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.

 

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).

 

Sunset Oswego Harbor Kayak Tours

Location: Leaving from Oswego Yacht Club pier, 21 Lake St., Oswego.

Oswego Expeditions, info@oswegoexpeditions.com

 

paddlefest_lock8

Oswego Paddlefest, Lock 8, Oswego River NY

 

Where to RENT Watercraft:

 

Photo of Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.
Adventure Calls Outfitters, Inc.
Work Phone: 888-270-2410 Website: www.adventure-calls.com

Biographical Info

Our Site Office is located at Brown’s Family Campground in Altmar, N.Y. There is ample parking, well-lit changing areas, and clean restrooms. Best of all, we have the whole place to ourselves. Another advantage of rafting with us is, you’ll spend more time on the river than you did driving to and from Pulaski.

After launching at the Route 2A Bridge, you’ll have a little time to get accustomed to using the paddle skills you just learned in the fast current before our first play stop at “Sylvia’s Hole” rapids. Any paddle crew that wishes to will have the opportunity to maneuver their raft upstream back into the rapids and “surf” them.

As the river flows through the village of Pulaski, rapids like; “Firemen’s Field,” “Washing Machine,” “Lusitania”, “Titanic” and “The Black Hole” follow almost one after the other to really get your adrenaline flowing! Along the way we’ll stop and anyone wishing to test his / her mettle will be led a short distance upstream along the river’s edge and then allowed to body-surf a set of rapids back to the rafts.

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Photo of Oswego Expeditions
Oswego Expeditions
Contact: Jennifer Mays
Work PO Box 3011 Oswego NY 13126 Work Phone: 315-561-0223

Biographical Info

Oswego Expeditions merges health, history and nature thru outdoor recreation. We provide safe, fun year-round recreational and educational opportunities.

  • Customized guided kayak tours and rentals
  • Customized guided hiking tours throughout Oswego County and Adirondacks
  • Customized Passport to History Expeditions. Guided museum and walking tours in Oswego County’s historic communities
  • Bike rentals and snowshoe rentals – $8/hour or $25/day (6 hours)
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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: www.salmonriverlighthousemarina.com

Biographical Info

Families, fishermen and lighthouse lovers from around the world enjoy spending time in our three-bedroom lighthouse or one of our three rental cottages, all located right in the midst of one of New York State’s premier fisheries. Located at the mouth of the Salmon River at Lake Ontario, our marina, lighthouse and cottages offer something for everyone, young and old alike.

Unlike a major portion of Lake Ontario with its rocky coastline, our guests are afforded the unique and quiet enjoyment of a massive span of private, soft, sandy beach on the shore of the lake, with a very gently sloping and soft, sandy lake bottom, located directly across the river from the marina.

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Photo of Steelhead Lodge
Steelhead Lodge
Work 3178 NYS-13 Pulaski NY 13142 Work Phone: 315-298-4371 Website: steelheadlodge.com

Biographical Info

Steelhead Lodge is a property that offers the best of all types of outdoor adventures. Fishing and hunting, paddle sports, hiking, golf, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, four wheeling and so much more, all begin right out the front door of the Steelhead Lodge.

Start your day with a hot  breakfast. Take a midday break at  Joe’s Smokehouse  overlooking the Salmon River then join us in the dining room for a four course home cooked meal at day’s end.

Float trips on the Salmon River and Lake Charters are our specialty!

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Photo of Wright’s Landing Marina
Wright’s Landing Marina
Home Oswego NY 13126-1021 Work Phone: 315-342-8186 Work Fax: 315-342-8236
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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.