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Canoeing & Kayaking

190 Lord Stirling Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ
908 722-1200 Ext. 5002   EEC Home Page


Pre-registration is required for all programs. Registration for October programs is available online beginning 9:00am on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Online registration ends 24 hours prior to the start of a program. Pending availability, enrollment may still be possible by calling 908-722-1200 Ext. 5002.

Masks are required inside county buildings regardless of vaccination status and are encouraged in crowded outdoor settings when social distancing is not possible. Do not attend a program if you are not feeling well, are exhibiting any symptoms of COVID-19, have been in close contact of a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19, or have traveled internationally in the last 14 days.

Pre-registration is required for all programs. For more information, contact Naturalist Monica Juhasz @ 908 722-1200 ext. 5328 or


Canoeing and Kayaking Programs
The Somerset County Park Commission offers a variety of canoeing and kayaking opportunities to stimulate awareness and understanding of the environment, build an appreciation of New Jersey waterways, and promote interest in canoeing and kayaking.

Come enjoy fantastic times on the water with our enthusiastic, experienced Naturalist as your guide. Your paddling memories will be sure to last a lifetime!

All canoeing and kayaking programs are designed for adults and families. Children must be at least seven years old to participate in canoe programs and at least ten years old to participate in kayak programs. An adult must accompany children under the age of 15. Attendance of introductory programs is mandatory and required prior to participating in canoe or kayak trips. Participants must attend at least one river trip per season/calendar year to avoid retaking the introductory classes. All equipment will be provided.

(All Ages, 7 and older)
After a “splashing” time at this introductory canoe class, you will learn the basic paddling techniques, safety aspects of canoeing, and handling a canoe in and out of the water. Each canoe can accommodate two paddlers and a child passenger. Classes take place on Branta Pond at the Environmental Education Center.
$14 per person
Activity Number: 50350

(All Ages, 10 and older)
This introductory kayaking class will teach you the basic paddling techniques, safety aspects of kayaking, and handling a kayak in and out of the water. During the pool session, you will learn how to successfully wet exit your kayak and practice getting in and out of the kayak from the pool deck, as well as the water. Please wear a bathing suit, bring a towel, and be prepared to get completely wet at the pool. Participants will use solo kayaks. Pool classes will take place at Warrenbrook Pool (WBP) and pond classes will take place on Branta Pond at the Environmental Education Center (EEC).
$25 per person
Activity Number: 50448

(All Ages, 7 and older)
Would you like to learn how to canoe with a group of family and friends? Or maybe you would like to focus on a specific canoeing skill, paddling technique or learn something new? Private two-hour sessions can be arranged for a minimum of four participants and a maximum of 14 participants. Instruction will take place on Branta Pond at the Environmental Education Center. Please contact our group booking coordinator or 908-722-1200 ext. 5332 to schedule a date.
$25 per person

Trips will be for both canoes and kayaks together (Canyak). Trips are intended for beginner to intermediate paddlers. Prior participation in one of our CAN-U-CANNU or KAN-U-KAYAK classes is required. Boats, equipment, and leadership are provided. Participants are welcome to bring their own equipment, at their own risk; however, there is no reduction in price. A review of basic canoeing and/or kayaking techniques and river safety begins each trip, then onto the water for an exciting educational experience. All return times are approximate. Duration and degree of difficulty of the trips are listed in ascending order and river trips are also rated using the system below. Due to possible low water conditions, there may be cancellations. Trips will run unless dangerous or threatening weather occurs in which participants will be notified in a timely manner.

Please read and review the following considerations PRIOR to registering for a river trip:

Please wear appropriate paddling clothing that can get wet and/or dirty - non-cotton, synthetic, quick-drying fabrics are best. Please also wear proper foot attire – closed-toed shoes that are attached to your foot. Flip flops, clogs, slides, and slip-ons are NOT allowed!

We reserve the right to deny a participant entry into a program if we deem the participant is not physically fit, does not match the skill level of the program or is ill-prepared. A participant will be turned away the day of the trip if the criteria listed here are not met.

It is the participant’s responsibility to consult the ratings listed below for each trip and match their skills accordingly. Come expecting to get wet on all trips!


A. Good for beginners and families
B. Must negotiate some easy river turns
C. A few portages
D. Continual paddling for several hours
E. Must negotiate many quick river turns
F. Must paddle in open water & be able to handle wind, waves, tide
G. Prior wet exit with a skirt required
H. Must handle easy whitewater rapids and negotiate rocks
I. Danger – cold water! Please bring a full change of clothes in a waterproof bag.
J. Half day or less trip – please bring snack, drink, towel and full change of clothes
    (including underwear, socks, shoes)
K. Full day trip – please bring lunch, snacks, drink, towel and full change of clothes
    (including underwear, socks, shoes)
L. Will stop for ice cream on our return to the EEC
M. Prior participation in at least two, 4-miles or less river trips
N. Prior participation in CAN-U-CANNU? or KAN-U-KAYAK? class

Paddle Practice
1 mile           Rating: A, F, J, N
Improve your paddling skills by practicing on Branta Pond – remember; practice makes perfect or at least progress! This will be a super fun session and you will be amazed at how much better and more comfortable you will feel after these two hours.
$20 per person
Activity Number: 51489

