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Our Tour Program

Our Tour program provides fun, educational experiences that will create and strengthen connections to our Western New York waters and will empower community members to be water advocates.

Joining Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper for a kayaking experience is not an average tour – it is a guided educational experience where participants will learn water safety skills, paddle skills, and ecological knowledge! Join us at our Kayak Classroom.
>>>> If no tour dates are listed, download a guide below for a self-guided experience or consider requesting a Custom Program. <<<<<
Interested in Private Tours? View our Custom Programs page

Kayak Classroom Guides

Hyde Park Lake
Lower Niagara River
Niagara & Little Niagara rivers
Cayuga Creek & Little Niagara
Maps, Trails & Paddles: Niagara River & Niagara Gorge Map
Download the Map
Do your best to avoid injury and the need of a rescue by only paddling in water and conditions that you are familiar and comfortable with. Wear a well fitted personal flotation device, be aware of changing weather conditions and let someone know when and where you are planning to paddle.

Really great paddle tour with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper. They are so knowledgeable about the waterways and the wildlife that inhabit them. I learn something new every time I go on one of the tours. It makes you feel more invested and engaged as a citizen when you realize how fragile our water systems are. Tours with Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper are one of my favorite ways to spend the summer.

Tour Participant

Meet Our Tour Guides

All kayak tours are led by two American Canoe Association Certified Kayak Instructors.

Elizabeth Cute


Charles Oddo


Emily Root

Ecological Programs Director

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be sure to read our Tour Policy and FAQ below before registering for a tour. It is incredibly important to give prior notice if you can no longer attend a tour you have registered for.
Once you register, mark your calendar and contact Brittni Anderson if your plans change at or 716-852-7483 ext 12.

River Tours Policy

Participant Requirements

Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. All participants are responsible for wearing appropriate clothing for the weather conditions, proper foot attire, bringing water, food, and any needed medicine or medical devices for themselves or children.

  • Kayak Tour – All participants for a paddle tour must be 12-years-old or older. Participants under the age of 16 must ride in a tandem kayak with a parent or guardian over the age of 18. All participants are required to attend paddling safety training session before launch, and wear a PFD with a whistle attached to it.  PFDs with attached whistles can be provided by Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper at no extra charge.
  • Walking/Snowshoe/Hiking – Participants of all ages are welcome. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Event Policy

No alcohol, drug use, or smoking by any tour staff or participant is allowed during any tour. Children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Pets are not permitted on kayak tours. Certified service animals are permitted on other tours. Individual guests may be barred from participating in a tour at the discretion of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper staff.

Cancellation Policy

  • Kayak Tour – Will be cancelled if the combined air and water temperate is under 120 degrees Fahrenheit, winds are above 25 mph, 50% or greater chance of thunderstorms, when a Small Craft Advisory is in effect for Lakes Erie or Ontario, if a Combined Sewer Overflow event has occurred directly upstream or along the tour route in the last 24 hours, or cancelled/shortened at the discretion of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper staff.
  • All other tours will be canceled if there is a 50% or greater chance of thunderstorms or canceled/shortened at the discretion of Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper staff.

Frequently Asked Questions

Registration is full for the tour I want to attend. Can I get on a waiting list?

For safety reasons, equipment limitations, and to ensure a fun time, Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper limits the number of participants on each tour. Prior registration is required for all tours! If you would like to be on a wait list, you can email Brittni:

Do I have to provide my own kayak, life vest, or paddle?

No! We can provide kayak, life vest, and paddle. However, if you have your own, you can also bring yours. When you register you will be asked if you will need a BNW kayak or if you will bring your own. If you need a kayak but not a life vest or paddle, you will just select BNW kayak and bring your other supplies with you the day of.

Who can participate on a tour?

Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • Kayak Tour – All participants for a kayak tour must be 12-years-old or older. Participants under the age of 16 must ride in a tandem kayak with a parent or guardian over the age of 18. Participants must be in adequate physical health to include (but not limited to) carrying a kayak with assistance, bending and crouching to enter the kayak, balancing oneself in a kayak, and being able to paddle at a leisurely pace for 2 hours.
  • Snowshoe/Hiking/Biking Tours – Participants of all ages are welcome. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

What skill level do I need before going on a kayak tour?

