Rochester, New York City Guide
Rochester, NY City Guide

© 1996-2015 Max Lent Communications




Canoeing Honeoye Creek

from Interstate 390 to the Genesee River

© Max Lent 1996


This section of Honeoye Creek is just deep to float a canoe during wet summers. During our September. paddle we had to portage our canoes around deadfall trees and over shallow riffles at least a dozen times between Interstate 390 and the Genesee River. Even with these obstacles, the creek is beautiful and mostly wild with few human artifacts. You will see a few tires in the creek and a couple of houses along the route, but for the most part it is wild and serene. Tall trees line its banks, kingfishers fish the shallows, and large carp can be seen through the mostly clear waters.

How To Get There

Take Interstate 390 south from Rochester, NY to exit 11 (Route 15 and 251). Take Route 15 south to Fishell Rd. Turn right (west) about .25 mi. to the State boat launch on the left. The boat launch is directly below the Interstate 390 overpasses.

To get to the takeout, continue west on Fishell Rd. to East River Rd. Turn left (south) to Golah Rd. Turn right (west) on Golah Rd. and follow it to the railway tracks. Park on the right near the railroad overpass.



We were lucky. A hard rain fell several nights before we put in on the creek. The rain raised the creek level a couple inches. Normally, the creek is not navigable from mid-summer until the following spring. This raises the question of the functionality of the state boat launch. The boat launch site is grotesquely ugly. The high bridges of I390 cover creek with shadow during mid-day. The traffic noise is loud and constant. Empty beer cans and broken bottles litter the ground and creek around the boat launch, so be careful about going barefoot in this area. Don't let this ugly beginning ruin your trip. The creek becomes pretty and quiet down stream.

We used two canoes on this trip. Our friends, Terry and Tom, used an aluminum canoe. We used a 16 foot Old Towne Penobscot. The aluminum canoe required more water to stay afloat and was taller in the water. Terry and Tom had to get out and pull their canoe over shallow places more often than we did. We also had an advantage by having bow and stern ropes. The ropes helped us pull our canoe around obstacles. The take out requires carrying canoes up a steep bank. Having a rope was useful for pulling our canoe out of the water and up the bank.

Be prepared to get out of your canoe while on Honeoye Creek. This means that you should wear suitable shoes. We wore inexpensive surf shoes that have a molded sole and nylon mesh uppers. They kept us from cutting our feet on broken glass and dried out quickly after getting wet.

There were numerous large trees blocking the creek. It was possible to canoe over some, around others, and under a few. Some required us to get out of our canoes and walk along the bank, through stinging nettles, pulling our canoes over the obstacles. If the water lever had been higher, it would have been faster. If it were faster, many of the trees fallen across the creek would have represented dangerous obstacles. Some of the trees become strainers when the water gets deep and fast. Some of the trees will force the creek through a too narrow channel, not wide enough for a canoe and too fast to navigate near. Another potential danger is the East River Rd. bridge. Flood debris completely blocked passage under bridge. Had the water been deeper and faster, we would have been in trouble at the bridge. As it was, we had to carry our canoe up and over the debris to continue down stream. During high water, we are not sure how we would have gotten past the bridge safely.

Don't take out at the railroad bridge. Instead paddle a few hundred yards further to the Genesee River. We paddled downstream on the Genesee River a few hundred feet and saw the largest beaver we had ever seen, Remember that you will have paddle upstream against the current on the way back. If the current is strong and you are tired, be careful

If we had started earlier in the day, we would have taken out at Route 25 (Rush-Scottsville Rd.) bridge on the Genesee River. The current of the Genesee River would have enabled us to cover the remaining distance in quickly.

We last canoed this creek on Sept. 21, 1996

Suggested reading

Order these books right now.

Rich and Sue Freeman GuidebooksComment:  If you don't own copies of Rich and Sue Freeman's guidebooks, you are missing out on the best places to hike, bike, canoe, or tour in the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York and the Bruce Trail in Canada.  Their books are well written and their directions easy to follow.  Highly recommended. 

Quiet Water Canoe Guide, New York. John Hayes and Alex Wilson. 1996. Published by the Appalachian Mountain Club, Boston. MA. ISBN1-878239-51-1.


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