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Ellicott Creek in New York

Trip Overview

At 8:40am, I entered Ellicott Creek at Ellicott Creek Park in Amherst, NY. I headed west on the creek on a sunny spring morning. I had a free day and had never kayaked the creek or any connecting waterways so I thought I'd play my route by ear. The creek, initially, is bordered by a nice, wooded park on one side. The downside, however, is that the other side is continually paralleled by a fairly busy road. The water is nice and easy with many ducks, geese, turtles and muskrats but much of the route featured an incredible amount of garbage in the water and on the banks. This was disappointing.

I continued past numerous rental boat slips and water's edge houses. Many of these houses feature boat garages in the rear that going right into the creek. Few are still in use and have fallen into disrepair. After about 45 minutes, I entered the Erie Canal in the City of Tonawanda. Here the water became a little less befouled.

Shortly after entering the canal, I found several clear signs indication the route to Lake Erie and Buffalo. I followed these signs and paddled out onto a short watercourse leading into the Niagara River. As soon as I paddled out away from the shelter of the canal and out toward the River, I was hit by much cooler breezes.

As I entered the Niagara River, the water became clearer and I could see to a fair depth through the green water. I paddled along the shore, against a mild current, and at the 1 hour and 20 minute mark put out at the Niawanda Park boat ramps.

After a brief break, I got back into the river and headed toward the south Grand Island bridge. Just before reaching it I turned back to meet a friend for lunch in Niawanda Park. All I had to do is stop paddling and let the current turn me back.

After lunch, I followed the same route back to my vehicle at Ellicott Creek Park.


Several restaurants and gas stations around start point. Several hot dog joints at end point. When county parks are open there are several public restrooms along the Niagara River as well as easy landing points.


Take I-290 to Niagara Falls Blvd exit. Head north on Niagara Falls Blvd until you reach Ellicott Creek Road (about 2 miles). Park at northwest corner and enter at Ellicott Creek Canoe/Kayak Launch.

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

Locations on this Trip