Visit Oswego County

Canoeing & Kayaking

Oswego County is crisscrossed with scenic navigable waterways and borders Great Lake Ontario and beautiful Oneida Lake. A variety of ponds, reservoirs, small lakes, streams, and rivers provide memorable experiences for canoers, kayakers, and rafters of all skill levels.


fall paddle

Paddling on the Oswego River. Photo by Richard Drosse.


Guided Kayak Tours


Tug Hill Outfitters

Guided kayak and canoe trips, introductory kayak, surf ski, and fitness paddling lessons. 315-345-0098



Oswego Paddlefest, Lock 8, Oswego River NY

Where Can I Canoe & Kayak in Oswego County?


Happy Valley Wildlife Management Area/Camp Zerbe

Location: Towns of Williamstown, Albion, Parish, Amboy.
St. Mary’s Pond: Access from St. Mary’s Road.
Whitney Pond: Access from Happy Valley Road.
Lake Lorraine: Access at Camp Zerbe NYS-104.
Notes: Novice. Scenic, secluded ponds in Wildlife Management Area maintained by the State Department of Environmental Conservation.


Lake Neatahwanta

Location: City of Fulton and Town of Granby. Access from Bullhead Point, North Bay Recreation Area, and Lake Road.
Notes: Novice.


Lake Ontario

Location: Coastal areas of the towns of Oswego, Scriba, New Haven, Mexico, Richland and Sandy Creek, and the City of Oswego harbor area. Public access at Wright’s Landing Marina, Selkirk Shores State Park (Pine Grove State Boat Launch) and Mexico Point State Boat Launch.
Notes: Novice – Expert. Several marshes along the lake are navigable, such as Butterfly Swamp in the Town of New Haven and Deer Creek Marsh in the Town of Richland. North & South Ponds in the Town of Sandy Creek provide protection from rougher water. Use caution and stay comfortably close to shore. Lake Ontario is an inland sea which can present overwhelming dangers during adverse weather conditions.


Little Salmon River

Location: Towns of Parish and Mexico. Access from Rte. 69, west of the Village of Parish and continue to the Village of Mexico, or access at Mexico Point.
Notes: Novice – Intermediate from Parish to Mexico. Take-out point on the right-hand bank before the dam in Mexico. Permission must be obtained from owner to take out canoes and park vehicles.
Expert from the Village of Mexico to Lake Ontario. If the water level is high enough, trip may continue to Mexico Point with portage (this section is recommended for experienced canoeists only).


Lower Salmon River Reservoir

Location: Town of Orwell. Access at the day use picnic area across from Bennetts Bridge Hydropower Facility on Co. Rte. 22.
Notes: Novice. Great for beginner canoeists, kayakers and those who want to take it slow.


North Sandy Pond

Location: Northwest corner of Oswego County in the town of Sandy Creek, west of St. Rte. 3. Access by public boat launches at Bayview Marina, Hidden Harbor and Jones Marina; and private boat launches at AAA North Country Mercantile & Lodging, D. Senior Marina, Greene Point Marina Inc., North Sandy Pond Marina, Reiter’s Marina and Seber Shores Marina.
Notes: Novice. 4.5 sq. mile pond with a 15 foot maximum depth, separated from Lake Ontario by a strip of sand dunes. Marshy areas with a variety of wildlife, as well as summer cottages along the shoreline. Excellent beginner area, but use caution as storms come off Lake Ontario and create a strong chop.


Oneida Lake

Location: Towns of West Monroe and Constantia. Access at Phillips Point – off Toad Harbor Road in West Monroe, Constantia Town Park, Brewerton State Pier and Godfrey Point, one mile east of Cleveland on Rte. 49.
Notes: Novice. Use caution. This is a large lake subject to storms and winds that produce high waves, also boat wakes. The Erie Canal runs through the center of the lake, east to west and is marked by navigational buoys.


