Sycamore Creek - Keller Rd to Camp Livingston Park

Sycamore Creek, Ohio, US


Keller Rd to Camp Livingston Park

Usual Difficulty II-III(IV) (for normal flows)
Length 1.5 Miles
Avg. Gradient 70 fpm
Max Gradient 90 fpm

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
O'Bannon Creek near Loveland OH
usgs-03244936 4000 - 10000 cfs II-III(IV) 00h29m ~ 138 cfs (too low)

River Description

One thing to note about this run is that I wouldn't go with a large number of people.  It is important to keep a low profile on this run.  Per other paddlers, they've been harrassed by the Indian Hill Rangers while attempting to put on/run this creek.  This is description is based off of one run and we didn't encounter any issues with the police when we ran the creek.

There is no gauge for this creek that I know of - just visually look at it to see if it's running.  It's a lot steeper than it looks from the road and most of the bigger stuff is well hidden from view.  We put on at Keller Rd because there was easy parking and access.  Upstream of Keller, the creek is very small and wood is probably a much bigger problem - in fact, just upstream of our put-in was a tree that blocked almost the entire river.

When we put on, Polk Run in Loveland, OH looked like it was too high and O'Bannon Creek was at 7000+ cfs.  This looked like it was on the low side, but still had enoough water to get down.  This creek drops very quickly and we encountered a little scrapage throughout our run.

The run starts out with a couple small ledgey style rapids that are easily moved around by following the main flow.  Be prepared to set up safety almost immediately because the biggest drop is about to happen.  The drop is about an 8 foot (in total) horseshoe double drop falls.  The landing of the first drop is very shallow and at the bottom is a good sized hole.  We decided to walk this because there were just two of us, but there is video of people running it almost straight down the middle.  I think at certain times of the year (when branches aren't an issue) you could likely do a sliding boof off the left.

After that, you've got more boogie for a little while that leads to a 2-3 foot ledge (we ran it off the left).  The river starts to flatten out some here.  Soon, Raiders Run and North Sycamore Creek come in from the left and the river really picks up some volume.  Just before North Sycamore Creek enters, there's a bridge you paddle under and there is a nice (but likely very shallow) surf wave.  More funky water and then a couple bigger volume, Class II wave trains with some surfing and play potential.  The river flattened out from here (probably due to a back-up from the Little Miami River) and it was short paddle past a sewage treatment plant to our take-out and a short walk back to our car parked at the park.

I can't stress enough to keep a low profile here.  This is not a run for big groups - I'd probably keep my max number of people at 4.

Permit Information

No permit, accesses are both owned by the Village of Indian Hill with property on either side owned by Indian Hill and the railroad company.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-08-12 21:00:54


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.0Overview VideoN/APutin
0.1Sycamore FallsIVWaterfall
1.2Pipe DreamIIPlayspot

Rapid Descriptions

Overview Video (Class N/A)

Sycamore Falls (Class IV, Mile 0.1)

Double drop with a shallow landing zone after the first drop and a sticky hole at the bottom.  Left side is undercut concrete.

Just-A-Ledge (Class III, Mile 0.5)

2-3 foot ledge with large hole in the middle and lines on either side.

Pipe Dream (Class II, Mile 1.2)

Surf wave under the bridge at the confluence of North Sycamore Creek.  Lots of play potential here and downstream.

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