This is a self-guided kayaking trip at Constitution Marsh in Garrison, New York. You can easily take Metro-North and do not need a personal vehicle for this trip. This itinerary is part of the Mappy Hour Pro Library, where we share weekly curated trip itineraries for local adventures for outdoorsy New Yorkers. If you’re looking for adventure ideas and adventure buddies to go outdoors with, join Mappy Hour Pro.

Trip Overview

  • Day Trip

    • Travel time: 1.5 hours each way by train

    • Adventure time: 5ish hours

  • Car-free

  • Required Personal Gear: none

  • Total Adventure Costs (TAC): $100

    • Kayak rental: $70/single kayak, $80/double kayak

    • Metro-North Ticket (round-trip): $30

The Trip

This trip balances being close to the city without being overly busy, and being active without being exhausting. There are two itineraries included here: the first is a shorter paddle for newer folks and the second, a longer paddle to a gorgeous waterfall. Both are fantastic.

Start by taking the train from Grand Central Terminal to Cold Spring



70 minutes from Grand Central Terminal

Plan Trip

Like many great adventurers, an early wake-up and piping hot coffee are required for this trip. Take the train at 8:45AM bound for Poughkeepsie, getting off at the Cold Spring stationYou’ll be on the train for about 1.5 hours and get off in a large parking lot next to the water.

The first challenge of the day is walking up a slightly steep hill to the kayak guides. It takes 7 minutes, you got this!

Walk from Cold Spring Station to Hudson River Expeditions

Hudson River Expeditions, rents everything from canoes to kayaks to stand-up paddle boards. We recommend kayaks, tandems if you have a paddling partner because it’s cheaper. They will also supply you with paddles, a map and life jackets. They have a locked room to keep any belongings you don’t want to bring with.

Take a quick paddling lesson

The team at Hudson River Expeditions not only carries your boats down to the water for you but also does a quick paddling lesson on shore, highlighting how to hold the paddle as well as basic strokes.

A kayaker on the shore of the Hudson River in Cold Spring
Kayaking on the Hudson. Photo by Sarah Knapp.

Paddle – Eat – Paddle

Route finding on this trip is fairly straight forward, the rental people will point you to the entrance of the marsh. Once you’ve entered, you’ll follow white buoys that mark the water trail. You’ll also have a printed map from HRE! As you weave your way through the marsh, don’t forget this is a bird sanctuary so keep your eyes peeled for ospreys and bald eagles.

Timing wise, it’ll take about 2.5 hours to reach the landing for the waterfall. Dock your boats on the shore (aka pull them onto land so they don’t float away) and walk to the beautiful falls and small swimming hole beneath it. Find a comfy log to sit on as you eat lunch.

The paddle back is the same route as out, enjoy the leisurely day on the water and the absolutely gorgeous views.

A group of kayakers on the open water in front of marsh grass and mountains in the distance
Photo by Sarah Knapp.

A late afternoon in Cold Spring

Bring a change of clothing and head into town after your paddle for the world’s most famous ice cream or a quick empanada.

To Do List

  1. Call Hudson River Expeditions and make a reservation for your kayak of choice: 845.809.5935

  2. Download the Metro-North eTix app so you can easily purchase train tickets

  3. Use our packing list so you’re prepared

  4. Always double check the weather ahead of time!

What to Pack:

Water shoes, water bottle, waterproof phone case and more kayaking essentials
Photo by Sarah Knapp.

  1. Hat

  2. Sunscreen

  3. Sunglasses and croakies

  4. Reusable water bottle

  5. Waterproof case for your phone if you’re planning on bringing it

  6. Water shoes. Note: this does not mean flip flops, you need shoes that will stay on your feet especially as you’re coming in and out of the kayak. Tevas, Chacos & Keen are well known and reputable for high quality. You can always wear sneakers if you don’t have water shoes.

  7. We usually wear a bathing suit with a t-shirt and shorts for hot days on the water. Keep those shoulders covered!

  8. Change of clothing and towel

  9. Lunch

  10. Backpack or bag you don’t mind getting wet

  11. Have questions about what to pack or need recommendations on gear? Ask in the Mappy Hour Forum.