About the water trail

The Canandaigua Lake Water Trail Vision

The Canandaigua Lake Water Trail is a series of public access sites focused on enriching non-motorized boating on Canandaigua Lake. The Water Trail features launching sites for paddlers to put in and take out their boats, along with destinations sites for paddlers to stop, rest and explore. To help paddlers plan their trip, these launch and destination sites are organized into itineraries that can be customized to serve paddlers at various skill levels and accommodate various trip lengths. Paddlers can also plan their own trip using information for individual access sites and paddling distance tables. The Water Trail Action Plan is the guiding document for development of the Canandaigua Lake Water Trail, including short-term implementation and long term enhancement and expansion. This plan was developed with numerous partners and with input from paddling groups and a stakeholder meeting.

Goals for the Water Trail

  • Organize existing launch sites and destination sites across Canandaigua Lake into a cohesive water trail for use by non-motorized boaters.
  • Establish new launch sites and destination points to reduce travel distances between sites and increase use of natural and cultural points of interest.
  • Identify emergency take-out sites for boater safety.
  • Establish a management, education and public involvement framework for the Canandaigua Lake Water Trail, which addresses the 7 best management practices required by the National Park Service’s National Water Trails System

Water Trail Partners

The Canandaigua Lake Water Trail Action Plan is the result of collaboration among many organizations and groups.  Support from these groups is imperative for implementation of this project.  Major partners for the Canandaigua Lake Water Trail include:

  • Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council – This is an inter-municipal agency of the 14 watershed and water purveying municipalities.  The Council works to protect water quality in the lake and ensures the lake is a community asset.  The Council will help coordinate the Water Trail Action Plan and assist in obtaining grant funding for implementation of the plan.
  • National Park Service – The National Park Service has provided invaluable guidance on this Action Plan and took the lead on site assessments for existing access sites.
  • Finger Lakes Visitors Connection – This is the tourism agency for the Finger Lakes Region and will play a vital role in helping to create branding and marketing the water trail.
  • Canandaigua Lake Watershed Association – This is a citizen’s advocacy group on Canandaigua Lake.  They have played an essential role in paddler education and have provided input to the plan from their membership.
  • New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Ontario County Sheriff’s Department and Yates County Sheriff’s Department – these governmental agencies have the role of enforcing regulations on the lake and play an important role in protecting boater safety.
  • Finger Lakes Land Trust – This organization has provided access to multiple properties and has also provided insights for recreational opportunities around the lake.
  • Trail User Groups – These stakeholders provided invaluable input on conditions at access sites and on the water. The L.L. Bean Discovery School, Canandaigua Sailboarding, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Genesee Valley Chapter, and the Indoor and Outdoor Sports and Recreation Meetup each utilize Canandaigua Lake for paddling in different ways and their insight helped guide this document.

Melissa Buchanan, CLWA Photo Contest



For water trail information contact:
Canandaigua Lake Watershed Council
205 Saltonstall Street
Canandaigua, NY 14424
Phone: 585.396.3630 (Fax) 585.396.5002
Email: klo@canandaiguanewyork.gov

For tourism information contact:
Finger Lakes Visitors Connection
25 Gorham Street

Canandaigua, NY 14424
Phone: 877-FUN-IN-NY (877) 386-4669
Email: info@visitfingerlakes.com