26 Oct Kayaking the Chemung River in New York
Kayaking is always one of our favorite adventures, and we try to get out for a paddle any chance we get. So, when we were road tripping through the Southern Finger Lakes region and had the opportunity to hop in kayaks for an afternoon, we were super excited!
Our adventure started out at the riverbank between the towns of Corning and Elmira. Micah, Evan and I were dropped off at the starting point, Bottchers Landing Boat Launch, and we prepared ourselves for a two hour paddle. We met up with Southern Tier Kayak Tours for their Paddle the Palisades Kayak tour, and after a brief lesson, we set off on a 6 mile paddle down the Chemung River.
The Chemung River starts where the Tioga and Cohocton rivers converge. It runs through a glacial carved valley that is lined with cliffs and trees. The views were fantastic in every direction with rolling green hills, rushing waters and blue skies. Since we were traveling downriver, our paddle was pretty relaxing and an easy ride. There were a few sections of the river that required a bit of maneuvering and single file paddling, but it ended up being a nice balance overall.
As we paddled, we learned a bit about our guide, Aaron, and his wife, Sarah, the pair behind Southern Tier Kayak Tours. They are both experienced guides and paddlers who love teaching and guiding others in the sport of kayaking.
Not only did we have a wonderful afternoon paddling down the river, we also learned so many interesting facts about the ecosystem around us. Midway through the tour, we pulled over and got out of our kayaks to explore an island on the river where we flipped over rocks and observed the tiny critters hanging onto them.
We heard tales about the devastating flood of 1972 that damaged much of the area and towns surrounding us. We learned about the wildlife in and around the river, we spotted bald eagles, and we even learned a nifty little song and dance about habitat and flood control! The entire way down the river, we were learning and laughing.
The river area is home to plenty of birds such as falcons, mallards, hawks, gulls, terns, sandpipers, great egrets, great blue herons, and more. One aspect I loved about the river was the abundance of adventure not only in the water but surrounding it, as well. For more exploring around the river on land, you can hike miles of trails at the Tanglewood Nature Center, and for an airborne adventure and aerial views, hop in a glider at the National Soaring Museum on Harris Hill. Both of these sites were visible while on our kayak tour. We added the nature center to our list for our next visit to the region, but we had the opportunity to check out the National Soaring Museum on two occasions. The first was a visit to the museum the morning prior to our kayak tour, and the second was for a glider rider later in the week!
Our kayak tour ended with Micah busting out the drone for a few shots from above. It was fascinating to see the river from more than one angle and we had a wonderful time exploring the Chemung River on our visit to the Finger Lakes. It was a successful afternoon of kayaking along a beautiful river with a great group of people!
Have you ever been kayaking in New York? Where is your favorite spot to head out for a paddle?
Special thanks to Southern Tier Kayak Tours and the Corning and Southern Finger Lakes tourism board for organizing and hosting us on so many amazing adventures throughout our week in New York. As always, all opinions are our own.