Cuyahoga, Ohio, US
|Usual Difficulty||I (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||8 fpm|
|Cuyahoga River at Old Portage OH|
|usgs-04206000||100 - 1000 cfs||I||31h16m||303 cfs (running)|
Not exactly a tough stretch of water (there are only a few Class-I rapids strewn in between the
flatwater stretches) for whitewater boats, but it's good for training. Some of the attainments
between Bolanz and Ira Rd. are excellent challenges, not feasible with short plastic boats. One
rapid, about 0.8 miles upstream of Bolanz, is a tough attainment at low levels. At 250 cfs and
under, it's danged near impossible, but there is a line. At 700 cfs, it's probably attainable
even in slow plastic boats. This rapid is named "The Wave" by StreamKeeper Chris Kiehl,
who is renowned for his creativity. The rapid below the Ira Road bridge, contrariwise, seems to
get easier as the water level drops. It's a toughie, even for fast glass boats, above 300
The only real hazards on this place (other than the water) are strainers. They're usually passable, but they often require care, especially for long boats.
There's evidence of what the strainers can do to longish canoes: half a canoe hull can be seen along the left bank, between Ira and Bolanz Roads.
Water quality is typical Cuyahoga: poor. It is getting better, though, and there's healthy bird life, as well as the occasional beaver and muskrat.
There's a huge Great Blue Heron rookery at Bath Road, between Akron-Peninsula and Riverview Roads. It has something like a hundred nesting pairs. There road crews have built a turnout, specifically for the convenience (and safety) of bird-gawkers. If you run this section, bring your binocs and spend a few minutes here.
Directions: to takeout: head for Rte. 303 in Peninsula. Park on the street, if you can; otherwise, use the putin parking lot for the Peninsula reach. For this stretch, I take out on river right, just before the Rte. 303 bridge in Peninsula.
To putin: head south on Riverview Rd. (river left) to Ira Road. Park in the nearby Towpath Trail parking lot.
Alternate putins: Bolanz Rd., 2.4 miles downstream of Ira; Bath Rd., 2 miles upstream of Ira.
Conservation Organization: check out the Friends of the Crooked River, who've been working on cleaning up the Cuyahoga and educating the public for 11 years.
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