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.
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.
An alternate takeout is available at the bridge on Vaughn Road.
Take out before the dam (a serious drowning machine!) at Rte. 82.
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.
Past references suggest: "This section is pretty much always running though it gets scrapy in the summer. Though there's no maximum runnability level, it's too big for novices above 2000 cfs."
Supplemental flow is provided by the Akron waste water treatment plant. The plant discharges treated sewage amounting to about 90 million gallons/day, or 140 cfs.
Akron and other municipalities participate in a common practice of discharging treated sewage in to the river. However, during times of rain, some of these sewage systems service both storm water and sanitary sewage. When the systems cannot handle the additional flow, the possibility exists where the overflow of the combined sewer systems can dump a mix of storm water and untreated sewage into the river.
The situation is improving by considerable investment into the sewage systems. In-depth reports had been issued by the Ohio EPA and USGS addressing the water quality of the Lower Cuyahoga. Due to water quality variation, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park discourages, but does not prohibit canoeing/kayaking. Members of Keelhaulers canoe club and other individuals have had organized trips down this and other sections of the river.
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
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Jason Surfing the 271 Wave
Surfing the 271 Wave
Rt 271 Surfing
I-271 Bridge Construction Site bridge view
I-271 Bridge Construction Site river view
"Get There" (see I-80 bridge)
Dowstream Side of Low Head Strainer Dam
Wavehoppin' on the Cuyahoga
Burning River Day
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