Kayaking Ulster County

Ulster County’s abundance of parks, nature preserves, rivers, and lakes make it a paradise for kayakers, canoers, fisherman and other water sport enthusiasts. Whether you are looking for an adrenaline pumping kayak trip over fast flowing river rapids, or a peaceful paddle around an idyllic wooded lake, you will find the perfect kayak adventure for you on one of Ulster County’s water bodies.

We have created this guide to provide you with all of the information you need to have a safe, AND fun kayaking adventure, including our picks for Ulster County’s best kayaking locations.

Courteous Kayaking

The Ulster County waterways are often populated with lots of kayakers, canoers, fisherman, and other water sports enthusiasts looking to enjoy a day out enjoying the water, and the surrounding nature.

We have created the following list of guidelines to help you be a courteous kayaker, and ensure that everyone is able to have a safe, and enjoyable outdoor experience.

  • Help keep Ulster County’s waterways free of pollution by remembering that whatever you carry out onto the water, or into the parks, must be carried out with you when you leave
  • Kayakers traveling as part of a larger group, should paddle their crafts in a single file line, rather than side by side so that they do not block the waterway for other kayakers and watercraft
  • If motorized watercraft are present, kayakers should strive to steer their kayaks to the shallower edges of the waterway to allow the motorized craft to pass by easily and safely
  • Be mindful of your surroundings when entering and exiting the water to ensure that your kayak, and gear are not blocking other boaters who may be attempting to enter or exit the waterway at the same location
  • Secure your gear and supplies in waterproof bags to make it easy to quickly locate and retrieve all of your items if they happen to fall into the water
  • Keep in mind that sound travels a great distance over water, so make an effort to keep boisterous activity to a minimum to avoid disturbing the local wildlife, and other boaters

Safe Kayaking

Kayaks are lightweight, easy to maneuver, and relatively stable which makes kayaking an excellent water sport for boaters of all ages, and skill levels. Of course, every water sport involves some degree of risk. Do your part to minimize this risk, and help keep you, and your fellow kayakers safe by following these basic kayaking safety rules.

  • Keep an eye on the weather as heavy winds can result in choppy water, and large wave formations on even small bodies of water. If you hear thunder, or see lightning, exit the water and seek shelter on shore as soon as possible
  • Should you encounter large waves caused by wind, or the wash of a larger watercraft, steer the nose of your kayak directly into the wave to avoid being capsized
  • Wear a properly fitted life vest at all times. This is not just a safety tip, it is the law. New York state law requires that all children 12 years old and younger be outfitted with a life vest while on the water. You can find all of the safety equipment you need, including life vests, to outfit your entire party at < href="https://npkayaking.com/">New Paltz Kayaking

Gear Up For Kayaking

Gear up for your next kayaking adventure by taking the time to make certain that each person in your kayaking group is outfitted with an appropriately sized life vest, a kayaking helmet, and the best kayak, and paddles for the type of kayaking you intend to do.

While many experienced kayakers opt to bring their own equipment, this can often mean lugging your kayak and gear down a dirt, or rock trail to reach the boat launch area. Those who prefer to get their feet wet in the world of kayaking before taking the plunge to purchase a kayak and equipment can rent all of the equipment they will need from a local kayak equipment rental company like New Paltz Kayaking Rentals.

Ulster County’s Best Kayaking

We have discussed how to be a courteous and safe kayaker. You know what type of kayaking gear you need, and where to get it. So, now there is nothing left to do but plan your kayaking adventure. We have provided a list of our favorite Ulster County kayaking locations, so choose a spot and head out on the water.

Village Of New Paltz Sojourner Truth Park

Location: Village of New Paltz, New York
Equipment Rentals: Yes
Guided Tours: No

The Sojourner Truth Park is a small park located along the Wallkill River in the Village of New Paltz, New York. The park offers a parking area, picnic tables, and a non-motorized boat launch where kayakers, canoers, and other paddle boaters can easily access the Wallkill river for a day of nature watching, fishing, or simply relaxing.

Visitors may bring their own kayaks, or visit New Paltz Kayaking Rentals, conveniently located within the park, for all of their kayaking equipment needs.

City of Kingston/Forsyth Nature Center Kayak Tours

Location: Kingston, NY
Equipment Rentals: Yes
Guided Tours: Yes

The City of Kingston’s Forsyth Nature Center offers a variety of guided kayak tours on the Hudson River and Rondout Creek. Guided paddle boat tours are offered June through September, and geared towards those looking for a unique way to view the local flora and fauna, as well as Bald Eagles, Osprey, Turtles and other wildlife.

Bob Shepard Highland Landing Park

Location: Highland, New York
Equipment Rentals: Yes
Guided Tours: No

The Bob Shepard Highland Landing Park is a public park located on the west side of the Hudson, just north of the Mid-Hudson Bridge, and Walkway Over The Hudson

Visitors to the park can enjoy boating, kayaking, fishing, picnicking, and bird watching from sunrise to sunset daily. Kayakers may Bring their own equipment, or rent equipment from nearby New Paltz Kayaking Rentals.

