Taconic Parkway runs through the park, providing easy accessibility to literally millions of recreation-starved, downstate city dwellers. Habitat type: small recreational lake
Kent, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Carmans River and its surrounding marsh represent one of the last undeveloped estuaries on Long Island. The wildest and most pristine of the island’s four major rivers—the others are Nissequogue, Connetquot, and Peconic—it offers fantastic paddling and wildlife observing. We include here the lower section, a meandering 4.5-mile tidal flow from Route 27 to Bellport Bay through 2,550-acre Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge. Habitat type: tidal estuary below Route 27, impounded river above; no development
Brookhaven, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing,Hiking - Trail Length: 4.5
We found three wonderful places to paddle. Paddling left up Catskill Creek, after 1.5 miles you come to a beautiful falls, with water cascading down over a series of broken ledges. We saw flocks of Canada geese here during migration in this broad waterway with tree-lined shores. By carrying up through the middle, you can paddle beyond, up Catskill Creek or up Kaaterskill Creek. At the start, we noticed many Norway maples along the banks. Habitat type: tidal freshwater rivers, marshlands with trees; little development
Catskill, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Cedar River Flow remains one of south-central Adirondacks’ little-known treasures. Fed by cool, clear, mountain water flowing out of Cedar Lakes in the West Canada Lake Wilderness Area, the flow provides wilderness camping, paddling, and hiking opportunities, all of it above 2,100 feet elevation. The flow will impress you with its wild, spectacular character. Although it extends only 3 miles south-southwest from Wakely Dam, many more miles of meandering streams and beaver meadows offer hours, or even days, of paddling pleasure. Habitat type: shallow, weed-filled lake and slow-flowing river
Lake Pleasant, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
We first paddled Chodikee Lake in spring before the mosquitoes hatched out of the extensive marshes surrounding the lake and before more than an occasional angler plied the waters. We found an idyllic site, an extraordinary wildlife paradise free from insects and people that would later appear in large numbers. We have returned to paddle this lake many times. Habitat type: small lake with swampy inlet and outlet streams
Plutarch, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Cliff Lake and the surrounding upland belong to Mirant, but the company allows public access from May 1 though the end of November. We love paddling on this out-of-the-way lake, as it receives little recreational pressure. The lake extends roughly 2 miles in a north-south orientation, with a maximum width of about a quarter mile. When we visited in early September, the markedly low water level detracted significantly from the feel of the place. The level can be down several feet in very dry years, exposing quite a bit of shoreline. The utility company usually keeps the water level higher—within 5 feet of 1,070 feet in elevation. Interestingly, Cliff Lake connects hydraulically with Swinging Bridge Reservoir through an underground aqueduct, so the two water levels remain the same. We recommend visiting before fall to improve chances of finding the reservoir full. The sandy or pebbly shore suffers from erosion in some places. Habitat type: small reservoir
Bethel, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Forgotten by time, the Clyde River gave up much of its water and its character to the Erie Canal. Portions of it still run along with the canal. We do not cover those sections here because they include channelized water and too much boat traffic. Instead, we include the headwaters of the Clyde, if they can be called such. With almost no flow, the river collects snags and mountains of aquatic vegetation as summer wears on. Still, something primeval beckons one to paddle the Clyde. Habitat type: small, shallow stream
Lock Berlin, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 10.5
Coles Creek, flowing into the mighty St. Lawrence, has the distinction of being the northernmost body of water in this guidebook. A large earthen dam at its outlet backs up Coles Creek for several miles. Only truly tiny creeks feed the impoundment’s southern end, which should make this body of water more a swamp than a flowage. Only about a mile away, Grass River drains a major portion of the northwest Adirondacks, taking away much of the water in Coles Creek’s environs. However, the magnitude of the northward-flowing water under the bridges and culverts surprised us, especially during low-water years. Habitat type: shallow, marshy dammed-up creek
Waddington, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Constitution Marsh, owned by the National Audubon Society, provides a wonderful location to take children to learn about nature, including forests, streams, and tidal marshes. Three nature trails weave through the 270-acre sanctuary: one teaches tree identification, one leads to an ancient Native American rock shelter, and the third allows close inspection of the marsh by a 700-foot boardwalk. An archaeological dig has dated Native American occupation back at least 5,000 years. Audubon naturalists also run guided canoe trips into the marsh for groups of up to 15 adults; programs for schoolchildren accommodate as many as 25 students, along with adult assistants. Habitat type: tidal marsh
Cold Spring, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing,Hiking - Trail Length: 13
The third largest lake in the Adirondacks, Cranberry Lake might intimidate those familiar with Lake George and Great Sacandaga, with their well-defined north-south channels that funnel even modest breezes into threatening swells. Though wind-driven swells on Cranberry’s main body might swamp an open boat, it harbors many quiet coves that resemble a Rorschach ink blot, with jagged fingers containing 55 miles of shoreline running to the edges of the map in all directions. The two larger lakes attract hordes of large boats and personal watercraft, but Cranberry attracts far fewer boaters and about equal numbers of paddlers and motorboaters. Habitat type: large, shallow lake
Fine, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing
Kring Point State Park, one of the first parks on the St. Lawrence River, dating to 1898, offers one of the most scenic campgrounds in the Thousand Islands Region and a wonderful base for exploring its streams and lakes. Half of the 108 camping sites front the water, and every site has a view of Goose Bay or the St. Lawrence. Because of its popularity, we strongly recommend reservations. More than 1,700 islands dot the St. Lawrence, luring anglers from all over the East. Ironside Island—owned by The Nature Conservancy—just north of the park provides a home for the largest great blue heron rookery on the river. Dozens of treetop nests—some measuring six feet wide and four feet deep—dot the island. Only seasoned paddlers should venture out on the river, because of truly huge wakes churned up by commercial vessels traveling the Great Lakes and by large pleasure craft. Habitat type: shallow, marshy, meandering creek
Hammond, NY - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing