Length of this section: 34 miles

Altitude drop over this section: 167 feet (this includes a considerable drop because of the Colliers dam)

This section is about 34 miles. My friend Jessie and I paddled it over a two day period. The first day we did 22 miles and got as far as WellsBridge NY. But we could have done much more. During the first leg (from Colliersville to Oneonta: 7 miles) my paddle broke. I used one half of it like a canoe paddle and once we arrived at Oneonta I had to find a place to buy a replacement. I was directed to Adventure Outfitters in Oneonta. I purchased two paddles; one for redundancy. We set out from the Colliersville fishing access around 10:15 and It took us about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach the dam at Oneonta, but wasted several hours to purchase the paddles and did not get back in the river until around 2:45 in the afternoon.

The second section: Oneonta to Wells Bridge is about 15 miles and we did it in about 3 hours and 45 minutes.
 The next day we did the section between Wells bridge and Sidney in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Milestones along the way:
1) Colliersville to Oneonta: 7 miles Just under two hours of Paddling
2) Oneonta to Wells Bridge: 15 miles
3) Wells bridge to Unadilla: 6 miles
4) Unadilla to Sidney: 6 miles
Total miles: 34
Total paddling time from Colliersville to Sidney: about 8 hours


 Jack Brubaker's book "Down The Susquehanna To The Chesapeake" does not mention much about this area. Except for a few interesting facts. The Collier's dam that forms Goodyear lake (previous section) has had a very positive effect downstream. Over the years, especially when people where not too concerned about the environment, a great deal of phosphorus from Cooperstown's effluent and barnyard runoff entered the river. But the dam kept the phosphorous on the upstream side and the water flowing downstream of the dam has been much cleaner and this section of the river has maintained more of its natural qualities over the years. Just below the dam the river still maintains its winding, creek-like quality. But, soon it begins to look like a major river.

  The river used to flow thru the city of Oneonta. But, an 1816 flood dumped massive loads of stone and mud into the river forcing it to change direction outward from the city

The Colliersville fishing access is located less than a quarter mile downstream from the Goodyear lake dam. This is a good place to re-enter the river or leave your car.  The river moves pretty swiftly in this area. mix of fast moving and calm water. It's a nice section as you get to experience some rapids.

It takes only a few minutes to reach the first bridge 

Second Bridge. Reached about 12 minutes after leaving Colliersville. this bridge is at the 30 mile mark
I know for sure it is the 30 mile mark because of this sign. Jessie and I did this section (Colliersville to Sidney) during the Memorial day weekend when the Cooperstown to Bainbridge kayak race takes place (about 75 miles). Volunteers place mile markers along the way.
This bridge is for Route 88 (a superhighway connecting the Albany NY area and Binghamton NY). Reached shortly after the first bridge
We reached this cabin 40 minutes after leaving Colliersville
reached the 4th bridge 50 minutes after leaving Colliersville
The Emmons fishing access area is also about 50 minutes from Colliersville
This Ford dealership sign is visible from the river as you approach the dam at Oneonta. 1 hour and ten minutes from Colliersville
The dam at Oneonta is visible in the distance. During summer there is little danger that you would be swept over the dam. But, it is very dangerous if the river is in flood. The portage is one the right hand side. There is a restaurant and Super 8 motel on the left side. If you should get out on the left side you can get back on the river about 100 yards below the dam right behind the Super 8. Reached this point at 1 hour and 40 minutes from Colliersville
After purchasing the paddles we reentered the river behind the Super 8 motel in Oneonta (around 2:45)Shortly after we come to the first bridge.

The section of river below Oneonta ran swift and we made good time. The section between Oneonta and Wells Bridge was punctuated with swift moving water, a few shallow areas were we scraped bottom, and some long stretches of flat water.

WARNING: my videos tend to be rapid-centric because they are more fun to watch. but the truth is that the majority of the time on the Susquehanna is spent paddling thru flat water.

41 mile marker. reached 20 minutes after leaving Oneonta 

This is the second bridge downriver from Oneonta. reached 20 minutes after setting off from Oneonta. My friend Jessie is in the yellow kayak. I was concerned if she could keep up with me, but it turned out that she pushed ahead of me most of the way and after stopping to take pictures I would have an awful time trying to catch up. I attributed this to the fact that I weigh a lot more than she and her kayak sits higher in the water and does not have to work as hard. What do you think? :-)


 We spotted our first Bald eagle about 40 minutes after setting off from Oneonta. From then on we saw several. at least three or four different ones before reaching Wells Bridge. Most of them would fly off to a tree further down streem as we approached, but this one let us get close (within about 50 yards). It appears that this one was feeding on a dead fish or some other carrion. I know it did not kill it as I saw it land and then just walk over to it.

4th bridge south of Oneonta. reached about 1 hour 10 minutes after setting off from Oneonta. 

Due to it being Memorial day weekend there was a lot of activity on the river. we saw many party tents set up on private property along the river. Here are two tents set up on a beach. 

Party tent. saw several that day. 

Kids catching crayfish.  

5th bridge. Reached  2 hours and 15 minutes after leaving Oneonta

52 mile mark (Otego NY). Reached  about 2 hours and 15 minutes after leaving Oneonta

The orange float is one of several relay markers. The relay race is held on the Sunday of labor day weekend, The big race is held on Memorial day. 

 Wells Bridge fishing access. this is a good exit or entrance point. I did not know of it and did not use it as a shuttle point. Instead we used the bridge at Wells bridge; further down stream. We reached this point 2 hours and 40 minutes after leaving Oneonta.

55 mile marker. Reached 3 hours and 20 minutes after leaving Oneonta 

Finally! the bridge at Wells Bridge. this is where we left one of the cars and it is where we ended for that day. we reached this point at 6:09pm. 3 hours and 24 minutes after setting off from Oneonta 

The old creamery at the bridge (Wells Bridge). Located on the right bank of the river. this is where we left one of the shuttle cars. there is a boat ramp there and easy access to the river. 

The next morning we set out from Wells Bridge at 8:45. This is a view from down stream of the bridges (there are two at Wells Bridge. one immediately after the other. The first one is a car bridge, the second is for railroad.

This photo shows the river just south of Wells Bridge. This section was also a mix of fast running current, shallow areas where we scraped bottom, and stretches of flat water. This was the last picture I could take with my camera as the battery ran dead prematurely. I used my cell phone for subsequent photos
Reached the first bridge one hour after leaving Wells Bridge
This is the bridge at Unadilla. We reached this point 1 hour and 25 minutes after leaving Wells Bridge. The Unadilla fishing access parking lot is just past the bridge on the left side of the river
The Unadilla fishing access parking lot is a nice place to leave your car or exit the river. Took us 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach it from Wells Bridge (6 miles from Wells Bridge)
The bridge at Sidney NY. We reached it 2 hours and 25 minutes after leaving Wells Bridge (12 miles from Wells Bridge).
 Sidney is a great stopping point. There is a large parking lot on the left side of the river and it is a safe place to leave your car. There is a drug store a shot distance from the bridge(CVS or some other major chain) where you can purchase drinks, snacks, etc.
65 mile mark affixed to the bridge in Sidney
NEXT SECTION: Sidney NY to Ouaquaga NY (24.5 miles) stay tuned.