Cuyahoga - F. OH 303 to Boston Mills Road

Cuyahoga, Ohio, US


F. OH 303 to Boston Mills Road (Peninsula)

Usual Difficulty I-II (varies with level)
Length 2.4 Miles
Avg. Gradient 15 fpm
Max Gradient 20 fpm

Burning River Day

Burning River Day
Photo of Unidentified kayaker celebrating the 30th anniversary of the last time the Cuyahoga River caught on fire, marking the begining of the turn around of water quality of this river and waters nationally by the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1970. by Matt Muir (KHCC) taken 06/22/99

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Cuyahoga River at Jaite OH
usgs-04206425 300 - 5000 cfs I 00h52m 501 cfs (running)
From 800 down to 300 the river starts to move into shallow channels.

River Description


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 which mentions 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.

The run:

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.


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, good information is available at Summit Metro Parks and Ohio And Erie Canalway.

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:

Lower Gorge (Class III)
Tinker's Creek (Class IV)
Upper Gorge (Class V)


Other groups interested in the health and quality of the Cuyahoga River are: Cuyahoga River Restoration , Friends of the Crooked River.

StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-08-22 17:09:56


Stream team editor

Rapid Summary

Mile Rapid Name Class Features (Legend)
5.2Jaite TakeoutN/ATakeout
8.7Rte. 82 TakeoutTakeout

Rapid Descriptions

Jaite Takeout (Class N/A, Mile 5.2)

An alternate takeout is available at the bridge on Vaughn Road.

Rte. 82 Takeout

Take out before the dam (a serious drowning machine!) at Rte. 82.

User Comments

Users can submit comments.
July 21 2011 (2740 days ago)
Bryce HanelineDetails
Most paddlers that do this stretch know the 271 surfing waves, but there is another, steeper,
taller and more aggressive wave about .75 miles upstream from the 271 bridge at flows around
1000-1500 cfs. It's tough to get into, but once you're in, it's decent surfing. I think it's worth
the short trip from 303 to boston mills instead of doing a park and surf.