Oneida River and NYS Barge Canal

Location: Towns of Hastings and Schroeppel. Access at Brewerton State Pier, or just below the dam in Caughdenoy.
Notes: Intermediate. Use caution near Caughdenoy Dam. Navigable from Brewerton to Three Rivers through Lock 23.


Oswego River

Location: Towns of Schroeppel, Granby, Volney, Scriba and Minetto; Cities of Fulton and Oswego. Access points at Three Rivers; Lock Street, Phoenix; Ox Creek, Granby; Apple Landing (Stop 28) & Great Bear Farm, Volney; Canal Park Marina, City of Fulton; and other areas.
Notes: Intermediate – Expert. Use caution near dams, after heavy rains and in early spring. High water level produces swift current and high winds may produce white caps. Travel through locks is subject to the discretion of the lock-tender and recommended for experts only.


Salmon River Reservoir

Location: Towns of Redfield and Orwell. Access points at Jackson Road, C.C.C. Drive – off Co. Rte. 2 in Orwell, Co. Rte. 17 and Little America Fishing & Boat Access.
Notes: Novice. Use extreme caution near the dam. Parking available. Picnic tables available at C.C.C. Drive.


Salmon River

Location: Towns of Albion and Richland, Village of Pulaski. Access points at South Albion Road, Pineville Bridge, Pineville Fishing & Boat Access, Pine Grove at Port Ontario, and Salmon River Lighthouse and Marina in Pulaski. Kayak Access from the Bridge Street launch in Altmar and the Co. Rte. 48 launch in Pineville.
Notes: Expert. Use caution. Many sections are not navigable due to white water and should be portaged. The area below the Reliant Energy hydroelectric plants and dam is subject to sudden and dangerous fluctuations due to releases necessary for power generation. Kayaking: One of the best white water kayaking rivers in Upstate New York. Conditions are dependent upon water releases from the Lighthouse Hill Hydropower Facility. Changing water levels can create rapids of varying classes. Information concerning water releases can be obtained by calling 1-900-726-4243 ext. 365123 (This is a toll call).


Where to RENT Watercraft:

Photo of Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.
Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.
Work Phone: 888-270-2410 Website:
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Photo of Bayview Marina/Sandy Pond Resorts
Bayview Marina/Sandy Pond Resorts
Work PO Box 57 Sandy Creek NY 13145 Work Phone: 315-387-5318 Website:
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Photo of Salmon River Lighthouse & Marina
Salmon River Lighthouse & Marina
Contact: Abe Ellis
Work 5 Lake Rd Extension Pulaski NY 13142 United States Work Phone: 315-509-4208 Work Phone: 757-287-0426 Website:
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Photo of South Bay Sail and Kayak
South Bay Sail and Kayak
Work 32 Weber Rd Central Square NY 13036 Work Phone: 315-438-8915 Website:
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Photo of Tug Hill Outfitters
Tug Hill Outfitters
Work 72 Finnerty Rd. Williamstown NY 13493 Work Phone: 315-807-3696 Website:
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Photo of Wright’s Landing Marina
Wright’s Landing Marina
Contact: Tim Rice
Work 41 Lake St Oswego NY 13126 Work Phone: 315-343-8430 Website:
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Tips for a safe trip…

  • New York State law requires that all boaters have access to a personal flotation device which should be worn at all times.
  • Remember that all water is dangerous. Exposure to cold water may be life-threatening. Standing up in a canoe is not advisable.
  • Do not approach dam areas too closely on either the upstream or downstream sides. You could be pulled into the sluice-way or otherwise lose control of your canoe if the gates were opened unexpectedly.
  • Do not use intoxicants while boating.
  • Respect the rights of property owners and obtain permission before crossing private lands.
  • Remember that once you reach your destination, you may have to paddle your canoe just as far in the opposite direction, perhaps against the wind or heavy current.
  • Plan ahead! Hungry, thirsty, cold, tired, and after dark canoeing may be more of an adventure than you had anticipated.
  • Know your limits and your ability.
  • Use good judgment at all times.
  • Please follow the most current COVID-19 protocol.