None! Our tours are a great way for beginners to get accustomed to outdoor recreational activities. We offer a skills and safety training before kayak tours, as well as guidance while on the water. Some tours are labeled as extended tours and beginners are welcome on these tours as well but should know prior to the tour if they are comfortable being on the water for at least 3 hours.

What should I wear or bring to a tour?

Please wear comfortable and appropriate clothing for the weather and outdoor recreation. Tours will still occur in light rain or snow, so be sure to have clothing that can match the conditions. Please bring ample water, as dehydration is a serious risk during any season.

  • Kayak Tour – Clothing materials that dry easily are preferred as you will get some drips and splashes from your paddle strokes.  Footwear should be either water shoes, water boots, or sneakers/sandals you do not mind getting wet.  NO FLIP FLOPS.
  • Walking/Snowshoe/Hiking Tours – Please wear appropriate footwear based on the weather and activity (Snow boots, hiking boots, sneakers).

Where are the Bike Tours? What happened to them?

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper did at one point offer bike tours and can still provide them upon request through our custom program service. However, because of low turnout we have removed them from our regular schedule. We may host special bike tour events in the future.

Can I bring my pet on a tour?

Pets are not permitted on kayak tours. Certified service animals are permitted on other tours.

What should I do before a tour?

Make sure you have registered and received a confirmation email. Make sure to check your email the day before the tour. We will contact you before the tour and provide important information about the site, directions, and other important information. The initial email has your confirmation and information about the tour site. Read the email and follow the instructions and you’ll be fine!

What should I expect when I arrive?

You will be greeted by our wonderful staff that will check you in and process your waiver form.

  • Kayak Tour – You’ll then be fitted with a PFD, paddle, and assigned a kayak, unless you are bringing your own boat.  We will help you adjust your foot rests on land so you don’t need to fuss with them while on the water. Once the full group has arrived, we will circle up and go do a brief introduction, safety training, as well as paddle stroke demonstrations to help you before you get on the water. Then, we bring our kayaks to the launch site and get everyone in. All participants must attend the safety briefing at the beginning of the tour even if you have been paddling for years. We’re finally on the water!
  • Snowshoe Tour – If renting a pair of our snowshoes, you’ll then be assigned your pair. We are there to help adjust foot straps if needed!

What should I expect during the tour?

Your tour leader will set the pace as they lead the group to cool places along the waterway. We’ll stop occasionally along the tour to talk about the theme for the tour and our surroundings. Some tours may also feature guest speakers for additional information. Please bring questions and we will do our best to answer them!

  • Kayak Tour –  The safety paddler will stay in the back to keep an eye on everyone.  An intern will be floating in the middle to assist further.  All staff and interns will be available to help you with any questions you have and to assist with paddling skills. The tour will begin to head back at a reasonable time so that everyone is able to exit the water and bring the boats to shore by the ending time.

What should I expect after the tour?

An exhilarating rush of love for our waterways and exercise!  (We hope.)  We asked that everyone help us bring their rented equipment (kayaks and snowshoes) near our van (with assistance) and return any other equipment (paddles and PFDs).  After that, the night/day is still young, so feel free to go where the night/day takes you (local restaurant, event or venue, sleep, etc.). Support local!

How long are the tours and how fast do we have to paddle/walk?

The tours range from 2-3 hours and the exact length can be found on the registration. The pace will be set by the tour leader based on participants experience level but in general it’s a leisurely pace because the tours are meant to be a learning opportunity more than a workout.

The meeting location is not a street address. Can you give me the street address for my GPS?

Kayak Launch sites often do not have street addresses or a nearby street address, but we will provide an address when we can. We always provide either an address, directions, and/or a google maps link. If you have a smart phone, just open the confirmation email on your phone. Then, click the Google Maps link and navigate.

Do I need to fill out a waiver before the tour?

No, we will have a sign-in sheet and waivers on site to fill out.

Can I bring a canoe on a Kayak Tour?

No. BNW staff are certified kayak instructors and tour guides. Currently our staff do not have the skills to lead canoe tours.