Canoeing & Kayaking
Canoeing and Kayaking is one of the biggest attractions in our region. There are several bodies of water in which to enjoy a full day of fun and excitement holding a paddle in a canoe or kayak.
Please read some general safety guidelines on our local rivers and creeks.
The 54-mile trip on the Allegheny River, devoid of dams, can be made without interruption at sufficient water heights. At Clean, two large pipes crossing the River's bed may cause a problem during low water. Near the Junction of the Tunungwant Creek, vertical log piles are concealed below the water surface. Log piles are also present in other locations, especially above Portville.
At Salamanca, a shallow rift occurs above and below the bridge. There are also some rifts between Salamanca and Red House.
From Vandalia to the Allegheny Reservoir, most of the trip is through the Seneca Nation of Indians' Reservation. The trip through the Allegheny Reservoir can be rated smooth to rough depending on the wind.
Cattaraugus Creek offers the most interesting canoeing stream in Western New York. It must be approached with CAUTION. It is challenging, secluded in sections, and very beautiful.
For detailed information on Cattaraugus Creek water levels and safety information view USGS WaterData for USGS 04213500 Cattaraugus Creek at Gowanda, NY.
The entire length of Cattaraugus Creek, can be run season long (Spring through Fall). Some sections of the Cattaraugus Creek, especially the stretch through Zoar, should NOT be run at any time except by experienced canoeists accompanied by someone who knows the Creek. Meetup with the Zoar Valley Paddling Club.
The white water enthusiast may wish to take a wet and wild river trip by rafting through Zoar Valley. These white-water rafting trips are by reservation only. Make your reservations early in the Spring to assure high water for rafting.
Cattaraugus Creek, South Branch
When running the South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek, one should proceed with caution especially in the area between Skinner Hollow Road and Forty Road. It is noted that you will find a 6-foot river-wide waterfall, (height varies 15 to 20 feet) on a blind corner. Here the water flows into a horseshoe shaped drop with recirculating currents. Following is another 6foot drop with a potential pinning situation. Run this creek only if you are with someone who has run it before. Not recommended in high water.
This creek is a slow meandering stream with many overhanging trees. Portage is required around occasional fallen trees. A beaver dam one-mile north of the mouth of Little Conewango may necessitate portage. The first 5 miles below Conewango Valley flow sluggishly through a straight State drainage ditch. The stream's redeeming feature is a delightful series of easy rifts, 3 miles long, from the Route 17 bridge at Waterboro to Kennedy after which it joins the Allegheny River at Killbuck.
Great Valley Creek
The water level of the Great Valley Creek, which meanders through the valley, is for the most part seasonal. At high water, this Creek can be run from Ellicottville to the point where it joins the Allegheny River at Killbuck.
This is an unusually fine run among hills. During the Spring, it offers intermediate challenge to the canoe enthusiast. There are occasional tricky spots under the bridges and along railroad grades. Dead falls are the biggest problem. This creek can only be run in high water.
Oil Creek is an excellent spring and fall waterway. It meanders through farmland and wooded areas. One may encounter a few log jams. In the area of Wagner Hill Road, one will encounter rock and rubble. Oil Creek is an area with an abundance of wildlife.
This is a continuation of the Ischua and Oil Creeks. Moderately high water would make tire trip from Hinsdale to the Allegheny River a relaxing one. However, the Olean Creek is shallow and cannot be run most of the year. Some snags as well as some fast, sharp turns may be encountered.
An abundance of wildlife and waterfowl can be seen on the Oswayo Creek. This creek is canoeable from Shinglehouse, Pennsylvania to a point where it meets the Allegheny River near Portville, New York.
Zoar Valley Whitewater Rafting
Zoar Valley is located only an hour's drive south of Buffalo, New York. Transversing some of the most spectacular scenery in Western New York, it remains virtually hidden due to its difficult access. Certain sections of the gorge can be seen from several remote vantage points, but by far, the best view can be had from the river far below.
For more fun - there are two annual Regattas held in Cattaraugus County!
The Great Valley Regatta is approximately 10 miles long and is held in May each year on the Great Valley Creek.
The Falling Leaves Regatta is about 7.8 miles and is held in September on the Ischua Creek.
Want to try something other than canoeing or kayaking?
Check out whitewater river rafting options on the Cattaraugus Creek too!