Paddling in the Hudson Valley

I recently posted this on NPMB, but I’m not sure how npmb and play out in the northeast. Apologies to those of you who frequent both.


Greeting paddlers,

I’ve been itching to get into a canoe, and I’m looking for some advice and perhaps the occasional paddling partner/group to show me around the white-waterways of the Hudson Valley and Catskills.

Ok, that’s remarkably vague. Here’s a bit more: I did a lot of paddling growing up (up to class 3 whitewater, though I think classifications have changed from what they were 20 years ago), but since my wife and I moved to New York City 13 years ago, our outdoor pursuits have focused on hiking rather than paddling. Our local canoeing experience has been limited to a single trip down the Mongaup several years ago, when she was still pretty new to it, and as a pair, we were in a bit over our heads. But we get out on the river regularly when we’re visiting my parents in WV (that eddy turn we were lacking on the Mongaup is looking pretty good); we just bought a piece of property in stone ridge (near new paltz & kingston) where we spend a fair number of weekends; and are the proud owners of a used bluehole starburst (OC2) now that we have someplace to put it.

So, with transport (both car and canoe), we’re eager to explore the rivers & streams of the area. I know there’s water there, though I don’t really know what or where. And I don’t really know who to talk to. Any recommendations? We’ll want to stick with class 1&2 until we’re confident with our skills and our understanding of the local water. And watch out for those small streams - a tandem boat won’t fit everwhere that an OC1 (or kayak) will.

I’m also on the lookout for someplace to shop canoe gear, but that’s another posting.

Any advice is much appreciated.

See you on the river!

d rat-

The AMC NY/NJ chapter runs a lot of paddling trips in the area (and farther afield):

You might also check out some other local paddling clubs:

Yes, my one local canoeing experience was with the AMC on the Mongaup - nice folks - and I occasionally check in on their planned trips. But I’d like to start with the water in my back yard, and I don’t see much in my area on the AMC schedule.

Many, mainly the Esopus

– Last Updated: Jun-17-09 10:03 PM EST –

The Esopus is the most popular WW in the area. There are 16 miles of 2-3 from the portal in Allaben to Boiceville. There are releases through the portal throughout the year to keep the fly fisherman happy and the Ashokan Reservoir up. So there is water in the Esopus when there is none elsewhere, though it may be boney.

Your local river, the Rondout, has a class 2-4 section below High Falls. Very ledgy. Be careful.

Also many flatwater sections on the Rondout, Esopus and the Wallkill.

Further north, there are 2-3 and 4-5 sections on the Schoharie and Catskill Creek. You have to know where to go, and it's best to try to hook up with a group such as the Northern NY Paddlers.

The Neversink to the south has WW. The Neversink Gorge is class 4 between the two runnable waterfalls. The level of water in the Neversink Gorge can be judged by the level of the Vernooy Kill in Wawarsing. I am the only person in the world who knows this, but I am now sharing it with the whole planet.

There are many other small streams that come up in the spring and with rain. Some are very steep with strainer dangers.

Here is a list of Catskill WW:

great info!
Thanks for the great local beta, Glenn. I’ve seen folks posting for the esopus, so I now know what they’re referring to.

I note that the Northern NY Paddlers don’t seem to have very many trips (at least compared with AMC) - are they a ‘post as you go’ type of outfit?

When looking for partners, are the and NPMB message boards the places to look? One better than another for canoes? (I know, I’m asking this on, but nobody’s too territorial about their online space, are they?).

Thanks again.

primarily ww yakkers
on npmb, and lots of slow or no flow paddlers here. You’re kind of in the middle, but I get way better response (Ct. area) on npmb. Primarily a 2-3 solo open boater/poler with lots of ww yak friends. mattm over there.

your local favorites?
I wouldn’t call us close (probably a 2 hour drive), but what are your preferred local spots, daggermat?

I won’t take my wife on anything above a III, and I’ d really prefer to stick to II until she gets more comfortable (and i get a better sense of the local water).

western Ct for you

– Last Updated: Jun-19-09 1:12 PM EST –

bantam/Shepaug watershed in the Washington depot area.Cl1-2 on the bantam/Shep run, easy (but too tight for a tandem) 3 upper shep. Also sections of the housatonic, flat to cl.4+, but several sections of 1-2 each around 10 miles long. Was just at the Esopus release a couple weekends back (or last weekend?). section we ran had some good gnarl (railroad, racetrack, elmers) but lower section was mellower from what I saw. We ran it at 1050 cfs/900 cfs.sat/sun..

My local river is the farmington, which makes me very lucky. Cl.2-3+ just over the mass. line, cl.1-2 for 15 miles from Riverton to New hartford, 2-3 thru Satans Kingdom area, 1-2+ below that (crystal rapids, my twice a week run), then the world famous Tarriffville gorge, former olympic training site. Lots of albums of the area if you check my bio. for link.

You’re very welcome
I lived in Woodstock during the 80’s, which was the height of my WW career, so the Catskills were my local playground.

I would also encourage you to try to get on trips and take any available instruction and safety classes with the AMC, KCCNY, MCKC or whomever. The NNYP were not too organized in the 80’s but they did have a trip schedule. Everything is now on computers and has hard chines, so I’m kind of lost. And I’m not that familiar with these paddling forums, which I have only recently joined.

Paddling with groups is strongly recommended for safety reasons. Once you get to know people in the groups, you can break away with other paddlers from the organized trips and do your own bootlegs.

I’m in Connecticut now, so I don’t know anyone in NY anymore. Was just at the Shepaug a few hours ago, which was very high.