Canyak-26    Wednesday, September 29
Canyak-27    Sunday, October 10
Canyak-28    Thursday, October 28

Moonlight Paddle
2 miles           Rating: A, B, C, J, N
Enjoy the water after dark as we paddle our canoes or kayaks by the light of the full moon! Find out what the Great Swamp sounds and feels like once the sun has set. Perhaps we will hear owls or see bats. Bring a flashlight or headlamp if you have one. Participants will meet at Fisherman’s Parking Lot in Lord Stirling Park, Basking Ridge, NJ.
$20 per person
Activity Number: 50407
   Monday, September 20
Canyak-17    Wednesday, October 20

Sunrise Paddle
2 miles        Rating: A, B, C, J, N
Rise and shine! Start your day with a quiet paddle on the Passaic River. See swamp sights before the day gets busy. This paddle will help you get centered for beginning your day! Participants will meet at Fisherman’s Parking Lot in Lord Stirling Park.
$20 per person
Activity Number: 51491

Canyak-41   Tuesday, September 28
Canyak-43   Thursday, October 14
Canyak-44   Wednesday, October 27

Passaic Paddle
3 miles         Rating: A, B, C, J, N
The Passaic River winds through the Great Swamp basin, flowing through floodplain forest, and many unique wetland habitats. Paddle this gentle river, home to turtles, herons, frogs, and fish. Participants will meet at Fisherman’s Parking Lot in Lord Stirling Park.
$30 per person
Activity Number: 50756

Canyak-23    Thursday, September 16
Canyak-24    Sunday, September 26
Canyak-25    Thursday, October 7
Canyak-26    Sunday, October 24

Delaware & Raritan Canal Paddle
4 miles            Rating: A, D, J, N
Quiet, peaceful and still, the D & R Canal is an ideal place for a relaxing paddle. Cruising along, enjoy the sights and sounds the waterway has to offer. Participants will meet at Parking Lot F at Colonial Park.
$60 per person
Activity Number: 50757

Canyak-91     Sunday, September 19
Canyak-92     Thursday, September 30
Canyak-93     Sunday, October 17

Spooky Scary Paddle!!
4 miles Rating: A, D, J, N
Celebrate and enjoy this Halloween by boat! Paddle along the quiet and lazy D&R Canal and enjoy the fall scenery. Choose your time of day and get ready for a chilling experience! Bring some Halloween goodies to “trick-or-treat” with and dress up yourself or your boat if you dare! Participants will meet in Parking Lot F at Colonial Park, 156 Mettlers Road, Somerset, NJ.
$20 per person
Activity Number: 50746
   Sunday, October 31
Canyak-09     Sunday, October 31
Canyak-10     Sunday, October 31

Public Programs
    • January Programs
    • February Programs
    • March Programs
    • April Programs
    • May Programs
    • June Programs
    • July Programs
    • August Programs
    • September Programs
    • October Programs
    • November Programs
    • December Programs
Specialty Programs
    • Birding
    • Birthday Parties
    • Canoe & Kayak
    • Cross Country Skiing
    • Family Program Series
    • Forest Fitness
    • Garden Discovery
    • Libraries, Senior Centers &
      Other Groups
    • Maple Sugaring
    • Other Day Trips & Overnight Trips
    • Scouts
    • Summer Camps
    • Workshops

School Programs
    • Field Trips
    • In School Programs
    • Biomimicry Programs
    • School Program Guide
Trips & Outings
    • Birding
    • Canoe & Kayak
    • Garden Discovery
    • Other Day Trips & Overnight Trips
    • 1770s Festival
    • By the Light of the Moon
    • Live Animal Show
    • County Caper
    • Events
    • Family Program Series
    • Festival of Trees
    • Swamp Search
    • Temporary Exhibits
Program Calendars
Calendar (PDF)
Trails & Facilities
    • Room Rentals 
    • Auditorium
    • Biomimicry STEM Lab
    • Discovery Room
    • Pond View Room
    • The Tree House
    • EEC Brochure
    • Gift Shop/Library
    • The Great Swamp Experience
    • Temporary Exhibits
    • Trail Map

  Volunteers are needed and appreciated throughout the year. Please contact
Gretchen Rotondo at 908 722-1200 ext.5323 or email your completed application and waiver to

Volunteer Application for Adult
Volunteer Application for Minor
   Volunteer Waiver for Adults
   Volunteer Waiver for Minors/Dependents

Corporate Volunteer Groups please contact Daniel Ross at 908 722-1200 ext.5336 or


Hours & Directions
Building Hours: Sun. 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri. 1pm-5pm, Sat. closed
Exhibits close at 4:30pm.
Registration is accepted 9am-4:30pm daily
The building is closed on Holidays.
Trails are open dawn to dusk daily but closed on Deer Management days as scheduled.

 Click here for Directions
Donations & Sponsorship

Donations are gladly accepted.
Please make checks payable to:
The Somerset County Park Commission
and mail to Carrie Springer,
190 Lord Stirling Road
Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Support Packet

Ask A Naturalist


Have a question about a plant or animal species you saw in Lord Stirling Park or northern New Jersey?

One of our naturalists can help you! Complete the form and an EEC staff member will do their best to solve your nature mysteries!

On-line Registration