Bayonne Nature Club
Appreciating, protecting and improving urban nature sites
Kayaking and Canoeing in Hudson County!
Yes, it can be done. And it's a lot of fun!
Paddle the Hudson River or Hackensack River and Newark Bay. Check the tide and get your boat. Below is a list of the best locations in Hudson County for launching your kayak. If you don't have a kayak, check out the locations listed below that offer kayak and canoe rentals.
PADDLING HUDSON COUNTY
by Patricia Hilliard
Whether you have a kayak or canoe or wish you had one – you can go paddling in Hudson County. Three of Hudson County’s prominent parks offer some form of paddling with rentals, tours and programs. These parks are: Liberty State Park, Laurel Hill Hudson County Park and Mill Creek Park, Secaucus. The Jersey City Reservoir offers paddling for children. Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse offers professional guidance for paddling the New York Harbor. Paddling opportunities in Hudson County are inexpensive and conveniently located. Today’s light-weight stable canoes and kayaks sit on the water’s surface. Kayaking is easy and can be enjoyed by any age group. While kayaking, the oars are held in both hands. Propel yourself forward by dipping the oars only into the surface of the water. Kayaking and canoeing are good aerobic exercise. Paddling the Hudson or Hackensack Rivers puts you in the theater of America’s accomplish-ments. You'll see the bridges, the railroads, the ferries, the cargo ships and cranes. Listen to the sounds of business on the move.
Or, if you seek solace with nature, paddle the wildlife areas and imagine yourself with the Lenni Lenape tribe crossing waters that today have the same species of ducks and herons that populated one of the greatest marshes of the eastern U.S.
What to Consider When Paddling Hudson County:
Hudson County's two rivers, the Hackensack and the Hudson River, have moderate currents throughout the year.
1.Waters are affected by tides. Consult a tide clock before paddling. Launch just before high tide and return within three or four hours to avoid being stranded by the dropping water level. 2.Use Nature’s energy to your advantage: paddle up river with the incoming tide and down river with the out-going tide. 3.Do not paddle up to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty Island or any industrial sites as these are considered security zones with no public access allowed from the shore. 4.Shooters Island in Newark Bay is a Restricted Wildlife Area designated for nesting of protected bird species.
SPECIFIC SITE LAUNCHES:
Liberty State Park:
Paddle the Hudson River and explore the Cove. Launch from the kayak launch site at the Administration Building parking lot at 200 Morris Pesin Drive Jersey City, NJ 07305. (Look for the sign shown in picture),
Carefully paddle across the channel. (In Summer, be aware of larger boats and ski jets in the channel.) Pass east of the rock jetty and go into Caven Point Cove. In the Cove, you can experience the natural world at the edge of the busy New York Harbor. Observe small fish and underwater crustaceans. Watch for migrating sandpipers, plovers and dowitchers on the shoreline.
Driving directions: Take the NJ Turnpike to Exit 14 B, follow the signs to Liberty State Park. Car-top launch is located off the middle of the south side of the Administration Building Parking Lot. High tide is the best time to go. Do not go to the motor boat launch at the entrance of the park. You will be fined for leaving your car in that lot. It is for boat trailors.
Liberty State Park
200 Morris Pesin Road, Jersey City, NJ 07305
Phone: (201) 915-3402
Mill Creek Marsh, Secaucus City Park:
An autumn trip on Mill Creek Marsh in Secaucus gives you an opportunity to see numerous migrating ducks and Northern Harrier hawks. No need to worry about fast-paced motor boats if you take the canoe trail into the marsh. Or be daring and head out onto the Hackensack River for the wide-open spaces.
Driving Directions: Take NJ Turnpike to Exit 16E to Paterson Plank Road, turn left, then go right on Franklin to Gillis Street, turn left then right on to Koelle Blvd which wraps around Schmidts Woods and becomes Mill Ridge Road. Take Mill Ridge Road out to Mill Creek Point.
Laurel Hill Hudson County Park:
Town of Secaucus Municipal Government Center
Phone: 201 330-2000
1203 Paterson Plank Road
Secaucus, N. J. 07094-3287
Recreation Director: (201) 330-2079
Laurel Hill Hudson County Park:
At Laurel Hill, the Hackensack Riverkeeper offers pontoon boat rides along with rentals of canoes and kayaks, including safety equipment. You can join a paddling tour or you can get a map from the Riverkeeper office at the park and explore the wildlife area for nature’s hidden treasures. From the boat ramp, paddle southwest across the Hackensack River to the mouth of Sawmill Creek Wildlife Management Area. The best time to go is during high tide when the tidal mudflats fill with water giving a greater opportunity to explore the marsh. This is a location where you can paddle for hours, but keep an eye on the tides and return as the water level lowers. On the Hackensack River, look eastward at the Empire State Building and all of Manhattan. Compare your workweek with your weekend entertainment on the water. Paddling the wildlife area puts life into perspective.
Hackensack Riverkeeper, Inc.
231 Main Street
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Driving Directions: Take NJ Turnpike to Exit 15X to New County Road and follow the signs to the park.
NEWEST LAUNCH SITE! See photos to right. 16th Street, DiDomenico Park, Bayonne NJ. Located on the south side of the boat launch parking lot. (No need to use the motor boat site to the west). Easy access to the water. If you arrive at low side there's plenty of beach. See photo at right.
Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse
Join experienced paddlers in Hoboken where you can learn the strokes for a great trip onto the Hudson River. Rent kayaks and do the Hudson.
Hoboken Cove Community Boathouse
The Jersey City Reservoir
This is the place where children learn kayaking in Hudson County. In the Reservoir’s shallow waters basic techniques are demonstrated to teach water safety.
Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance
P.O. Box 7833
Jersey City, NJ 07307
Driving Directions: Located in Jersey City Heights between Central and Summit Avenues. Public Transportation: NJT #88 Kennedy Blvd and walk up hill or the #87 to Summit Avenue.
Patricia Hilliard launching her kayak into Mill Creek Marsh.
What it's Like: Kayaking In Newark Bay, from 25th Street Ahern Stadium park to Rutkowski beach, Bayonne, New Jersey
September 23, 2010: The tide was high at 8:30 a.m., but we didn't get the kayaks into the water until 9:30. The water was mild with some red algae floating along the shoreline. At first we had to paddle into a light breeze that stirred up some small waves. There were only a few tug boats moving, no ski jets and no yachts. The swells created by the tug boats were fun to ride. On the way back, the wind was gone and the water was like glass. We had the whole harbor to ourselves. By 12:30 p.m. we pushed ashore at the south end of Ahern Park. We were ready for lunch. Good thing we took plenty of water, the sun was still strong for September.
Above and below: 16th Street DiDomenico Park, Bayonne NJ. Kayak launch site off Newark Bay.