Todd Fork, Ohio, US
Middleboro Bridge to Morrow, Ohio
||I-II (for normal flows)
Todd ForkPhoto of Jay Williams and Tom Goad by Bob Ellstrom taken 03/15/06 @ 4 ft
At 1 ft to 3 ft on the painted Middleboro Bridge gauge (approx. 6 ft to 8.8 ft on the Little Miami
), Todd Fork is runnable in open
canoes and recreational kayaks. Some experience is recommended. This reach has relatively limited
access. Plan accordingly. Levels from 3 ft to 6 ft on the Middleboro Bridge gauge (approx. 8.8 ft
to 12 ft on the Little Miami
require a bit more skill, but are not unduly hazardous. Intermediate skills are suggested at these
levels and beyond.
Personal experiences floating Todd Fork in canoes and kayaks have all been safe and enjoyable. Todd
Fork is a fun river on which to learn to kayak or refine canoeing skills. Relatively frequent
rapids, some with technical merit (e.g., strainer avoidance, some maneuvering in rapids to avoid
rocks, etc.). Listed as class I-II. Some local outfitters put canoes on Todd Fork when the Little
Miami is too high.
Some rapids II+ in higher water due to maneuvering requirements and the possibility of unpleasantly
long swims. Two right turns where the main flow runs into banks river left closer to Morrow are
likely the most difficult features for novice boaters. These features are easily visible and sneak
routes are available on river right at higher water.
Several river-wide strainers encountered in September 2005 have all been repositioned by subsequent
rains. This reach was fully navigable as of October 6, 2006, with caution. Strainers existed, but
could generally be easily seen and avoided. Close to Morrow, one river left channel that has more
flow than the river right channel had two strainers in rapid succession. These strainers could not
be seen by boat scouting. A downed tree extended most of the way across river left side of the
river left channel, with a root ball taking up the river right third about twenty feet downstream.
Navigable with caution. The tree was duckable in a kayak at the 3 ft level, but not roomy enough
for a canoe. The river right channel has a choked entry that looks uninviting, but is clear
Many side channels that are only runnable at higher levels can not be river scouted and contain
blocking strainers at times. As of October 6, 2006, all side channels that could be entered were
clear. Nonetheless, large rains move large debris into and out of rapids. If you can not scout it,
you probably should not float it.
Numerous wave trains in the 3+ foot range open up at the 5 ft level (11 ft on the Little Miami
). They tend to be choppy. An
open canoe would likely take on a good bit of water and possibly (probably?) swamp at 5 ft. Routes
that avoided the larger waves were usually available. Flotation would be recommended in open boats
at river levels at or above 4 ft on the Middleboro bridge gauge. At 3 ft (approx. 8.8 ft on the
), the waves are fun, at
4 ft, they tend to wash out, and at 5 ft they come back bigger and better.
A late October, 2006 paddle in flood stage proved that Todd Fork can be run at levels as high as 11
to 12 feet on the Middleboro Bridge (estimated, not marked). Although possible, it can not be
recommended except for experienced boaters who fully recognize the risks of floating a flooded
river. At these levels, the current is extremely fast, and the river is out of its banks and
through the trees. One member of the party had a particularly harrowing swim. This reinforces
reports from other kayakers who have floated Todd Fork at similar levels who used words like
"crazy," "scary," and "stupid." Tree pins are the most likely hazard, and would tend to be
extremely hazardous and/or life-threatening due to the water speed and volume. As an aside, bridges
that normally seem well overhead are easily tapped with a paddle at this level.
Todd Fork has a very small drainage basin. That means it fills up to its peak flow quickly and runs
out of water equally quickly. It is also a fairly effortless paddle, with few pools. Even they tend
to keep moving due to the gradient. After heavy rains, the water will be highly sedimented, but
appears to be of otherwise good quality.
It is definitely a stream that you can't wait to float for a better day. If it is good today, it
probably will not be good tomorrow. At best it will be very different tomorrow than it is today. At
10 a.m. on April 15, 2006 a Cincypaddlers member posted that Todd Fork was too high to float at 7
ft and rising. That was a good cue to put the boats on top of the car and wait a few hours. Just
over four hours later, at 2:30 p.m., Todd Fork was at 5 ft and falling, and was a very enjoyable
If you are looking for something a little more challenging than the Little Miami
or Whitewater River
without being over the top,
Todd Fork is a good bet.
Todd Fork is also narrower, more technical and arguably prettier than the Great Miami River
. However, the Great Miami
has easier access at Blue Rock Road to good surfing and eddying, and tends to run much more
Todd Fork is not a playboater's paradise. Occasional surf opportunities exist. These can depend on
water level. Generally no eddy service is available for surf waves. If you hope to surf, you need
to see the wave coming and set up to catch it as you float down to it.
Todd Fork is a beautiful fast flowing stream that is highly overlooked. It is a great place to work
on slightly more advanced river running skills without being over most people's ability levels.
Watch for rain and plan accordingly.
The town of
is roughly 35 miles from the Ohio/Kentucky state line at Cincinnati. I-71 is a
convenient reference and/or way to get there. From the south, take I-71 to highway 123 (exit 32).
Head south on 123 until reaching the town of Morrow on highway 22.
To get to the
put-in, head northeast out of Morrow on highway 22 for about 4 miles. Turn
right (south) on Middleboro Road. The put-in is less than a mile at the bottom of the hill. Parking
is just enough for about one vehicle on either end of the bridge, on the upstream side. The actual
put-in on river right, just upstream of the bridge, can be a bit daunting at higher water, as it is
not in an eddy. You should probably have reasonable boat skills to be on this reach at higher water
The listed takeout in Morrow is river right, below the bicycle and pedestrian bridge in Morrow.
This is immediately prior to the confluence with the Little Miami River. Parking can be in the
parking lot adjacent to the police station at
150 E. Pike St. in Morrow
(ongoing permission verified) or at Little Miami Canoe Rental (ask
Alternately, takeout can be just past the bridge river left by parking along some undeveloped
in Morrow. Other Front Street takeouts are upriver on river left between the Citgo
station and the confluence of First Creek, approx. 1/2 mile off the highway. First Creek is another
popular local run, and I have observed boaters taking out at that confluence more than once.
Lastly, the stretch upstream of the Middleboro Bridge starting at
State Route 350 near Clarksville
, about one mile south of of highway 22, adds perhaps another 6
miles (unverified). A member of the Cincypaddlers Yahoo group reports having floated that reach to
the town of Morrow. Aerial photos of the stretch appear to show it unblocked. Verification of the
put-in at river right immediately downstream of the bridge (right of the road traveling south)
shows it to be a gravel and sand area that can hold several cars. The put-in at highway 350 looks
accommodating and fairly easy.
StreamTeam Status: Verified
Last Updated: 2006-12-23 07:50:57