Four Mile Creek - Bonham Rd to Darrtown Rd

Four Mile Creek, Ohio, US


Bonham Rd to Darrtown Rd

Usual Difficulty II(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 6.64 Miles
Avg. Gradient 13 fpm
Max Gradient 13 fpm

Ledges Rapid

Ledges Rapid
Photo by Scott Puthoff taken 11/26/12

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Sevenmile Creek at Camden OH
usgs-03272700 4.00 - 8.00 ft II(IV) 00h23m ~ 5.01 ft (running)
This is an estimate and needs to be worked out. Both the low and high end are SWAGs. Will update as more information comes available. Gauge is not for reach, but is a tributary of Four Mile. Per local boater, this can accurately reflect if Four Mile is running.

River Description

This scenic Class II run flows out of Houston Woods Lake, through Oxford, OH. The run is generally strainer-avoiding Class II, but does have a couple nice surf spots. The Ledges section is almost 1/4 mile in length and has plenty of diagonal ledges for surfing. While most are catch on the fly, several at the bottom do have eddy service on river right.

There are two broken low-head dams on the run. The first is almost immediately after the put-in and should be portaged. It can be run EXTREME river right, but the slot is small and any mistake could have bad consequences. The second dam was altered by ODNR to allow passage, and is best run on river left. The water is very shallow and the hole at the bottom is more bark than bite. You can miss both low head dams by putting in at putting in 1.2 miles downstream at the Oxford Trenton Road Bridge.

This section of river is generally only runnable after heavy rains or sustained periods of moderate rain. It will usually hold adequate flow for a day or two, depending on the amount of rain. The dam upstream no longer has a releasable gate, thus operates as a spillway (passing flow of river at all times).

The listed gauge is for Sevenmile Creek, which should give an accurate indication of whether Four Mile is running. The low and high end of the guage readings are still be worked out (as of the updating of the page, October 23, 2016). I'm fairly confident on the low end, but the high end may be really raging, so use your judgement when you get to the river. Expect Class III (or higher) at high water due to flood conditions.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-08-28 12:55:00


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.2Low Head DamIVPortage Waterfall
1.0Broken DamIIPhoto
1.2Oxford Trenton Road BridgeN/AAccess
2.6Lonely Surf HoleIIPlayspot Photo
4.8Lanes Mill Bridge LedgesIIPlayspot Photo
6.8Darrtown Rd Bridge Take-OutN/ATakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Put-In (Class N/A)

Put-in on the downstream side of the bridge

Low Head Dam (Class IV, Mile 0.2)

This low-head dam should be portaged. It's not a big drop, however (as with most man-made structures) the boil-line is very uniform. It has been run EXTREME river right, along the right bank where there is a break in the dam. However, if you go over in the wrong spot, or fail to punch through and paddle out, you will be caught in the recirculation!

Be safe and walk it!

Broken Dam (Class II, Mile 1.0)

Broken Dam Rapid

Broken Dam Rapid
Photo by Scott Puthoff taken 11/26/12

Run on river left.  It's shallow and the hole at the bottom is easily punched.

Oxford Trenton Road Bridge (Class N/A, Mile 1.2)

You can avoid both dams upstream by putting-in here. All the fun without the danger! There is a little feeder stream that you put-in at near the parking lot which is on the upstream side of the bridge.

Lonely Surf Hole (Class II, Mile 2.6)

Lonely Surf Hole

Lonely Surf Hole
Photo by Scott Puthoff taken 11/26/12

Nice surfing hole (near nothing in particular), with decent eddy service, good for spins and side surfing.

Lanes Mill Bridge Ledges (Class II, Mile 4.8)

Big Wave

Big Wave
Photo by Scott Puthoff taken 11/26/12

The Lanes Mill Road Bridge is the signal that you are about to enter a section of maybe 6-8 diagonal holes over almost a 1/4 mile of river.  Some are better for surfing than others.  The ones at the bottom have some eddy service. There is parking at the bridge, and the river is roadside through this stretch, so these could be done as a park-and-play.

Darrtown Rd Bridge Take-Out (Class N/A, Mile 6.8)

Take-out on river-left at the bridge.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
June 23 2013 (2037 days ago)
JazzzBlue (155599)
I have run 4-mile creek several times this spring. A few addendums to the wonderful write-up
already posted. 1 - The first low head dam can be run, but do not go to the extreme right. There's
about a 20 foot section at the far right edge that is passable, but do not go all the way to the
right, go all the way to the left of the 20' opening, and you can push straight through. If you go
all the way right, you'll have to turn 90' left to avoid a tree, which can be done, but it's
difficult. There's currently a low hanging branch (with thorns, UGH!) immediately in front of the
perfect channel to go over, but it can be pushed up & out of the way with your kayak paddle easily.
Once through the dam rapids, immediately head left to avoid being hung on the rocks when the water
level is down. 2 - The second "broken dam" has the best channel about 1/3 of the way out from the
left edge. The lip of the concrete slope is lowest there and will prevent a drop off, and you can
sail right through after sliding/grinding down the concrete incline. 3 - Right before the Lane's
Mill bridge, there's a 90' bend to the left where the runnoff from the gully that follows lane's
mill road enters 4-mile. There is a VERY large & nasty tree pile here with serious undercurrents
that could easily hurt someone. Stay to the extreme left and it's easily passable, but right next
to the trees, it's quite treacherous/dangerous. The best part of this run is definitely from lane's
mill to darrtown road. The rapids through here from the ledges make it a lot of fun. All in all if
you put in behind Yeager Stadium (easier to put in than the Bonham road bridge by far) and go to
Darrtown Road, it's about a 3 hour run. From the Lane's Mill to Darrtown road, it's about 40m or so
if you want to cal at that point for a pickup. If you do want a longer run, start in Hueston Woods
on the south edge of the loop, and you can put in there for a leisurely 3 hours to make it a full
day trip of about 6 hours total in moderate water depth. There is one spot about 1/2 mile or so in
from here with trees across the river that you have to portage around on a rock bank, but other
than shallow areas, there's nothing in the way of obstacles til you get to the dams after Bonham
road. Also, there are a LOT of no trespassing signs on the upriver section posted everywhere. Stay
in your boat and be respectful of private property. I've never had an encounter with a landowner in
this area, so I do not know how they would react.