Canoeing, Kayaking & Paddling St. Lawrence County
There are more than 200 rivers, ponds, and lakes in St. Lawrence County and also part of the Adirondack Park, which boasts more than 3,000. Paddle til your heart's content!
Explore Our Beautiful Waterways
At one time the small rivers of the North Country were the focus of commerce. Today, the rivers are quiet; the surviving mills are no longer the center of activity. Few if any other areas can offer so many rivers with such easy and numerous access points. There are more than 200 rivers, ponds, and lakes in St. Lawrence County and also part of the Adirondack Park, which boasts more than 3,000. As the rivers finish their rush out of the mountains they begin but never fully settle down. Waterfalls and low water rapids are numerous along all the rivers and dams often block the way.
Ready to plan your weekend or day trip?
STLCtrails.com provides an interactive list of recommended kayak/canoe paddles throughout St. Lawrence County for all experience levels, from beginner to pro.
Need Rental Equipment?
Contact a local rental business to find canoes, kayaks, SUPs & more!
Here are a few 'local favorite' rivers and lakes to get you started:
St. Lawrence River
The St. Lawrence River is one of the longest rivers in North America and is the outflow for the entire Great Lakes system. The Great Lakes hold nearly 20% of the world's freshwater. In St. Lawrence County, the river stretches from the 1,000 Islands and passes Morristown, Ogdensburg, Waddington, Lousiville, and Massena. There are numerous opportunities for paddling and camping along the river. For a day trip paddle, head to Barnhart Island in Robert Moses State Park. After the paddle, dry off at the Nicandri Nature Center. While you're there, check out the engineering masterpiece U.S. Eisenhower lock and the Dwight D. Eisenhower Visitors' Center.
The Oswegatchie River covers approximately 450 miles and flows north from its headwaters in the Adirondacks to the City of Ogdensburg where it empties into the St. Lawrence River. With flatwater and whitewater areas, the River offers a wide range of canoeing and kayaking trips for experienced and novice paddlers. For starters, try the Oswegatchie River: East Branch paddle that includes a wild section of the beautiful High Falls, and many campsites along the way. Wait, there's more...
The Oswegatchie Blueway Trail is now mapped out as “a guide to the outdoor recreation and waterfront communities along the Oswegatchie River in New York’s North Country communities”. Covering territories from Ogdensburg to Cranberry Lake, you can find information regarding camping, waterfalls, stores, visitor centers, and listings for anything you would need - click here to download and start your exploring!
The Grasse River, a tributary of the St. Lawrence River, is located entirely in St. Lawrence County, New York. With its South Branch beginning near Long Tom Mountain in the Town of Colton, this combination coldwater-warmwater river runs through Russell, Canton, and Madrid on its way to meet the St. Lawrence River downstream of Massena. The entire river's length provides anglers with a variety of fishing opportunities, from stocked brown trout and native brook trout to walleye and smallmouth bass. In addition to the great fishing opportunities, approximately 85 of the river's 115 miles are canoeable and adequate access is provided for most of this distance - click here to find boat launches and recommended paddles from the DEC. Many visitors enjoy the relaxing 3-5 mile paddle from Louisville to Massena.
Stretching from Piercefield to its confluence with the St Lawrence River east of Massena, the lower Raquette River offers a pleasurable as well as varied outdoor experience for both the most ardent and the novice outdoor enthusiast. With the exception of the last 2.2 miles of river near Massena, which lies in Franklin County, the lower Raquette is located entirely within St Lawrence County. The river flows primarily in a northerly direction and its upper corridor is best described as low rolling hills with moderate to steep slopes resulting in rapids and occasional waterfalls. Below Colton, the landforms begin to give way to the low undulating terrain of the St. Lawrence River plain.
A nice feature of the Raquette is that most of the river is readily accessible by motor vehicle, making it easy for any family or individual to enjoy their choice stretch of river at any time. Ready to paddle? Get directions to the 'Log Driver's Trail: Raquette River from Potsdam to Norwood' on STLCtrails.com.
Black Lake encompasses an area of almost 11,000 acres, stretching over 20 miles and is hardly what anyone would call pressured. It is located amidst the huge pre-glacial rocks of St. Lawrence County. About 4 miles across at its widest point, the lake is filled with many sandbars, underwater shoals, and rugged rocky islands similar to those found only in the northern-most reaches of Canada. It is a beautiful place indeed. Start with a paddle at one of two boat launches (click here for directions) to cast a line, visit the sandbars, or simply sit back and enjoy the scenery! Visit blacklakeny.com to plan your trip.
The third largest lake in the Adirondacks! One of the largest remote areas remaining in NY State, located on the east branch of the Oswegatchie River. The lake has over 55 miles of shoreline with 42 primitive campsites. Take a short trip or stay overnight on Cranberry Lake. With three public boat launches, a myriad of islands and coves to explore, and plenty of campsites, Cranberry is the ideal place for a flatwater paddling adventure. Get your feet wet with a recommended paddle from STLCtrails.com.
Competitive and Recreational Races
If you are looking for competitive races, the St. Lawrence Valley Paddlers offer two of the State’s premier races - Canton Canoe Weekend: Rushton Memorial Race, which is held the first weekend in May; the second is the Remington II Canoe Race held the first weekend in September. The Club also hosts a variety of races including The Little River Ramble, and Madrid Canoe Regatta.