Paddling Irondequoit Creek – Ellison Park to Irondequoit Bay

Paddling down the swamp section of Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Paddling down the swamp section of Irondequoit Creek

Last fall, I had the opportunity to kayak down Irondequoit Creek.  It was fun, not too hard (as creeks in the Rochester area go), and we got to see quite a bit of flora and fauna along the way.  It’s also fairly peaceful, though you’re rarely out of hearing of traffic on nearby roads and highways.  We did the paddle as a shuttle trip between Ellison Park and Irondequoit Bay (LaSalles Landing Park), but there’s no reason you couldn’t do an out and back.

Quick Stats

Round Trip Length: 3.8 miles Trail Type: Shuttle Elevation Gain: N/A Pets: Leashed Fees: None

The bank where we launched our kayaks in Ellison Park, Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
The bank where we launched our kayaks

There’s no official kayak or canoe launch in Ellison Park.  We scrambled down to the creek near the Old Meadow Shelter.  It wasn’t ideal, and the banks were pretty muddy, but there wasn’t much in the way of brush and you can get to the creek here – which is unusual; much of Irondequoit Creek in Ellison Park has very steep brush-covered banks.

Paddling downstream to the bridge in Ellison Park.  We put in just upstream of the bridge.  Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Paddling downstream to the bridge in Ellison Park. We put in just upstream of the bridge.

We launched just upstream of the bridge and began our float downstream.  You’re passing through the park for a good distance, so you’ll see glimpses of picnic pavilions and trails through the brush along the river.  There are a few snags to navigate, but it’s generally clear enough and deep enough for pretty easy paddling.  I know a couple who did it in a 17ft. Grumman canoe, so it should be fine for both kayaks and canoes.

Paddling through Ellison Park on Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Paddling through Ellison Park

Pass under Browncroft Blvd about mile 1.4.  After this, the sound of cars diminishes as you head into the swamp with Tyron Park on the left (west) and Lucien Morin Park on the right (east).

Reflections in a wide area of Irondequoit Creek, Ellison Park, Rochester, New York
Reflections in a wide area of Irondequoit Creek

About a mile downstream from Browncroft Blvd, you’ll come to a place where two arms of Irondequoit Creek reconnect.  As both arms flow through Ellison Park, you technically could have come down either arm; however, we came down the western channel which is deeper in Ellison Park.  (The canoe trip came down the other channel, so that is passable, too.)  The channel you just came down is marked by a sign telling that there is a 5ft. width limit ahead.  It looks a bit out of place in the middle of a swamp, but I guess that’s what adventures are made of!

The sign at the junction of the two branches of Irondeqouit Creek, Rochester, New York
The sign at the junction of the two branches of Irondeqouit Creek

Continue left (downstream/north) into the swamp proper.  We saw quite a few wildflowers and ducks after this.  Go in the early morning and paddle quietly to see waterfowl and possibly other creatures that live near water.

Ducks in Irondequoit Creek, Ellison Park, Rochester, New York
Ducks in Irondequoit Creek

After twisting and turning amongst the reeds for quite a while in a fairly wide channel, you’ll come to Empire Blvd about mile 3.75.  There are kayak rental companies here, so you may see more people out in watercraft.  We met an entire school class out on the water trying dutifully to paddle their way upstream – in reality, it was hilarity and chaos, but most of the kids were having a great time!

Kayakers in the lower reaches of Irondequoit Creek, Lucien Morin Park, Rochester, New York
Kayakers in the lower reaches of Irondequoit Creek

We continued another tenth of a mile out to the mouth of Irondequoit Creek and pulled up at the boat ramp in La Salle’s Landing Park.  There weren’t restrooms, but we sat on the concrete wall and ate a snack.  We also continued out into Irondequoit Bay, but that’s a topic for another post!

Pulling up at the boat launch in La Salle Landing at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek at Irondequoit Bay, Rochester, New York
Pulling up at the boat launch in La Salle Landing at the mouth of Irondequoit Creek

Trip Length: 3.85 mile shuttle or you can do it as an out & back of whatever length you choose

Elevation Gain: So little it’s hardly worth mentioning.  There is a current, but it’s not strong.

Facilities: Restrooms and picnic facilities in Ellison Park; restaurants and kayak rental companies near La Salle’s Landing Park.

