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Canoeing, Kayaking and SUP Guide to the Best Paddling in New York

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 camping or whitewater trips, experience one of the best places to kayak in the northeast.

See our categorized recommendations for SUP, camping, rentals, and beginner-to-advanced options for kayaking and canoeing in Greene County below.

Stand up Paddle boarding yoga

Best Places for Standup Paddleboarding (SUP)

  • 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 on your SUP.  
Person kayaking along the shoreline

Best Areas for Canoe & Kayak Camping

  • Colgate Lake Wild Forest – A popular paddling, fishing, and camping spot located in East Jewett, NY — no motorized boats make for calm water. Average depth: 5 feet.
  • North-South Lake Campground – The largest state campground in the Catskill Forest Preserve. This lake 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, NY.
Row of canoes in front of water

Best Place to Kayak or Canoe for Beginner Paddlers

  • Four Mile Point Preserve – Paddle on the Hudson River along the shores of the park's nature trail. Near Coxsackie, NY. This is our top recommendation if you are just getting started paddling.
Two girls in canoe paddling on the water

Best Water for Moderate to Advanced Paddlers

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

Row of canoes and kayaks on the beach

Where to Rent Canoes, Kayaks, and Paddleboards

No matter where you go, you are sure to find the best places to kayak or canoe while exploring the waters of the Great Northern Catskills of Greene County.