Canoeing the Bronx River is a unique and interesting way to explore the only freshwater river in New York City. Because of the historic features and urban influences, we have put together a few notes to enlighten paddlers before they embark on one of our excursions.
For 2013 there will be no full river trips due to construction of the fish passage at 182nd Street. While it will affect our paddling on the river for this year, it is a great step in the reconnecting of the Bronx River ecology.
For all Bronx River trips (Border to Mouth, Upper & Lower River Runs and Tidal Paddles) you should bring snacks and bottled water, as there are no stores on the banks of the river. We advise that you bring sunscreen and insect repellent to ensure your comfort. As New Yorkers know, it is important to dress appropriately for occasions, and our trips are no different. Wear sport sandals or old sneakers to protect your feet and offer you sure footing during portages. Wear light, quick drying clothes in case you get wet. Take note of the weather forecast and dress appropriately for the temperature and weather. We are able to provide a dry bag to each canoe, but bring only what is essential to prevent loss or damage to your things. Ziploc bags protect water sensitive belongings like cameras, cell phones, and wallets. While 95% of paddlers keep their boats upright, there is always a chance for even the most experienced paddlers to tip over. When weather events bring heavy rainfall, the river swells and trips may be cancelled if it is deemed dangerous to paddle. Filling out and bringing a waiver with you will save time as we prepare to get in the water.
Upper River Runs
and Border to Mouth
trips involve three portages around the waterfalls in the New York Botanical Garden and the Bronx Zoo. The first portage is about a half mile and we use carts to carry the boats. (Photos below by Jonathan Barkey.)
The second portage is very short but occasionally challenging to paddlers who are less than sure-footed.
The final portage is also short but involves climbing (or sliding) down a rock wall. All of the paddlers to date have been successful at each of the portages and declare that it just adds to the adventure!
run in the estuary section of the river, which is affected by the tide. This means that twice a day the level of the river rises and falls approximately eight feet. At low tide, the bottom of the river is exposed, just as the beach “grows” when the tide is out. The exposed areas are muddy and occasionally have a strong smell. This is a very interesting part of the trip as it exposes crabs and other organisms.
When the tide is on its way in, the current runs upstream. When the tide is on its way out, the current runs downstream. The current is never exceptionally strong, however when traveling against the current, consistent paddling is necessary to gain distance.
Most importantly it is important to bring a smile. Our trips are as much for public education as they are pure recreation and enjoying this hidden gem of the city. But don't take it from us! Read testimonials from Meet Up New York
and Jonathan Barkey
Contact Damian Griffin
to schedule a trip
Coming for a trip? Be sure to bring a waiver to get on water faster!
Adult Waiver Minor Waiver Spanish
Fees for paid trips:
Guided on-water learning experiences for students, educators and community based organizations. A Bronx River paddling adventure that combines physical skill building and team effort with learning about how the natural and human environments interact. Specific topics can be catered to needs of the group.
Half river or estuary ~3-4 hours - $375*
Urban River Eco-Paddle
Guided private trips catered to the needs of the group with a focus on urban river issues and rehabilitation.
Half river or estuary ~3-4 hours - $550*
*All canoe experience fees are for up to 25 participants. Larger groups must make special arrangements.
For more information on paddling access, please go to our on-line paddle guide.