Oak Orchard Creek, which flows north for some five miles from the dam at Lake Alice to Lake Ontario, is a quiet almost riverlike stream with 50-foot-high cliff banks. While it's popular for motor-boating anglers, their speed limit is restricted and every one I've encountered is quite polite and happy to see kayakers (or canoers). It's home to kingfishers and herons, snapping turtles and dragonflies and in mid-summer the water lilies near stream's edge are breathtaking. Ideal for a half-day outing, with lots of bends to keep you interested about what lies ahead. Of particular interest is an area commonly referred to the "Three Bridges," a trio of adjacent road bridges, which are fun to paddle beneath. A small tributary at Three Bridges, Marsh Creek, also provides a mile-long paddle to its source (or as close as you can come to it in a kayak).
There is one fisherman's "inn" at the Three Bridges area; other nearby cottages are for rent by the week. Just a few miles away are two state campgrounds, Hamlin Beach and Lakeside Beach. Reservations usually a must. Nearby Rochester (40 miles east) has a large selection of hotels, motels, B&Bs, etc. There are a few modest restaurants within walking distance of Three Bridges; and the renowned Browns Berry Patch, a one-of-a-kind farm stand/eatery, also within walking distance.
PackPaddleSki in South Lima, NY, offers occasional outings on Oak Orchard. Reach them at www.PackPaddleSki.com.
From Rochester, NY, take US Rte. 104 west to NYS Rte. 98 north and follow it to the mouth of Oak Orchard Creek at Point Breeze, NY.
There are two state put=ins/take-outs in Point Breeze near the mouth of Oak Orchard at Lake Ontario. Both are well marked; one is on the east side of Rte. 98, the other on the west bank of Rte. 98/Rte. 18. No fee weekdays; modest fee weekends. Ample parking at both.
I found the US Geological Survey map of the creek very helpful in appeciating the progress I was making up and downstream.
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)