It was a bluebird day with temps in the 70's. I was paddling a Necky Gannet. We had some rain a couple of days before so the river was running high. We embarked at the Croton RR station launch area, which is where the Croton meets the Hudson. Tide was in, but in the process of going out.
This part of the river is normally quiet flat water almost all the way up river till you meet the rapids portion, which is the usual stopping point for paddlers. Once you pass the route 9 bridge, it starts to get progressively quieter, and water fowl and birds become more common. We saw a number of Buffleheads, on their way north as well as some Goldeneyes. Other then that the bird life was sparse.
Paddling was relatively easy until we got to one area where there is a strong current and depending on how you catch it, can be moderate to strong. Today it was strong with spring rains and an outgoing tide. I had to put everything I had in to getting past the rapids, and wasn't sure I was making any progress until I finally broke free of the current. My partner was paddling a Perception Carolina, and he too had some difficulty, but made it through okay.
The rest of the paddle was through a gorge area, with some unique houses on the shoreline. We had the river to ourselves at this time of year, but later in the season, especially weekends, it gets heavy, but for the most part people are courteous and its an enjoyable paddle. You can do it in about hour, if you just want to paddle up and then back. At times dead low tide can be a problem getting up or down certain portions, and you may have to get out and pull the kayak, but if you watch the tides, shouldn't be a problem.
While the Croton is not particularly wide, this time of year, water temps are very cold, and you do not want to paddle w/o a lifejacket on. The nice option here is if weather and tide are right you can also go the other way into Wild Goose Bay and paddle the Hudson, but be careful, this river can get ugly real fast, and during the summer, there is a lot of boating traffic on weekends.
Fishing here for stripers can be good in season. The upper Croton is stocked with trout by the state and there is some good fishing here. While currents are not usually a problem, the upper area is a reservoir outlet, and when heavy rains occur, the water will be high and dirty, and usually even in the late summer runs cold. While there are no real hidden dangers, PFD's should be worn at all times.
The launch facility is owned by Village of Croton, there are no facilities here other than parking and launching. This is a popular launch spot, so it can be crowded on weekends. Weekdays are usually no problem.
Get off 9A at Croton Ave. Croton on Hudson and head towards the RR station. Make a left before the tracks and follow road until it ends at the Croton River.