Piermont is a cool little town. It sits on the southwestern edge of the Tappan Zee, the wide spot on the Hudson River that forms a sort of a quasi-lake near the NY/NJ border.
It has cool restaurants and shops, a bunch of expensive new condos and marinas full of fancy boats. But it also has neighborhoods filled with charming little houses and people who have lived there since long before the hipsters arrived.
The pier that gives the town its name is now a park where people can walk out and enjoy the views up and down the Hudson. It’s location and ambiance makes it a destination for road bikers from the city on summer weekends. People love Piermont; pretty much all people.
I love Piermont too but not for its restaurants or it’s charm. For me it’s just the closest spot to my home to get my kayak into the Hudson. It’s not a bad spot to paddle either. Piermont Marsh and Sparkill Creek offer a measure of protection from the waves and winds. The paddling there is gentle enough that the guy who rents kayaks also offers row boats and canoes. From the marsh you can turn south and make your way down to the New Jersey shore or paddle out past the pier to turn north towards the bridge.
Over the years I’ve probably explored every inch of this part of the river but until now, always did so solo. Somehow, I’d never brought Junior to paddle around Piermont. Piermont was the spot where I could put in, get a workout and be back to whatever I was supposed to be doing.
This weekend, I finally got around to showing Junior the waters around Piermont. There are a few different places where you can launch. We used a secret locals’ spot that put us into the marsh and made our way out to the river. Paddling along the southern side of the pier was easy going. Lots of people were out walking and biking. It was a typical weekend afternoon.
We pushed out into the Hudson. The narrowing of the river by the pier always make the water right there a little choppy and Junior wasn’t happy that I led him into. We made it around the end of the pier and paddled back toward town on the north side. This side of the pier is more exposed then the south side.
It was a bit wavy but not too bad, just some gentle rollers being pushed southward across the Tappan Zee by light winds. We explored the marinas and checked out the dockside restaurants. After poking around I suggested heading back. The return trip was smooth. We were back in the quiet of the marsh in no time at all.
I would have shown Junior the upper bits of Sparkill Creek but high tide prevented us from making our way under a bridge. When the water is lower you can paddle pretty far upstream. The high tide also complicates landing at the locals’ spot but I managed to get out of my boat without capsizing. I pulled Junior’s bow up onto shore so he could get out more easily. In no time I’d retrieved my truck, we loaded the kayaks onto the roof and we were on our way home.
We were on the water over two hours and the whole thing, door-to-door, took us less then half a day. For adventure in your backyard, paddling the Hudson never fails to satisfy. It’s nice having such a valuable resource so close to home.
15 comments on “Piermont Marsh Kayak”
We were up on Lake Eerie and Ontario this weekend – tempted to do some paddling now considering that we love the water – unfrozen too.
Know this area very well. How was the boat traffic? I recall once on the Upper Hudson – by New Baltimore – hauling tail to get out of the path of a HUGE barge. Scared us big time.
Great story, please keep sharing more of these, Brownski. I’d like to get back into a kayak one of these days. When I’ve been on the water the last few years, it’s been via canoe. Barges would scare the living daylights out of me… whenever I cross the Tappan Zee, it seems there’s a lot of boat traffic. Pleasure boats as well as work boats.
Sounds fun and very close to home for me. Would you recommend it for stand up.paddle or too choppy?
There is a lot of commercial traffic on the Hudson but the shipping channel runs up the east side of the river here so it’s easy to stay out of its way. There is plenty of pleasure boat traffic but you see them north of the pier or out in deeper water mostly. The marsh area is a great spot for family paddling though. Even when it’s choppy out on the big Hudson, the marsh and the shallow waters close to it are somewhat sheltered. There are lots of little channels to explore in the marsh. This area should be good for SUPs too I would think. The rental outfit has a dock right on Sparkill Creek and last I knew he would let you launch your own boat for a small fee. Another good option for SUPs is Croton Bay, further north and on the other side of the river. We did a post about it last year.
Sounds great….added to my list of places to check out. Though I’ve never done Piermont Marsh I have done the Croton River and Constitution Marsh near Cold Spring. Both offer great paddling for kayak and SUP.
way to get out there and also share this experiences with the brood. it’s so cool, and hopefully by putting in the effort now they’ll be loading your boat up in no time just down the road. cheers
Ha! Hopefully you’re right ML.
Skiwnw, and the Albas; I should have also mentioned Annsville Creek, just north of Peekskill. Easy parking, a dock launch and rentals and a good quiet water paddle.
Brownski, I stopped in to Industrial Arts after running in Harriman today. I wish my local was this good. A most excellent recommendation.
That’s awesome Peter. They’re nice people there. I’m very happy to see them doing as good as they are.
Hey Brownski happy to say I was able to check out the marsh this weekend. I put my SUP in near the boat rental on the creek and made my way out to the pier to check out the sites. Having limited time and no leash or flotation device to speak of I decided not to push my luck and made it a short trip. Question for my next outing..looking at a map of the area it seems Crumkill Creek may have an opening at the mouth of the Sparkill that winds through the marsh and again out to the Hudson. Not having much time I explored this a bit, but didn’t venture too far. Is this indeed continuous? Would tide be a factor? Also wondering how far up the creek past the rental shop you can go and is it worth checking out? Any info is greatly appreciated!
That is very cool, skiwnw. I believe the Creek only has the one entrance. The marsh has lots of little inlets to explore but you mostly have to come back out the same way you go in. It is worth paddling upstream when you can get under the bridge but it doesn’t go all that far before you come to a little dam and you some times feel like you’re paddling in peoples’ backyards. It’s still fun though.
I live in Piermont and recently bought a kayak. I have been putting the boat in at Parelli Park, but would love to know where exactly I can put it into the marsh. I do not see anything that isn’t someone’s private property. Help?
Been a while but I remember putting in near the kayak rental shop. I parked on the street and found an opening just off the road, closer to the Hudson.
Where is the actual launch in Piermont?
Parelli park has a public launch. There’s easy parking there.
I’m reluctant to share secrets too freely. Stop by the kayak rental business and chat up the owner for local knowledge.