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Howland Island

Kayaks ready for launch on the shore of the Erie Canal just across the canal from Howland Island, New York.


Howland Island is located in the Cayuga County Town of Montezuma on the border of the Town of Savannah in Wayne County. (This is important because there are only two land access points to Howland Island--one from Savannah and the other from Montezuma.)


Howland Island is just northeast of Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge and is operated under the name Northern Montezuma Wildlife Management Area by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

About Howland Island

Howland Island was not always an island. When the Erie Canal was created, the Seneca River flowed in a large loop. In order to avoid traveling that loop, a more-or-less straight "cut" was dug through the land. This cut lopped off the land and made Howland Island.


At one time, motorized vehicles were allowed on the island. But today, the two access points are closed to vehicular traffic, though the island is used for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and horse-back riding. At certain times of the year, it is considered a good place to watch birds and photograph plants.


Howland Island has two launch sites--one on the Seneca River (accessed from the west) and one on the Erie Canal (accessed from the east). Many boaters like to paddle around the three islands--Hog, Howland, and Haiti. This is a trip of about 9 mi./14.4 km. Motorboaters should not attempt this as the Seneca River side of the islands is not deep enough.


Carncross Road-Town of Savannah, Wayne County (from the west)

From the intersection of State Routes 31 and 89 in Savannah, continue north on Route 89 about .5 mi./.8 km. to Savannah Spring Lake Road. Follow this road east until it intersects with Carncross Road. Carncross will be a dirt road. Follow it to the gate. There is a small parking area there. The road continues onto the island and acts as something of a dam, preventing the river from flowing freely at this point. You can launch to either the north or the south. Hand launch only. No amenities. Brochure.


The launch site into the Seneca River at the end of Carncross Road. Howland Island is the area with the trees.

Howland Island Bridge-Town of Montezuma, Cayuga County (from the east)

The bridge can be accessed by taking State Route 31 to State Route 38. Turn north. Go a short ways to Howland Island Road (sometimes listed as Yellow Schoolhouse Road on topographical maps). Turn west and follow this road until it ends at the bridge. There is a path to the shore just to the right of the bridge. Hand launch only. This is a popular launch site despite the fact that it has no amenities. There is no parking lot, so most people park along the road. (See photo at the top of the page.)

Water Level

Streamflow Conditions

Recreational Activities on the Island

The island has about 7 mi./11 km. of well-defined roads and not so well-defined trails. These roads and trails are not marked or named, so it would be wise to carry a map or GPS, so as not to become confused.


Howland Island Area map

Howland Island Trail Map


Some of Howland Island is cattails and other water-tolerant plants, some of the island is woods, but a good portion of the island is planted in corn. The road was created by farm machinery.

Nearby Places of Interest

Cayuga Lake wineries

Montezuma Audubon Center



There are no bed and breakfasts nearby, but there are a number of bed and breakfasts in Seneca Falls.


Cayuga Marina and Campground

6721 River Rd.

Cayuga, NY 13034



Hejamada Family RV Park

McDonald Rd.

Montezuma, NY 13117



Twin Oaks Campground

Fire Lane 14

Cayuga, NY 13034



Eagle View Cabin

2850 Armitage Rd.

Savannah, NY 13146



Created 4 October 2009








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