Canoeing, Kayaking & Paddle Boarding

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Kayaker at Allegany State Park-Red House

Canoeing and Kayaking is one of the biggest attractions in our region. There are several bodies of water in which to enjoy a full day of fun and excitement holding a paddle in a canoe or kayak.

Where to Launch your Canoe or Kayak

Lake and River Safety

Please read some general safety guidelines on our local rivers and creeks. We recommend to always wear your lifejacket or other personal floatation device (PFD).

Don't have your own? Canoe, Kayak & Paddle Board Equipment Rentals and Sales

1.  Adventure Bound will have a large fleet of SUP’s and kayaks available to rent all summer long and guided trips to take you down the river with an expert. They are able to accommodate large groups and offer a discount on group reservations.  Check out Adventure Bound for equipment.

2.  Allegany State Park has rentals of kayaks, canoes, and rowboats for use. These rentals can be found at the Red House Lake Boat House, by the large parking lot. 

3.  Allegheny Adventures will have you floating down the Allegheny in no time!  They rent canoe and kayaks from their newly opened location on Greene St., right next to Four Mile Brewing!  They will haul the kayak or canoe you rent up to Portville, where you can float downstream for approximately 2 hour back to Olean.  Life jackets are provided. 

Kayaking the Allegheny River

Allegheny River

The 54-mile trip on the Allegheny River, devoid of dams, can be made without interruption at sufficient water heights. At Olean, two large pipes crossing the River's bed may cause a problem during low water. Near the Junction of the Tunungwant Creek, vertical log piles are concealed below the water surface. Log piles are also present in other locations, especially above Portville.

At Salamanca, a shallow rift occurs above and below the bridge. There are also some rifts between Salamanca and Red House.

From Vandalia to the Allegheny Reservoir, most of the trip is through the Seneca Nation of Indians' Reservation. The trip through the Allegheny Reservoir can be rated smooth to rough depending on the wind.

Paddling the Allegheny River in New York State.

View water information for the Allegheny River at Olean, NY on the USGS website.

View water information for the Allegheny River at Salamanca, NY on the USGS website.

Cattaraugus Creek

Cattaraugus Creek offers the most interesting canoeing stream in Western New York. It must be approached with CAUTION. It is challenging, secluded in sections, and very beautiful.

For detailed information on Cattaraugus Creek water levels and safety information view USGS WaterData for USGS 04213500 Cattaraugus Creek at Gowanda, NY.

The entire length of Cattaraugus Creek, can be run season long (Spring through Fall). Some sections of the Cattaraugus Creek, especially the stretch through Zoar, should NOT be run at any time except by experienced canoeists accompanied by someone who knows the Creek. Meetup with the Zoar Valley Paddling Club.

The white water enthusiast may wish to take a wet and wild river trip by rafting through Zoar Valley. These white-water rafting trips are by reservation only. Make your reservations early in the Spring to assure high water for rafting.

Cattaraugus Creek, South Branch

 When running the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek, one should proceed with caution especially in the area between Skinner Hollow Road and Forty Road. It is noted that you will find a 6-foot river-wide waterfall, (height varies 15 to 20 feet) on a blind corner. Here the water flows into a horseshoe shaped drop with recirculating currents. Following is another 6foot drop with a potential pinning situation. Run this creek only if you are with someone who has run it before. Not recommended in high water.

Conewango Creek

 This creek is a slow meandering stream with many overhanging trees. Portage is required around occasional fallen trees. A beaver dam one-mile north of the mouth of Little Conewango may necessitate portage. The first 5 miles below Conewango Valley flow sluggishly through a straight State drainage ditch. The stream's redeeming feature is a delightful series of easy rifts, 3 miles long, from the Route 17 bridge at Waterboro to Kennedy.

Great Valley Creek

The water level of the Great Valley Creek, which meanders through the valley, is for the most part seasonal. At high water, this Creek can be run from Ellicottville to the point where it joins the Allegheny River at Killbuck.

Ischua Creek

This is an unusually fine run among hills. During the Spring, it offers intermediate challenge to the canoe enthusiast. There are occasional tricky spots under the bridges and along railroad grades. Dead falls are the biggest problem. This creek can only be run in high water.

Oil Creek

Oil Creek is an excellent spring and fall waterway. It meanders through farmland and wooded areas. One may encounter a few log jams. In the area of Wagner Hill Road, one will encounter rock and rubble. Oil Creek is an area with an abundance of wildlife.

Olean Creek

This is a continuation of the Ischua and Oil Creeks. Moderately high water would make your trip from Hinsdale to the Allegheny River a relaxing one. However, the Olean Creek is shallow and cannot be run most of the year. Some snags as well as some fast, sharp turns may be encountered.

Oswayo Creek

 An abundance of wildlife and waterfowl can be seen on the Oswayo Creek. This creek is canoeable from Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania to a point where it meets the Allegheny River near Portville, New York.

Quaker Lake

As of Summer of 2016, Quaker Lake has a new bath house and as of 2017 you can now rent Kayaks, SUPs, paddle boats and row boats at the new Quaker Boathouse. You still have the option to bring your own non-motorized boats as well!

The view while kayaking on Quaker Lake at Allegany State Park in the summer of 2015 by Greg Spako.

Red House Lake

Kayaking and "SUP"ing on Red House Lake

Zoar Valley Whitewater Rafting

 Zoar Valley is located only an hour drive south of Buffalo, New York. Transversing some of the most spectacular scenery in Western New York, it remains virtually hidden due to its difficult access. Certain sections of the gorge can be seen from several remote vantage points, but by far, the best view can be had from the river far below.

Want to try something other than canoeing, kayaking or paddle board?  Check out whitewater river rafting options on the Cattaraugus Creek too!

River Regattas!

For more fun - there is an annual Regatta held in Cattaraugus County!

Tame The Tuna Regatta is 5.5 miles down the Tunungwant Creek and hosted by the Limestone Volunteer Fire Department.

Photos tagged as #EnchantedMountains or #EMFun. @emountains