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Best Places to Paddle in the Great Northern Catskills

Dip your paddle into the waters of the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County! Whether you’re embarking on a spring paddle where the trees are budding around you, a summer kayak under the sun, or a fall canoe filled with vibrant foliage, get ready for an incredible day on the water. From leisurely paddles to more adventurous journeys, experience one of the best places to kayak in the northeast.

Best Standup Paddleboarding

  • Greens Lake – Located in Athens, features calm water paddling and great fishing. Average depth: 19 feet.
  • Hudson River – Paddle along New York’s most famous river. You can access the water in Athens, Catskill, and Coxsackie. Depending on boat traffic, the water could be choppy from boat wakes so it’s best to stick to the shoreline.  

Best for Canoe & Kayak Camping

  • Colgate Lake Wild Forest – A popular paddling, fishing, and camping spot in East Jewett — no motorized boats make for calm water. Average depth: 5 feet.
  • North-South Lake Campground – The largest state campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve features calm water, as motorized boats are not permitted. Average depth: 6 feet.
  • Whip-O-Will Campsite – Home to full-hookup sites and lakeside camping in Purling. Paddle a seven-acre lake, and rent rowboats, kayaks, and paddleboats right there at the campground.
  • Earlton Hill Campground & RV Park – Features more than 300 campsites with a lake for paddling, located in Earlton.

Best for Beginner Paddlers

Best for Moderate to Advanced Paddlers

Note: Be sure to use the proper gear when paddling in rapids — check out REI’s gear recommendations.

Where to Rent Canoes, Kayaks, and Paddleboards

No matter where you go, experience the excitement of paddling in the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County.