Fall Getaways: Kayaking Trips

September 17, 2008
by Sarah Amandolare
This autumn, take a break from your car and try sliding into a kayak. With cool breezes wafting across wide-open water, and colorful leaves decorating the banks of rivers and lakes, there’s no better way to soak up the season. We’ve rounded up a few noteworthy places to kayak in different regions of the United States, from a serene East Coast lake, to Michigan’s turquoise cove, to rushing rapids in the Pacific Northwest.

The Peak of the Peep

Kayaking while “leaf-peeping” adds a new element to the sport, but different regions have different peak times. In New England, color builds from North to South, beginning at the border of Canada and Maine in late September. Midway through October, the color reaches the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains in New York State and Massachusetts.

The U.S. Forest Service has regional and state-by-state guides to fall foliage, and even a fall color hotline to help you figure out the best time to visit your destination.

Aside from capturing the most vivid leaves in your fall photographs, autumn weather demands that you have the right layers of clothing and gear, explains A combination of waterproof, splash proof and warm clothes will do, and a “float plan,” to keep others informed of your whereabouts, is also wise.

New Hampshire Kayaking

At New Hampshire’s Echo Lake, an autumn kayaking trip can be just as relaxing as a meandering Sunday drive. Edged by cliffs, the spring-fed lake’s glassy surface shows reflections of surrounding colorful trees, while in the distance, Mt. Lafayette is visible.

Kayaking in Michigan

Kayaking and canoeing are popular on Michigan’s lakes, each having its own intriguing wildlife. In the fall, the trees encircling School Lake turn shades of saffron, while Lake Michigan is an endless expanse of blue in photos provided by the U.S. National Parks Service.

The water of Michigan’s Pictured Rocks is so vividly turquoise that it calls to mind Capri, Italy. But this rustic and rocky shoreline, edged by fervent foliage in the fall, has an identity all its own. Set near the small harbor town of Munising, the Pictured Rocks area is thick with forest and ideal for autumn kayaking, particularly around the graceful curves of Miner’s Castle.

A Web shots gallery features photos of a kayaker enjoying Pictured Rocks’ sea caves.

Kayaking the Pacific Northwest

Among the five adventurous Pacific Northwest kayak routes explained by is a trek through Clark and Strawberry Islands in Washington State’s San Juan Islands. The area is a meeting of two worlds: towering mansions atop bluffs overlook rip tides “of monster proportions.” Seattle is not far from the route starting point.

Oregon Kayaking provides photographs and descriptions of multiple routes through rivers, creeks and waterfalls, including the ultimate route for experienced kayakers, the Salmon River Canyon, referred to by some as the Mount Everest of Oregon Kayaking. Although Oregon is more Sitka Spruce and pine than maple or oak, the state’s unmatched clean, crisp air compensates for the lack of foliage.

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