your paddlesports destination

Wolcott Creek / Port Bay in New York

Trip Overview

It was a slightly overcast day as I put the kayak in the water at Port Bay, just north of Wolcott, New York. There are a few different places to put your kayak in the water, but I chose the DEC launch site on West Port Bay Road. I thought this would be the best spot for my first trip to Port Bay because it is closest to the middle of the whole area.

As soon as I hit the water, I headed south to Wolcott Creek. The creek itself is at the southwest corner of the bay, but I saw a lot of duck blinds on that side of the water, so I went a more circular route and headed towards the south east first and it's a good thing I did. I will tell you about that on the return trip.

Once I got into the creek itself, I was surprised at how quiet everything got. There are roads less than a half a mile away and small cottages all over the area, but once in the creek you neither see nor hear any of this.

The creek twists and turns about two and a half miles back. The tall marsh grass shields you from most of the wind and keeps you guessing about what is coming up around the next bend. I saw a few dozen ducks, 5 or 6 Blue Herons, a dozen or so red winged Blackbirds and quite a few other birds, that this amateur bird watcher just did not know. I also saw quite a few turtles and tons of fish. It took me about an hour and a half to reach the back of the creek. I might have been able to go farther, but there was a beaver dam blocking most of the creek as well as signs of civilization creeping in, so I turned back.

The trip back was much harder. The current wasn't too bad, but it did slow me down. The wind was brutal though. My trusty anemometer showed a few gusts in the 25-30 MPH range. At one point I decided to stop for a quick rest on what I though was solid land, but as soon as I put any weight on my foot, it sank a good foot and a half deep, so I just rested in the kayak.

Once I got back under way, the wind had died down, so I made some decent time.

When I got back into the southern part of Port Bay, I decided to cut directly across the middle, instead of taking my circular route from the trip in. Here is where I had some problems. I got to the edge of the bay and noticed the water was not very deep at all. I couldn't see the best way to go forward, so I just went for it, hoping for the best. There were a couple of times I got stuck for a short period of time. This is not someplace you would want to get out of the kayak, because the mud is very, very deep. I would suggest heading for the eastern most part of the bay, which is far deeper.

Once back to the launch site, I rested for about a half an hour and then got back in the water. I headed north this time, but I didn't get far. My paddle broke just about a half an hour after starting out again. My backup paddle isn't good for long periods of time, so I decided to head back.

Next time out I will try out Beaver Creek and the rest of the bay itself.

I would just like to point out that I have only been kayaking for just over a month at this point. Please take that into account when planning this trip.


Concrete boat launch. Port-a-potty


None for non-motorized boats


Take route 104 to Wolcott, NY. Turn north at the McDonalds in Wolcott and follow the road through the village. At the one and only stop light, go straight. You will soon be through the village. Stay on the West Port Bay road for about 4 miles. On the right hand side of the road you will see the familiar DEC fishing access sign.


"Take A Paddle" by Rich and Sue Freeman

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

Locations on this Trip