Genesee County Blog

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Kayaking Tonawanda Creek from Kiwanis Park in Batavia, NY

by dsitler

John T. O Brien Canoe Launch at Kiwanis Park in Batavia, NY.
John T. O Brien Canoe Launch at Kiwanis Park in Batavia, NY.

As part of exploring further the Tonawanda Creek, on our latest adventure we decided to drop the kayaks in at Kiwanis Park at 3808 West Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020. The park features the John T. O’Brien Canoe Launch, which has an easy drop-in channel that flows out to the creek. A parking lot 20 yards away makes it a hassle-free spot to launch your kayak or canoe. 

Easy place to drop your boats in a side-channel.
Easy place to drop your boats in a side-channel.

The Tonawanda Creek is 90 miles in length, starting in Wyoming County and eventually flowing into the Niagara River in Tonawanda, NY. A few weeks ago, we wrote a blog post here about launching in East Pembroke, NY.

Going east towards River Street bridge in Batavia, NY.
Going east towards River Street bridge in Batavia, NY.
Always a tranquil paddle on Tonawanda Creek in Batavia, NY.
Always a tranquil paddle on Tonawanda Creek in Batavia, NY.

At the launch out on Tonawanda Creek you have the decision to go west towards East Pembroke, or paddle east towards Batavia. On this paddle we decided to go east and see how far we could go. The big lesson we learned about going east towards downtown Batavia is that the creek is shallow. There had been some moderate rain a few days before our journey, so we didn’t encounter much issues. If the weather is dry, this paddle becomes harder with an occasional portage. The paddle upstream was relaxing, beautiful and interesting. The meandering creek took us through woods, fields and eventually behind some of Main Street’s businesses. The serenity allowed my expedition partner (my brother) and I to paddle quietly and get caught up with each others' lives. Apparently some fish wanted to join in on our conversations as we saw several leap out of the water during our journey. The upstream current on the Tonawanda Creek was very manageable and not fatiguing. Exactly two miles from our launch at Kiwanis Park we turned around at the S. Lyon Street bridge. I was hoping to make it up around the bend to the dam from an old mill, but we had some time considerations and had to turn around. The paddle back went pretty fast due to the current and wind behind our back. Having the canoe launch area awaiting from the trip is the perfect way end the journey. In total, our four-mile trek took 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete. It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.