Cuyahoga, Ohio, US
|Usual Difficulty||I-II (for normal flows)|
|Avg. Gradient||15 fpm|
|Max Gradient||20 fpm|
|Cuyahoga River at Independence OH|
|usgs-04208000||100 - 3000 cfs||I-II||00h50m||1200 cfs (running)|
In addition to the run down the river there are other recreational options to consider as well. This section runs through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, (park map) and features five current and past methods of transportation. The river is bordered by remnants of the Ohio & Erie canal (1820’s to 1913) and its Towpath trail which was once used by mules to pull canal boats. Now it is a recreational route for bikers and hikers. Bicycle rentals are available in Peninsula near both the towpath and put-in. A more challenging hike between Peninsula and Boston is a segment of the Buckeye Trail which is a 1,444 mile trail wandering around the state. The park and river can also be viewed by riding the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. There is a boarding station in Peninsula and at the take-out in Boston. Appalachian Outfitters is a local outfitting store located within 5 miles of the Put-in site for the consideration of new gear or meeting last minute needs.
"A good place for novices and for non-whitewater open canoes. Be sure your Ohio registration is current, because the rangers are always looking for it!"
The put-in site is below the remains of the low head dam in Peninsula. There is a parking lot for towpath trail users just to the north of the put-in site. Google earth's free download (search: Peninsula Ohio) has excellent high resolution images that can be used to review this section of river. The towpath trail is frequently visible on the river right.
View From Put-in, Lock 29 Trail head Parking Lot
The section is roughly split into thirds in terms of length defined by bridges crossing the river. The first 1/3 to the railroad bridge. The second third to I-80 bridge (part of the Ohio turnpike which is then closely followed by the I-271 bridge), and finishing at Boston mills Rd. bridge.
The general characteristic of this section is the gradient diminishes over the length of the run. It is a reasonably wide bed with few rocks. There are some wave trains, and braided sections. After rounding the first bend the main channel is on the right, and generally a few strainers are there also, but there is also plenty of river width to avoid them.
Prior to reaching the point of the island (about 0.5 mile into the run) where the main channel goes to the left, STAY LEFT! The channel to the right side of the island has been blocked in 2006 with a type of dam structure that is hard to describe. From the upstream side it looks like a logjam.
Downstream Side of Low Head/Strainer Dam
It is a home made looking project (although likely professionally done) with rocks and trees strategically stacked and cabled together. It part strainer, part low head dam to divert the flow to the left channel. The intent is to protect the towpath trail from being undercut by erosion from the right channel if the flow is not reduced. Over time, it may either silt in, or wash out. Following this, there are no significant natural hazards except periodic strainers, but the river is wide enough to allow these to be easily by passed.
Sights along the way:
For those that are interested in checking out the historic sights of the Ohio & Erie canal along the way or bicycling along the towpath, an extensive site details history of the towpath, its lock ruins and coordinates of their locations.
WARNING: I-271 Bridge Construction Project:
One situation to be particularly aware of is the I-271 bridge construction project over the river just upstream from the Take-out point. Based on information from ODOT, the river may be closed periodically in the construction zone (projected to be at least twice during the summer of 2007). There may also be construction debris in the river, although this is removed as soon as possible. The project time frame is: May 2006, through October 2009. Project contact information: ODOT District 4 and I-271 bridge project, phone 1-800-603-1054. The person familiar with paddlers’ interests is Ms. Paula Putnam. A call a few days in advance of a run will give her an opportunity to get up-to-date information to provide paddlers.
Scout this portion of the river prior to running it. Take out points are limited in the 0.3 mile distance between the I-80 bridge and the I-271 bridge since the river appears to have been channelized and the banks are steep. The best scouting approach is walking about 0.1 mile up the tow path trail from the take-out point at Boston. The bridge is within sight of the Boston take-out point.
Directions to Put-in, Take-out, Shuttle:
Take OH 303 to Peninsula. Once in town, at traffic light east of river (there are only 2 lights in town less than a half mile apart, one east of the river and one west of the river), follow signage (north at light) to "Lock 29 Trailhead". Excellent parking is available although may be limited during tourist season. Put-in is immediately south of Lock 29 trailhead parking lot on river right.
With the proximity of the towpath trail a paddle/pedal shuttle is an attractive option. Otherwise, at the light on the west side of the river, Riverview Rd. intersects OH Rt. 303, go north to Boston Mills Rd. and turn right cross the river and park in the lot. Road shuttle is 2.2 miles.
Trip extending take-outs:
Vaughn Rd., 2.8 miles downstream of Boston Mills Road.
Ohio Rte. 82, 3.5 flatwater miles downstream of Vaughn Rd.
Note: the dam at Rte. 82 is one of those unrunnable "drowning machines"
Take out upstream!
Other related nearby streams:
Other groups interested in the health and quality of the Cuyahoga River are: The Cuyahoga River Community Planning Organization or Cuyahoga Remedial Action Plan (RAP), with a summary of their reports, Friends of the Crooked River.
|Mile||Rapid Name||Class||Features (Legend)|
|8.7||Rte. 82 Takeout|