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Black Creek in New York

Trip Overview

Black Creek drains the Bergen Swamp area west of Rochester. The creek meanders through wooded areas in the towns of Bergen, Riga and Chili. The creek eventually dumps into the Genesee River just north of Route 252 in Henrietta.

On the maiden voyage of my newly built cedar strip canoe we paddled the stretch above the Churchville Dam, putting in at Churchville Park. On this doubly enchanting trip we encountered: beaver so close we could hear them breathe; a spotted fawn so young it had no fear of us a s it drank on the bank; a half dozen Great Blue Heron, one with a fat fish jammed in its beak; and a Great Horned Owl which called from the woods and latter flew silently over our heads as dusk approached.

The stretch below Churchville Dam has a few spots that are scratchy at low water. It also suffers from logjams left from a Labor Day blow down that tore through the area several years ago. A state grant has been received to clear these obstructions from Black Creek. It should be open again all the way to the Genesee River after work is completed in the summer of 2001.

Just before the Genesee River end of the downstream trip you will cross under an old stone bridge. This bridge carries the Genesee Valley Greenway trail over the creek. For those who like to paddle and bike, this multi-use trail extends from Rochester, through beautiful Leitchworth Park, and terminates near the Pennsylvania line.

Update, Sept. 2004: Well I can tell you that no one has removed any trees in the last couple of years. From West Sweden Road to Route 19 we had to get out and carry 22 times. Yes that is 22. Stinging neddles and poison ivy are all over the place as could be expected in the back woods. Needless to say our 3 hour smooth paddle took 5.5 hours and we are about to sleep for 2 days. From Route 19 East to Churchville the trip was very nice and clear of obstacles.


490 West from Rochester to Churchville exit. North through Town of Churchville on Main Street. Turn left just before the bridge over the creek. Boat lauch is on right side in 1/4 mile.


1. Churchville Park -- above dam. for trips upstream to Sweden Road or Bergen Swamp

2. Churchville firehall -- below dam. for trips downstream

3. From Genesee River crossing on route 252 go 1 block west. Turn north on side street by ARC.
Boat launch and parking available for takeout at end of downstream trips.

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip