This run has only one rapid of any interest to any but the most novice boaters, but the rapid is rather long and fun and the run is pretty quick. This run is ofen combined with a scenic trip down Rocky Fork, however Rocky Fork does not run as often.
The most common put in for this stretch is right below the dam at Paint Creek State Park. There are two class I ledges right next to the parking area that provide novices the opportunities the chance to practice eddy turns and warm up.
The next mile or so is totally flat. Once Rocky Fork creek enters on the right things start to pick up. The river drops gradually over wide shoals ending just above a bridge (Rapid Forge road). Look for a few play spots against the right shore. At higher levels some nice waves kick up.
Underneath the bridge there is a short pool or, at higher water, slower current. The river narrows slightly, goes over another shoaly area with a nice playspot, a few waves, then goes over a definite ledge drop - class 2. Good eddy on the right, fun or squirly eddy line, depending if you have a squirting mindset, on river left.
After this first "real" drop there is a short slack section (which disappears at higher water) leading to a midstream rock called "Turtle Rock". Water washes over the rock at 2000 cfs and it disappears at levels over 2500. Run either side of Turtle rock, but the right side is somewhat easier. Good eddies exist behind the rock and on river right.
Be sure to try the automatic power ferry across the right hand chute. This is a great place for newer boaters to practice ferrys across a jet of water. There are also a nice couple of playspots here. It is also easy to walk back up to this spot from the bottom of the rapids.
Below Turtle Rock is very fast current leading to the third drop. This is a ledge extending from the right shore 2/3 to 3/4 across the river. This ledge is trashy at low level and forms a very powerful hydraulic at higher levels. It is best avoided by taking the obvious line to the left. After the ledge is a fun wave train, then one can take out on the right and easily return back to Turtle Rock.
Most boaters take out on the roadside rest area (on Rt. 50) about 3/4 mile downsteam from the chutes. This rest area is no longer operated by the state but permission has been attained from the land owner to park on the creek side (north side) of the loop. Do not park on the inside of the loop.
Ther are two class 1 rapids that make good training spots at the put in.
The difficulty ranges from hard class II to big water calss III+ depending on water levels.
There is a river access point about 1/2 a mile below the Chutes on river right.
This is a small three foor ledge or waterfal it is a riverwide sliding drop with a vertical ledge on river left. The rapid is straightforward and easy at most water levels.
My family and I used two inflatable kayaks (Sea Eagle 330 and 370) to go from just below Barrett Mill dam on Rocky Fork to SR 41 on Paint Creek in Bainbridge. The flow on Rocky Fork was at 150 CFS during our entire run. At that flow I got stuck once in a 3-4 foot section and felt myself scrape over a rock about 5 other times. Paint Creek was at 390 CFS. Same as Rocky Fork, we got stuck a couple of times and hit a few rocks. I am sure my inflatable kayak and my 210 lbs has a deeper draft than most other kayaks. My wife’s boat rarely had any trouble. She and my youngest son did get stuck at the section labeled above as “Chutes (Class III, Mile 2.5)”. The flow on the left was fun with plenty of water but not enough water was flowing over the ledge and they missed the left. Luckily, they managed to wiggle over the ledge without getting dumped sideways. The ledge listed above as “Falls (Class III+, Mile 6.0)” was the most fun of the day and worth all the paddling in the couple of flat miles leading up to it. We used what was referred to as the “sneak line” on the right and it was clearly the biggest rapid of the day. We intended to use the Church parking as our take out location but they now have it gated. We instead took out on the South side and parked along the access road but very near SR 41 since there are a couple of houses at the end of the road. Once you approach the area one will notice a couple of spots along this section where fishermen have created trails down to the river. Taking out there would be a bit more trouble at higher water levels since the water is flowing fairly fast at the SR 41 bridge. Other than the fast flow near SR 41 the river only offers paddling after the 6 mile ledge for the next 1.5 miles.
The rapid below the Chutes is definitely not class 4. It is an easy 3 or hard 2.
Here's and update from the Cincypaddler Board regarding the takeout:
Ever since the announcement of the rest stop closure was announced, with the
ensuing concerns about access, Mike Rzesutock and I have been talking about what
actions to take to get a handle on the situation and take any necessary action
to ensure the site remains easily usable. In practice, I did 99% of the talking
and Mike handled 99% of the action.
The rest stop property is owned by an attorney, who Mike just spoke to:
He gave us permission to park at the old rest area. He does not own any land
inside the loop; he sold his half several weeks ago.He said as long as we park
on the creek (north) side of the loop we are good. The Ross Cty engineer said
that that is a public road so there's no problem there. However, they are
talking about closing the west end of the loop.
We owe Mike a big thanks for his etraordinary effort (and maybe a nice carbon
paddle). You can accomplish that by spreading the word about the situation.
5/1/2011 Had a lazy run down rocky fork as preparation for a solo trip down the chutes today and I got to second the prior post, definitely the biggest water I have ever seen in Ohio. It was running at 8.5’ huge standing / crashing waves, and quite pushy but big fun, definitely not for the novices. Turtle rock was 3 big waves (8’ to 10’) and Third drop looked like it had several options depending on how brave you are, but I ran the traditional line to the to the left to be safe because I didn’t have support.
Went down the chutes yesterday at 7.68ft. on the gauge. Was the most incredible whitewater I've seen in Ohio.A 4 to 6ft. surfable wave hole forms from the shoreline to Turtle Rock. About three forths of the river wide. The normal nasty pour over became a 7ft standing wave. Absolutly Awesome Park and play. I think it was really safer than normal, no exposed rock and deep water to flush through.
About 3 miles (approx) downstream of the chutes is a more significant rapid (class 3/4). Unfortunately both shorelines are private property and rumor has it that neither landowner is very paddler friendly so its a run as you see it or road scout the run. Sneak line is on the far right with a ledge drop on the left and a broken ledges pretty much all the way across the river.
7 years ago
by Bud Chavez
I don't know how the gauge at Bainbridge, above correlates at the top end yet, but have a pretty good idea that 3.05 is about 600 cfs total. The 5.75 maximum level is a conservative guess at this point. That is probably between 2500 and 3000 cfs. I will try to get some data points over time.
Usually Folks determine the cfs flowing through the chutes. 600 cfs is probably the minimum for most folks, while 3500 cfs is a suggested cut off. People do paddle above and below these flows.
You can get an indication from the USACE. Look for the Scioto basin, look for Paint Creek then check the Dam outflow.
The "Chutes" are just below the Rocky Fork confluence, so the Rocky Fork flow will contribute to the level in the chutes. The suggested levels reflect the combination of Rocky Fork and Dam outflow.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Small stuff at the put in
A Skilled Canoeist
Turtle Rock Play
We're Taking on Water
Tim showing off
Itty bitty wavetrain
Paint Creek Chutes, low water
The Scream Dude Chills
The Scream Dude Flushes
The Scream Dude Surfs!
Paint Creek Into
Paint Creek Chutes
If someone gets hurt on a river, or you read about a whitewater-related injury, please report it to
American Whitewater. Don't worry about multiple submissions from other witnesses, as our safety
editors will turn multiple witness reports into a single unified accident report.
Log into the American Whitewater website and you can contribute to river descriptions,
flow and access tips, and maps associated with runs you've done. You can even add new
runs to the inventory!