Kayaking Rivers in Ohio
Paddle the River
By Moneen McBride
In 2021 many of us will be still looking for ways to get together safely with friends and family for a little fun. Well, you don’t need to look any further than northeastern Ohio for great urban kayaking. Plan a staycation in northeast Ohio and paddle the Cuyahoga River or Mahoning River this summer. It’s as easy as visiting the website PaddleTheRiver.com, booking your trip, and showing up ready to paddle. The staff will handle the rest.
My husband, Brad McBride, sparked the idea of starting a kayak rental business in Cuyahoga Falls in 2015. This endeavor was fitting since Brad grew up living on the Cuyahoga River, we exchanged our wedding vows along the river, and subsequently purchased our first home on the river. We are more than business owners; we are a family of river advocates and community leaders.
Since the inception of Paddle the River in 2015, our mission has been to spread the joy of our local rivers and the great outdoors to everyone. We have expanded over the last six years from the middle section of the Cuyahoga River (Burning River Adventures), to the upper Mahoning River (Mahoning River Adventures), and now in 2021 to the Merriam Valley of the Cuyahoga River (Cuyahoga Valley Adventures).
All locations provide knowledgeable staff, well-maintained equipment and Jackson Kayaks to enjoy paddling down the river. The individual areas offer their own unique experience with an abundance of wildlife ranging from fish, birds, ducks, blue herons, beavers, deer, muskrat, river otters, and bald eagles, just to name a few.
Burning River Adventures, on the middle section of the Cuyahoga River, was founded in 2015 after the dams on the Cuyahoga River were removed allowing the water to become a free-flowing river (minus two remaining dams at that time). On this section of the river, there are three different trip offerings: Short Trip (2 miles), Middle Trip (4.5 miles) and Long Trip (6.5 miles).
The short trip is a perfect flat-water adventure for beginners, families with smaller children or if you’re limited on time. The middle and long trips allow you to paddle through two Class I rapids that are easy to navigate, but add a little thrill to your paddle. All of these trips meet at the boat launch in Water Works Park located at 2025 Munroe Falls Avenue in Cuyahoga Falls.
Located on the upper section of the Mahoning River, Mahoning River Adventures was founded in 2018 in partnership with the Trumbull County Metro Parks to bring kayaking back to the community. The Mahoning River is a delightful, easy paddle for all skill levels. They currently have two trip offerings: Short Trip (3.66 miles) and Long Trip (11 miles).
These excursions traverse the Mahoning River from the Newton Falls 1st Street Dam to the Leavittsburg Dam. Mahoning River trips meet at Canoe City Metro Park at 75 North Leavitt Road NW, Leavittsburg.
Our newest adventure location, Cuyahoga Valley Adventures, will open on Memorial Day, 2021. Located on the Merriam Valley section of the Cuyahoga River, it brings the paddling opportunity to an area that is already filled with recreational facilities. At opening, their only trip will be seven miles long. After further development of river access is created, more trips will be offered.
Cuyahoga Valley Adventures trips will meet at 1590 Akron Peninsula Road in Akron. This section of the Cuyahoga River is full of bends and curves which provide a different paddling experience, rocky beaches to stop for stretching your legs, and plentiful wildlife!
Burning River Adventures and Mahoning River Adventures offer Kayaking and Yoga Adventure trips which include some yoga prior to paddling and additional yoga when returning to land. There is also a Guided Beginner Rapids trip which runs through some Class II rapids. Skills required for this trip will depend on water depth at the time.
All trips are scheduled online, with rental agreements and waivers available for completion prior to arrival. Paddlers are instructed to arrive at their specific meeting place 30 minutes prior to departure time.
Each paddler is provided a boat, life jacket, and paddle, as well as transportation to their launch area. Paddlers and their belongings will more than likely get wet, so it is advisable to prepare in advance for that. In addition, all rental equipment is completely sanitized after use and paddlers are requested to remain socially distant from others, even on the water.
Upon arrival at your specific location, you will check in and attend a short, informational review about how to paddle and what to expect on the river, as well as information regarding your specific takeout area. You will then board a shuttle vehicle and head to the start area for your paddle. As a part of current COVID-19 guidelines, shuttle vehicles are limited to ten passengers per trip.
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to kayak the Cuyahoga River and Mahoning River this Summer. You will become addicted to paddling once you do!
Kayaking Rivers in Ohio