We put in at Tioga Junction from Junction Crossroads. This day, it was just my husband and me in our Necky Manitou II tandem kayak. The water was running fairly high and this is a river with a good fast current. As soon as we hit the water, we knew this would be fun. The river was just teeming with birds. We were accompanied by hysterical canada geese all day long, but there were also lots of common mergansers, green herons as well as one great blue, three nests of osprey, kingfishers and even one show-off pileated woodpecker.
The river runs along Route 15, unfortunately, and at times there is traffic noise. Luckily, it wasn't too obtrusive and the river does wander away from the road for nice stretches. There are many places where the river splits around large islands. We stopped for lunch on a gravel bar at the point where the Cowanesque River joins the Tioga. A curious wolf spider decided to sample my glass of red wine, giving me a bit of a shock and probably giving him a bit of a buzz.
Below the entry of the Cowanesque, we encountered a spot where the river split into three sections. It seemed that the biggest channel was to the left, so we chose that route. But... hidden around there out of sight was a big old downed tree, completely blocking the channel. Paddling against the current to get out of that spot was wicked. The middle channel was fine, once we finally got there. Soon after this spot, we encountered the one truly dangerous spot on this run. The river is narrowed to one deep, swift channel and takes a sharp bend to the right. There is a tree on the right side and a bar of large cobbles on the left. We walked it through this spot.
We pulled out in Presho, NY, near where Rte 387 meets Rte 15. The pull-out is on County Rte 5 across from a white church.
This route is 10.5 miles. We took about 4 hours to paddle it, including an hour lunch break.
Route 15 to the Lawrenceville exit. Turn East on County Rte 49, turn right on Rte 287 (old Rte 15). Turn right on Junction Crossroads at the intersection of Rtes 287 & 328. The put-in is to the left of the bridge.
We had never paddled the Tioga before, so we followed the plan suggested in the "Take a Paddle: Fingerlakes" book by Rich & Sue Freeman. The book was written before the new Rte 15 was built, so the directions are a bit confusing.