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Kayaking and Canoeing Tonawanda Creek in East Pembroke, NY

by dsitler

On Tonawanda Creek in East Pembroke, NY
On Tonawanda Creek in East Pembroke, NY

The Tonawanda Creek in Genesee County offers numerous opportunities to go kayaking or canoeing. The slow, meandering waterway (which eventually makes it way to the Niagara River) is a relaxing paddle, with relatively no hassles. This past weekend, we decided to launch from East Pembroke, NY and went east towards Batavia. 

Finding the entrance to the launch site is a little tricky, as there are no signs. The launch site has a grassy driveway North of Rt. 5, and less than a 100 yards east of the fire department, and east of the Pembroke Dam. Another marker is East Street which is across the street from the launch. The launch is sort of hidden, but has a semi-circle driveway where you can pull in, drop your boats off and then park on the side of Rt. 5. We didn't hit the water until 6:30 p.m. so our exploration was limited. But what we found was pure kayaking bliss. At this time of the year, there is no noticeable current so the paddle up and back is a fairly easy task. The Tonawanda Creek is not a wide riverway and also features numerous turns. There are a few trees that have fallen in the water that you have to navigate around and were the only obstacles we encountered. At a few points, Tonawanda Creek approaches Rt. 5, but it mostly flows through secluded farmland. There are a few houses and camps along the shores of the creek. During our trek, we encountered numerous animal species, including: muskrats, wide variety of birds, even a deer greeted us from the banks of the creek. One resident was fishing outside her house and asked us if we just saw the beaver that swam by.

A tranquil paddle awaits you...
A tranquil paddle awaits you...
Smooth sailing (actually, paddling) on Tonawanda Creek in East Pembroke, NY.
Smooth sailing (actually, paddling) on Tonawanda Creek in East Pembroke, NY.
The launch spot in East Pembroke, NY
The launch spot in East Pembroke, NY
Launch spot is located in East Pembroke, NY about 100 yards east of the fire hall on Rt. 5.
Launch spot is located in East Pembroke, NY about 100 yards east of the fire hall on Rt. 5.

Because of the setting sun, we did a 90 minute up and back trip and arrived safely on shore before it got too dark.  Before getting out of water, we paddled up to the Pembroke Dam, which we could do due to a lower water level. During higher water levels, it could be a possible misadventure to approach the dam. With the sun falling behind the trees, we drove down Rt. 5 very content with our evening on Tonawanda Creek.