Department of Environmental Conservation

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Public Canoe Program

Program Description

Several canoes with paddlers on the Hudson River at dusk
Young woman enjoying a late afternoon paddle with educators
from the Hudson River Research Reserve. (Chris Bowser)

Enjoy a beautiful day on the Hudson River estuary as you paddle with staff naturalists to learn about tidal marshes, observe birds and wildlife, and look for unique plants. These FREE educational canoe trips are suitable for adults and children (6 and older) whether experienced paddlers or in a canoe for the first time. All gear is provided, and registration is required. The trips leave from three different launch sites in the lower, upper, and mid-Hudson Valley. For more information on these public paddles, call 845-889-4745, x109 or email the Hudson River Research Reserve Instructions for registering are listed below.

  • One trip per person
  • Novices and families welcome! (Minimum age is 6; maximum of 2 children under 16 per adult)
  • All gear provided
  • For safety reasons, we can't allow other boats to join the group
  • Wear old sneakers or water shoes that can get wet/muddy (flip-flops come off!)
  • Prepare to be knee-deep in water
  • Bring food, water, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a sense of adventure!

How To Register

Click on the registration link under "Links Leaving DEC's Website" which is located on the upper right hand side of this page. The link will take you to the Eventbrite website where you can register. Registration will open on June 1st.

Stockport Flats

Watch for herons, belted kingfishers, and eagles as we explore Columbia County's Stockport Creek. Depending on time, we paddle into a tiny tidal channel to see a beaver lodge perched next to the water. Weather permitting, we paddle to Stockport Middle Ground to take a break. This sandy, dredge-spoil island features bank swallows and a great swimming beach adjacent to the shipping channel - so wear your swimsuit and hope for waves from passing boats!

Tivoli North Bay

This fascinating tidal marsh in Dutchess County offers spectacular plants, interesting wildlife, and scenic views of the Catskills. Look for banded killifish skipping along the top of the water, red-wing blackbirds flying above the marsh, and blooming wildflowers in this natural perennial garden. Enjoy unique sights, sounds, and smells as you wander through one of the most amazing protected sites on the Hudson.

Iona Island

Paddle through this marshy maze in Rockland County with Reserve naturalists. Nestled in the Hudson Highlands adjacent to Bear Mountain State Park, this wetland features marsh flowers, snapping turtles, and dramatic views of Dunderberg, Bald, West, and Manitou Mountains. You may catch a glimpse of a blue crab swimming below or a secretive green heron perching above the water.

Group Paddles

We also offer educational canoe trips to high school and college classes, and municipal decision-makers such as town planners. For information on arranging a group canoe trip, call 845-889-4745, x109 or email the Hudson River Research Reserve