Rafting in Syracuse

Select Local Merchants

Preparing explorers for jaunts through the waterways and paths of the historic Erie Canal, the staffers of Erie Canal Boat Company outfit visitors with bicycle, kayak, canoe, pontoon, and paddleboat rentals, as well as appropriate supplies. They lead group and private lessons, teaching tender-footed kayakers the basics of safety and stroke skills for recreational, competitive, or impress-your-favorite-seal's-mom kayaking. They also host weekly paddling clubs and races, as well as annual regattas, and stock a variety of gear at their shop to ensure pioneers are suitably appointed for paddling and pedaling excursions.

7 Lift-bridge Ln W
Fairport,
NY
US

When he was still a college student, Kevin Kretschmer answered an ad in the local newspaper for a whitewater-rafting guide on the rivers around Syracuse. More than 30 years later, he now owns the company and operates his river tours with the mission of giving others a chance to see the area's scenic beauty. His diverse team of guides—some schoolteachers, some farmers, some factory workers, and some college students—helps paddlers navigate rapids on three rivers while hunkered into six-person inflatable rafts. Together they navigate the calmer Class I and Class II waters of Letchworth State Park, the raging Class II and Class III rapids of the Salmon River, and the passive-aggressive Class III and Class IV segments of Cattaraugus Creek. Guides commence each trip far upstream, allowing rafters to find a rhythm before surmounting the rapids.

2524 Highway 13
Altmar,
NY
US

When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.

More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.

140 Newell Street
Watertown,
NY
US

The guides at Black River Outfitters prize their namesake waterway for both its natural beauty and its reliability in keeping rapids flowing even through the drier summer months. Thus, from May through October, they organize 7-mile jaunts through Class III and IV rapids, for which they provide everyone from neophytes to experts with all necessary equipment and rushes of adrenaline. Following each zigzag down the river, a bus takes their adventurers back to the base, where they watch a photo slideshow of the trip and indulge in complimentary ice cream.

531 W Main St.
Watertown,
NY
US

Canoes float under a sunny sky, kayakers speed along lush riverbanks, and standup paddleboards engage core muscles in adrenaline-pumping workouts. With dozens of watercraft for rent and sale, BayCreek Paddling Center's team brings aquatic adventures like these to life. Their staff members, which range from young enthusiasts to 30-year industry veterans, launch customers into Irondequoit Creek, where they can float amid an orchestra of bird songs and opera-trained fish. In addition to rentals, the staff guide activities. Aboard their various watercraft, certified instructors lead lessons and nature tours that wind through glacier-carved terrain and former Seneca Native American lands.

1099 Empire Blvd.
Rochester,
NY
US