This photo needs editing.
Difficulty II(III)
Length 4 Miles
Gauge Mad River near Dayton OH
Flow Range 700 - 3000 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 59 minutes ago 595 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 08/07/2017 12:43 pm

River Description

Mad River Run is a 4.0 mile stretch from Harshman Road to the confluence with the Great Miami River. Shuttles can be arranged from Whitewater Warehouse, immediately North of the river at Keowee Street. The river is heavily paddled throughout the summer months.

Access this stretch from Eastwood MetroPark (1385 Harshman Rd.). Best access for the full run is just inside the park on the right (near Harshman Road) where there is a changing area. However, most boaters will focus on park-and-play, driving 3/4 mile into Eastwood MetroPark to use the large parking lot (with restrooms) near the main whitewater feature. Access from river-right is also available with limited parking (1401 Harshman Rd.) from the lakeside of Eastwood MetroPark. Again, drive 3/4 mile inside the park to the parking area.

The drop is one element of the Mad River Run project, funded largely by a generous donation from the Rotary Club of Dayton. This was created just below what used to be known as “Bernie’s Hole”, which was formed by the 84” water main pipe that supplies a majority of the water for the city, which is now protected underwater by raising the water level (by the rock damming for the new feature which was created). When funding is acquired, three more drops will be constructed just downstream (no construction is expected in the near future).

There is a low water and higher water feature. The river-left feature is a friendly play wave and designed for surfing in ideal conditions between 300cfs -700cfs. Once the water reaches above 900cfs both eddies feeds strongly back into the river left drop. The river-right feature is designed for higher water and becomes playable around 1200cfs. Information is still being gathered about ideal flow rates. The right side is a tight play feature and seems to have strong eddies on both sides.

Rapid Descriptions

Gravel Bar

Class - I Mile - 0.46
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Start from the center and work toward the river left side. A gravel bar/island which previously defined this rapid was mined out, and is now reforming back. Wood/strainers often catch on the banks on both sides.

Mad River Run Drop #1

Class - II Mile - 0.92

A river-wide feature was constructed here late summer of 2013. River-left is a low water feature that creates a play wave from 300-2000 cfs. At higher water, a feature on river-right creates a tight hole good for loops, etc. There is a portage on the river right side.

Railroad Rapid

Class - N/A Mile - 1.18
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Start from between the two right-most bridge abutments to ride small waves, working eddies and pourovers by the concrete revetment under the bikeway.

Outside Curve Rapid

Class - II Mile - 1.57
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Head from center to river-right to ride the waves under the tree branches, then sweep into the eddy on the right.

Mad River confluence w/ Great Miami River

Class - N/A Mile - 3.84
Rapid Thumbnail Missing

RiverScape MetroPark Take Out

Class - N/A Mile - 3.94
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Take-out at river-left, walk up the levee through RiverScape MetroPark to parking spots on Monument Ave in downtown Dayton.

Coming soon play features just below this take out will be two drops put in on the Great Miami River in downtown Dayton thanks to donations made by the community through the Downtown Dayton Partnership. For more information on RiverScape MetroPark visit


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Austin Miller
2 years ago

Checked out the wave on 11/2/17 at 1100cfs. There were no real play opportunities. The river left wave is totally washed out and the river right feature is blocked off. Not much in terms of play available.

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Austin Miller
3 years ago

Went on 1/24/17. The river was running ~900cfs. The river right feature was blocked by large rocks with no water flowing through. This looks like a permanent closure. On the far river right, the river has eroded a channel around both features. The river right feature was barely surfable. I was flushed very easily. Just downstream and left of center there is a surfable hole with eddy service on the left. It looks a bit shallow to do anything other than spins.

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Greg Karjala
4 years ago

Scouted last weekend, (4/24/16) but went to Buck Creek due too shuttle issues. Didn't look like play-boat nirvana @ 650 cfs but i ran it late last year @ 800 cfs+ and it was fun, though I'm not a play-boater. Middle slot was closed, maybe permanent, idk. Whitewater Warehouse in Dayton good resource for this run, they have a weekly shuttle thing plus other events, and are a GREAT Outfitter locally, good source for paddle kharma!!! Planning on going soon, tmmrrw even (4/29/16), i'll report if so. Construction at put-in, maybe problem weekdays, i'll report. Looks improved over last year. I'm if I can be of any assist.

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John Black
6 years ago

On 3/21/2014 there was a strainer in the wave train below the main slot. See photo.

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Stephen Stone
6 years ago

The whitewater features are complete went down today 9/26/2013 there are two slots to run today the river was at 383 cfs and was not flowing through the second slot

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Stephen Stone
6 years ago

FYI there is now a whitewater man made feature with a few slots to run river wide I went down to check the progress and they are trying to have it completed 10/4-5/2013 for the Midwest outdoor experience festival this is supposed to be like the features that have been delayed until next year on the Great Miami River check out this video of the progress as of 9/19/2013

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logan bockrath
14 years ago

just commenting on the above info
-don't park on the water departments road, you will be towed, they just let bernie run shuttle on that because he used to work there, park in eastwood lake park
-the hole isn't as good as it used to be, but generally 1000 and above is good, close to 3000 it is a workout to get back in the eddy
-it never really turns into a wave, I've been out there at around 8000-9000 and it was still a wave-hole and easy to stay on but you only had one shot

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Ron Metzger
15 years ago

from the OAC list:

"1,400-1,200 lower is just for goofing off. I have seen it at 2,000 and it was very sticky. I have seen it at 3,000 and it became a front surfing wave that is easy to get pushed off of.

Gage Descriptions

Leave a comment about what you find to be the perfect whitewater level.

Directions Description

We have no additional detail on this route. Use the map below to calculate how to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.

Date Flow Result Factor  
2019-07-22 n/a Fatality Other Read More
2002-06-29 n/a Fatality One Boat Trip Read More




article main photo

New Hydro Project for Cuyahoga (OH)

Thomas O'Keefe

The Cuyahoga River, the river that burned, played a pivotal role in the birth of the nation's river conservation movement. While restoration gains have been significant, a proposal for a new hydropower project on a dam targeted for removal would represent a signficant setback in ongoing restoration efforts and would delay for at least half a century any effort to bring back the lost whitewater that sits buried behind the Ohio Edison Gorge Dam. Paddler participation at upcoming scoping meetings is important.

Ryan Groth


Mark Singleton




Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1204274 03/05/15 Ryan Groth Mad River photo update
1203466 06/10/14 Mark Singleton removed strainer info
1204273 03/05/15 Ryan Groth Updated Photos
1204133 02/10/15 Mark Singleton new play hole
1204136 03/05/15 Ryan Groth Mad is Updating. New copy from WW park development.
1208177 08/07/17 Rob (re-)position pins to agree with in/out/feature locations
1197612 05/05/10 Rob
1191501 04/15/09 Rob n/a
1203188 03/22/14 Rob Remove/fix dead links
1203189 03/22/14 Rob Add link to Sept,2013 article
1203385 05/19/14 Mark Singleton As of 5/19/14 there are currently strainers on the river left and river right of the new Bernie’s Hole feature.