The Waters of Cattaraugus County

Make a splash this summer in the Enchanted Mountains of WNY!  Cattaraugus County, aka The Enchanted Mountains, has been having glorious weather!  It’s time to hit the water … Ok, but where and how do you do that? 


Kayaking allows you to explore and admire the beautiful scenery in the Enchanted Mountains in a completely new way.  There's nothing quite like being on the water.  Exploring the coastlines of our lakes and rivers provides an opportunity to view animals, plants and varying landscapes.  Our lakes are big enough for a full day of enjoyment, but not so big you’ll lose sight of the coast line view.  


One of our best locations is the Allegheny River.  With new launches (some handicap accessible) being added and projects popping up along the shoreline, it truly is a new way to enjoy the Enchanted Mountains. The Allegheny River enters New York near Portville, then continues through Allegany State Park, where it eventually joins the Reservoir. Kayakers can paddle to their hearts’ content on over 50 miles of water, devoid of dams, when the water is at sufficient heights.


New launches are found in Portville, Olean, and Allegany, which makes for a nice two to three hour trip down the river between these launches.  The river is also accessible in Salamanca and down in the Quaker side of Allegany State Park, at Friends Boat Launch.  Here you are very likely to see a bald eagle soaring overhead as you drift slowly down the calm river.  


Allegany State Park is another great place to go, especially if you’re a beginner.  Red House Lake is a 110-acre lake and is easily accessible from several points around the lake.  Whether you prefer launching from a dock or wading into the water, you will find it here.  Quaker lake is only slightly more challenging, being 268 acres, and approximately 2 miles end to end.  The waters are generally calm and inviting.  There are spots to park and a bath house for convenience by the beach area.  


Visit for a list of all the area's places to hit the water in Cattaraugus County, including all the launch spots in our rivers and lakes.  


Don't have your own watercraft?

• Adventure Bound onthefly in Ellicottville has a large fleet of SUP’s and kayaks available to rent all summer long and guided trips to take you down the river with an expert. They are able to accommodate large groups and offer a discount on group reservations. Phone 716-217-4047,

• Allegany State Park Shops & Restaurant in Allegany State Park has rentals of SUP, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboats for use in their two lakes - Red House Lake and Quaker Lake. Please note, the Red House Lake water level remains low due to dam construction throughout the year. Phone: 716-354-9282

• Allegheny Adventures in Olean will have you floating down the Allegheny River in no time! They rent canoes and kayaks from their newly opened location on Greene Street, right next to Four Mile Brewing. They will haul the kayak or canoe you rent up to Portville, where you can float downstream for approximately 2 hours back to Olean. Life jackets are provided. Phone 716-790-9531, search them on facebook: Allegheny Adventures.


If you like to feel the cool wind as you zoom down the river on your boat, then try Onoville Marina on the Allegheny Reservoir.  Launch your boat for the day for great fun in the sun along 90+ miles of pristine shoreline with no commercialization.  Camp on the waterfront or shaded in the trees.  Great dining is nearby at the Horseshoe Inn and the Nic-L-Inn.  Ice cream and boat rentals are right across the Marina at Bayview Mini Mart. 


So get out on the water and enjoy one of the best parts of summer!  Call 1-800-331-0543 to request a FREE Activities Guide, visit us online at and have a great time paddling away!

By Rachel Northrup

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