Esopus Meadows Preserve

Location: Town of Esopus, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

The Esopus Meadows Preserve is a 93 acre preserve located along the Hudson River, in the Town of Esopus, New York. The preserve’s Hudson River Greenway Water Trail attracts kayakers and other boaters looking to explore the abundance of nature and wildlife that call the preserve waterways home.

Boaters can also catch a glimpse of the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse located downriver. Visitors will need to bring their own kayak, or rent equipment from New Paltz Kayaking Rentals, or another local provider.

Alder Lake

Location: Town of Hardenburgh, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

Alder Lake offers a peaceful paddle boating experience on a quiet lake with few other boaters.
Campsites are available for overnight stays as well.

Kayakers can access the lake from the park and carry down area located off State Route 254, 2.5 miles northeast of Hamlet of Turnwood.

Chodikee Lake

Location: Town of Lloyd, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

Chodikee Lake located near the Town of Lloyd, New York, is a small oval lake shaped lake fed by Black Creek. The lakefront wetlands offer prime fishing and paddle boat opportunities.

Boaters can access the lake from the parking area and hand launch located off of Route 299, 5 miles east of The Village of New Paltz. Visitors will need to bring their own kayaks or rent equipment from New Paltz Kayaking Rentals, or another nearby equipment provider.

Belleayre Mountain Pine Hill Lake Day Use Area

Location: Pine Hill, New York
Equipment Rentals: Yes
Guided Tours: No

Belleayre Mountain Pine Hill Lake Day Use Area, located in Pine Hill, New York, features a beach, picnic pavilions, a snack bar, and free wifi.

Pine Hill Lake is perfect for swimming, paddle boating, and fishing. Visitors may bring their own canoe or kayak, or rent equipment from an onsite or nearby provider.

Minnewaska State Park Preserve

Location: Kerhonkson, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

Minnewaska State Park Preserve, located in the Shawangunk Mountains, is home to several picturesque waterfalls, crystal clear sky lakes and streams, hardwood forests, and stunning rock features.

The preserve, located near Kerhonkson, New York, offers world class rock climbing, hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and more.

Boaters can access the preserve’s boat launch through the entrance to the Minnewaska State Park Preserve located at 5281 Route 44-55, in Kerhonkson New York.

Location: Village of New Paltz, New York
Equipment Rentals: Yes
Guided Tours: No

The Wallkill River is a unique river which flows south to north through the Village of New Paltz and Town of Rosendale, in Ulster County New York. The slow flowing river is a popular spot for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.

Boaters can enter the water from one of three parking and hand-launch areas located in the Village of New Paltz, or the Town of Rosendale, New York.

Shaupeneak Ridge Preserve

Location: Esopus, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

The picturesque Shaupeneak Ridge preserve is the ideal location for nature-lovers who can enjoy the grassland pastures filled with wildflowers, deep woods, as well as a waterfall and pond. Visitors can expect to catch glimpses of the wide variety of wildlife that make their home in the preserve including beaver, coyote, deer, wild turkey, and more.

The preserve, located near Esopus, New York, offers an array of activities including, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, picnics, and more.

Onteora Lake

Location: Town of Kingston, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

Onteora Lake is a small, narrow body of water with an undeveloped shoreline that offers the perfect spot for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing from small boats.

Boaters can access the lake from the small parking area and hand launch located off of Route 28, 4 miles north of the Town of Kingston, New York.

Kenneth L. Wilson Campground and Day Use Area

Location: Mount Tremper, New York
Equipment Rentals: Yes
Guided Tours: No

The Kenneth L. Wilson Campground & Day Use Area is a year round campground and boat launch located off Route 28 and Wittenberg Road, 4 miles east of Mount Tremper, New York.

Visitors can enjoy the site’s many activities and amenities such as picnic pavilions, horseshoe pits, hiking trails, a boat launch, and on location equipment rental facility. Tent and RV campsites are available for overnight stays. A fee is required for day use visitors during the peak season.

Rondout Creek At Eddyville Dam

Location: Eddyville, New York
Equipment Rentals: No
Guided Tours: No

Rondout Creek located above the Eddyville Dam, in Eddyville, New York, is a slow moving river tributary of the Hudson River. Rondout Creek is a great location for small boats, canoes, and kayaks, and offers excellent fishing for Bass, Walleye, and Panfish.

Boaters can access the water from the small parking area and gravel ramp boat launch located off Creek Locks Road and Route 213, just south of Eddyville, New York.

Start Planning Your Kayaking Adventure Today!

We hope our guide has inspired you to grab a kayak and embark on your next kayaking adventure on the waterways of Ulster County. Visit New Paltz Kayaking today to start planning your Ulster County kayaking adventure. We can’t wait to meet you!