Tinker's Creek - Pleasant Valley (Town of Bedford) to Tinker's reservation

Tinker's Creek, Ohio, US


Pleasant Valley (Town of Bedford) to Tinker's reservation

Usual Difficulty IV-V (for normal flows)
Length 4.65 Miles
Avg. Gradient 50 fpm
Max Gradient 120 fpm

Tinker's Falls

Tinker's Falls
Photo of Ratt Boy running Tinker's Falls by Ron Whitney (KHCC) taken 9/1996 @ 0.5 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Tinkers Creek at Bedford OH
usgs-04207200 400 - 1000 cfs IV-V 13h28m 158 cfs (too low)

River Description

Runnable after heavy rain. Technical and playful, this is some of the funnest stuff in Ohio when it's running.
AW Article from 5-6/1999, with pictures
Careful on this crick; there are pinning spots and strainers in unpredictable places.
Important: the park rangers are very polite and friendly. They won't give you a hard time if your boat is registered in Ohoho. If you aren't registered, they can deny you access. Registration is a dumb idea, in this humble StreamKeeper's opinion, but it's only $15 bucks for three years. If it prevents a hassle at the putin for the best whitewater in Ohio, it's well worth it.

Directions: to putin: From I-271, take the Exit 23 (Route 14, Broadway Ave). Head West (left, if you're coming from the South) at the light. At the third light on Broadway (Union Ave., 0.5 mi. from I-271), bear right to stay on Broadway. Another half a mile down, take a right onto the park road just after the brick road. Pull into the parking area. If you get to the lights at Union Street, you've gone too far.

To takeout: cross Broadway Ave (onto Egbert Road). The road twists a little, then intersects with Union Street. Cross Union, and take the next Right at the sign saying "Park Entrance, Bedford Reservation" onto Gorge Parkway. Follow this road as it twists and turns around. Don't drive too fast!, especially on that downhill that's marked as 20 MPH. Just before the T intersection with Dunham Road, pull off and park on the right.
Alternate takeout: just before the Canal Road structure upstream of the Ohio Canal. Make sure that you scout this takeout carefully, because you don't want to blunder into the structure. There's a good eddy-beach on river right. To get there, cross Dunham Road and head down Tinker's Creek Road on river right. Hang a left onto Canal Road. This takeout is not preferred, because it adds a couple of miles of flatwater in the floodplain. I've done it once, out of curiosity, and I'm in no hurry to do it again.

To the gauge: On Broadway, continue past the putin road. Take a Left onto Taylor Road. (If you get to the lights at Union St., you've gone too far.) Cross Union Street and park in the lot at the Moonglow Cafe. You can see the gauge clearly through the trees from this parking lot. Stop in at the Moonglow for a beer if you haven't breathed your fill of secondhand cigarette smoke lately.

For historical / local info, check out Tinker's Creek Viaduct Park.

Fun Fact: There are lots of deer here. Many have a mottled "piebald" coat.

Fun Fact II: The First Descent of Tinker's Creek, as near as this author can determine, was by Keelhaulers Chuck Singer and Jon Reising in February, 1972. Because of the Tunnel, and all the strainers, they never ran it again. Tinker's main pioneers were probably Craig and Brian Homberg and Jim and Jeff Snyder, also in the 1970's.

Other related nearby streams:
Lower Cuyahoga (Class I-II)
Lower Cuyahoga Gorge (Class III)
Upper Cuyahoga Gorge (Class V)
Chagrin River, Aurora Branch (Class III-IV)
Chagrin River (Class I)
Chagrin River, East Branch (Class II)

Conservation Organization: check out the Friends of the Crooked River, who've been working on cleaning up the Cuyahoga (and its tributaries) and educating the public for 11 years.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2016-12-30 11:31:08


Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
0.8Tinker's Falls5.1Portage Hazard Waterfall Photo
0.9The TunnelIII+Photo
1.0Tight SlotzIV+Hazard

Rapid Descriptions

Tinker's Falls (Class 5.1, Mile 0.8)

Tinker's Falls

Tinker's Falls
Photo of Ratt Boy running Tinker's Falls by Ron Whitney (KHCC) taken 9/1996 @ 0.5 ft

A waterfall that's an honest 20+ feet, and which lands on rocks if you're not online (hard to see what is "online" from above). I'd much rather run Big Splat than this badboy.

Lat/longitude coords of the rapids are from online maps, not GPS.

The Tunnel (Class III+, Mile 0.9)

The Tunnel

The Tunnel
Photo of Brent Laubaugh emerging from the Tunnel by Matt Muir (KHCC) taken 01/21/99 @ 0.5 ft

Probably only II difficulty, but Class-V fun! This viaduct was built ca. 1890 to support a railroad bridge. The Tunnel is 512 feet long, 20 feet high and 40 feet wide; it takes a bend to the left halfway through, so there's no straight path for light to the end. Better stay upright through the reflection waves in there, as it's pretty shallow. It gets a bit dark, and it slopes downhill, so you're accelerating all the way. When you emerge, you face a steep water slide, shoving you inexorably into a huge wall-o-water hole. This is the fastest you'll have been in a kayak, if you haven't run Oceana. Luckily for you, the hole isn't a keeper. It might flip you as it spits you out; but it will spit you out.

Tight Slotz (Class IV+, Mile 1.0)

There's some narrow, technical stuff here, and the water gets fast, especially at high water. If you can make the tough ferry, river-left is easier; otherwise, hold your line and your brace through a boof before you head left. Be prepared to read holes on the fly, and be on the alert for strainers! There's been a vicious river-wide, double-tree strainer at the end of this rapid since 1997. Luckily, weather keeps making this tree combo a little less dangerous.

Rockpile (Class IV, Mile 1.1)
After catching an eddy after Tight Slotz, set up to run Rockpile. The river-left line is practically trivially easy, but it's bony at low water. The river-right line is a short S-turn off a steep slotty ledge, with the risk of backendering you into a rock wall. Big fun!...as long as the slot doesn't have a brand-new log jammed into it. Good-sized eddies sit at the end of this rapid, and the paddler can grab them and set up for some serious play time. After this, the river begins to get considerably easier, as the tight rocky rapids open up into delightful waves and holes.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
May 31 2013 (2062 days ago)
ricmoran1 (155483)
Some friends an I have run this creek back in the 60's, and there were others before us who stunted
along Tinkers creeks banks. Once was in a 16' aluminum canoe. Best water is when winter blesses the
area with heavy snowfall as it did when growing up in the area, then when thaw occurs Tinkers
famously will spill it's banks and truely show what this creek is made of. The tunnel becomes
impassible on feet as the water line seen in the past was 15' or higher up the wall. This place
flows tons of water from snow melt that is shed from the sloping plains along Tinkers creek valley
& gorge.
April 21 2011 (2833 days ago)
shawn yinglingDetails
From Shawn Yingling: changes from the 5000cfs flow lots of rock movement at rockpile ,now most of
the water goes left