Zoar Valley: Full Canyon Paddle Trip
This is for kayakers with:
• Physical/Mental toughness
• Proper Equipment
Kayak (9-10mi) from intersection of Zoar Valley Road / North Otto Road Bridge and Cattaraugus Creek to Valentine Flats area and onto Gowanda. I want to take advantage of the warm(HOT) weather, while we have it. Paddle time is estimated to last about 4-5 hrs.
Zoar Valley is formed by the main and south branches of the Cattaraugus Creek, this natural boundary between Erie and Cattaraugus Counties consists of old-growth forest, overgrown pastures, open meadows, deep gorges, cliffs rising upwards to 400 feet above the creek bed, sparkling streams filled with salmon, steelhead and brown trout, and rippling water falls. The area often referred to as the wildest, most remote place in Western NY, offers nature at its best; from peaceful serenity to some of the best white water rapids in the country(this must have been from the Tourism Committee).
Meet at North Otto Bridge (36mi from Downtown Buffalo) at 9:00am.
Google Directions to Meetup Point from Buffalo
GPS Address: 10544 N Otto Rd Otto, NY
A shuttle vehicle will be provided at the conclusion of the paddle to transport you back to your vehicle.
The trip will be mostly paddling with some portages (that's why the rope). We should be paddling by 9:30am.
At the completion of the paddle (~2:00pm), we then proceed back to the North Otto Road bridge to recover the vehicles.
Afterwards we will proceed to the Wicked Glen in Gowanda for Wings and Beer arriving about 3:00pm.
High water (higher than 2.10ft on the Gowanda Stream Gauge) will make the route dangerous, so the paddle trip will be cancelled if significant rainfall occurs just prior to the date or the probability of heavy rain during the paddle.
Low Water (lower than 1.6ft on the Gowanda Stream Gauge) will make for too many portages.
I will not hesitate to cancel this trip if I feel that safety would be comprised. The water temperature of the creek on 8/4 at 2:00PM was 75deg.
This is not a paddle with an experienced guide that will stop and save your ass if you get into trouble. I will have enough to do hauling my own ass down this stream. Make sure you are physically and mentally able to accomplish this traverse and are prepared enough, if you are not able to complete the paddle in 6 hours and have to spend the night on the river.
Change of clothes/shoes to be left in the vehicle.
10ft of rope to attach to Kayak
Camera, Cell Phone
Basic Survival Gear / Zero Essential
Clothing in a water tight container to sustain an overnight stay.
The kayak you plan to use should be a recreational of 9-10ft. Touring kayaks will be destroyed, whitewater kayaks are too difficult to control on the upper region of the river. No sit-on-tops, no ocean kayaks. Although I have seen people run this section in canoes.
More info about Zoar Valley can be found at: WEBSITE
North Otto Bridge (From the Aug, 2011 Zoar Valley Float Trip)
In the Canyon
USGS Stream Gauge at Gowanda, New York