Long Rivers of the Finger Lakes Region


Are you aching to dip that paddle in a stream and cover some ground? You’re in luck in the Finger Lakes region. The rivers here aren’t wide, deep, fast moving behemoths that the term “river” may conger in your mind.  They are significant waterways but the shores are close by and the currents are generally helpful, not menacing (except during spring melt of course). I loved paddling the rivers here. You can get a cadence going and meld into a trance as the countryside drifts by.

In the upper reaches of these rivers they can be creek-like with twists and turns and obstacles such as downed trees or submerged dams. It's just enough excitement to keep you alert and on guard.

  1. One of the more creek-like rivers is the East Branch Tioughnioga River between Cuyler and Cortland. No day dreaming allowed here. Expect 20 miles of good paddling.
  2. The Otselic River begins creek-like in Cincinnatus and is more river-like 14 miles later when it meets the north end of Whitney Point Reservoir. Birds will serenade you on this remote wilderness stream.
  3. The Tioughnioga River flows in a wide valley with low banks, providing a panoramic view rimmed with farm-dotted hills. It runs 21 miles from Marathon to Chenango Forks.
  4. Running 15 miles from Wallace to Bath, the Cohocton River is an especially beautiful river. This clear water stream flows over a rocky bottom, and allows you to watch fish as you float or paddle downstream. On route, you pass beautiful, lush scenery and have ample opportunity to take breaks along shore.

Maps and details for each of these long paddling rivers and others can be found in the guidebook “Take A Paddle – Finger Lakes New York Quiet Water for Canoes & Kayaks.”