Canoeing and Kayaking

One of the best ways to see the Wallkill River NWR is by canoe or kayak. You will experience the great diversity of habitats that makes the refuge unique. Canoeing takes you through beautiful floodplain forests, wet meadows which are maintained by seasonal flooding, and under tall rock cliffs. Water levels in the river fluctuate seasonally. During spring, the wet meadows may be flooded, making the river channel difficult to follow. Conversely, by mid summer, the river may not be passable due to low water levels. Autumn rains generally raise the water level once again. Refuge staff and volunteers are currently working to remove some large snags and fallen trees obstructing access. Check with refuge office regarding current conditions but be prepared to haul your canoe over beaver dams and downed timber. Please use caution when hauling your canoe in or out of the river as steep, slippery banks may occur at the access points.

There are three access points to the Wallkill River on the refuge. 

Self-Guided Paddling Brochure


  1. Bassett's Bridge Canoe and Fishing Access provides a safe and easy point to launch or take out your canoe. Located just west of where Rt. 642 crosses the Wallkill River in Wantage, New Jersey, this parking area and path provide the public with ample parking. There is a boardwalk that leads from the parking area to the river which is approximately 150 yards. A canoe cart would be helpful. Accessing the river from Rt. 642 near the bridge is prohibited.
  2. Oil City Road Canoe and Fishing Access provides an easy point to launch or take out your canoe. The site is just east of where Oil City Road crosses the Wallkill River in Pine Island, New York. Parking is limited here. Please do not block access roads.
  3. Rt. 565 (Glenwood Road) Canoe Access is located in Vernon, New Jersey, about one-half mile north of the Rt. 23/Rt. 565 intersection. Future plans call for the construction of a 10-car parking area at the site. Until that time, for safety reasons only canoe drop off/pick up is allowed. Parking is available at the corner of Route 565 and Scenic Lakes Road, just north of the canoe access.


In addition to self guided kayak and canoeing on the Wallkill River, the Wallkill River NWR is sponsoring introductory kayak trips to the public. These trips are offered weekly from early June through September. The Wallkill River NWR provides trip leaders, kayaks, paddles and a personal flotation device for each participant. Pre-registration is required.  Contact the refuge office at 973-702-7266 x 10 for more details.