Fees: None

Purple Loosestrife flowers in the swamp along Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Purple Loosestrife flowers in the swamp

Trail Notes: Don’t forget bug spray.  If you’re doing this in the opposite direction, be sure to take the middle channel (right and then left) after passing under Empire Blvd – it’s not quite so hard to know which way to go if you’re coming downstream.  There is a current, but it’s not strong unless there has been quite a bit of rain recently.

Paddling through the swamp between Tyron Park and Lucien Morin Park in Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Paddling through the swamp

Trail ★

Road ★

Signs ★

Scenery ★

Would I go 100 miles out of my way for this? ★

Overall Rating: ★

Approaching the junction of the two branches of Irondequoit Creek - and the sign - Tyron Park and Lucien Morin Park, Rochester, New York
Approaching the junction of the two branches of Irondequoit Creek – and the sign

GPS Coordinates for Irondequoit Creek

Launching Place near Old Meadow Shelter: 43.149169,-77.513990 (43°08.95014′, -077°30.83940′ / 43°08’57.0084″, -077°30’50.3640″) (249ft.) (0.0)

Browncroft Blvd: 43.157371,-77.527246 (43°09.44226′, -077°31.63476′ / 43°09’26.5356″, -077°31’38.0856″) (246ft.) (1.44)

Creek Junction: 43.166308,-77.532005 (43°09.97848′, -077°31.92030′ / 43°09’58.7088″, -077°31’55.2180″) (245ft.) (2.47)

Empire Blvd: 43.176153,-77.526572 (43°10.56918′, -077°31.59432′ / 43°10’34.1508″, -077°31’35.6592″) (245ft.) (3.75)

La Salle’s Landing Park Ramp: 43.176665, -77.525730 (43°10.59990′, -077°31.54380′ / 43°10’35.9940″, -077°31’32.6280″) (245ft.) (3.85)

True Forget-me-not flowers in the swamp along Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
True Forget-me-not flowers

The gpx file for paddling Irondequoit Creek can be downloaded – please note that this and the GPS Coordinates are for reference only and should not be used as a sole resource when hiking this trail.

Download GPX File size: 50.8 KB Downloaded 3 times

(Note: I do my best to ensure that all downloads, the webpage, etc. are virus-free and accurate; however, I cannot be held responsible for any damage that might result, including but not limited to loss of data, damages to hardware, harm to users, from use of files, information, etc. from this website.  Thanks!)

Looking up the mouth of Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Looking up the mouth of Irondequoit Creek

Getting to Irondequoit Creek

To get to Ellison Park, from NY-590, take Exit 6 toward Blossom Road.  Turn east at the bottom of the exit ramp (left if coming from NY-590S (Webster, Irondequoit) and right if coming from NY-590N (the can of worms, Rochester, Victory, etc.).  After 1.3 miles, turn left into Ellison Park just after passing the parking area for the Dog Park and just before the road crosses Irondequoit Creek.  (The park road crosses Blossom Road at this point – you want to turn left (north), although there are possibly places to put in if you go into the southern section of the park.)

A duck near Irondequoit Bay, Rochester, New York
A duck near Irondequoit Bay

Drive north until you cross Irondequoit Creek; this is where you want to put in, but sadly there’s no parking here.  To park, you can continue on the road and then turn right to a small parking area or else you can go back down the park road to a rather large parking area.  Either way, you’ll be carrying your craft 200-300 feet to the water.

Thistles in the swamp along Irondequoit Creek, Rochester, New York
Thistles in the swamp

To get to La Salle’s Landing, from NY-590, take Exit 8 toward Empire Blvd.  Turn east at the bottom of the exit ramp (left if coming from NY-590S (Webster, Irondequoit) and right if coming from NY-590N (the can of worms, Rochester, Victory, etc.).  At the bottom of the hill, about 0.8 miles later, cross over the bridge over Irondequoit Creek.  Take an immediate left into the small parking area with the sign indicating La Salle’s Landing Park.

Visual trail map and elevation profile (minus all of the spikes!) for Irondequoit Creek between Ellison Park and Irondequoit Bay, Rochester, New York
Visual trail map and elevation profile (minus all of the spikes!) for Irondequoit Creek between Ellison Park and Irondequoit Bay

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