Quite easy. From put in on St. Rt. 131 travel west one mile to St. Rt. 132. Turn left (South). Drive about 2.5 miles to bridge over creek.
From the South: Take I275 East to the Rt 50 exit. Turn left(North-west) on 50. Rt. 131 enters from the right. Turn right onto Rt. 131 and continue several miles to the bridge over the river.
From the North: Take I275 East to the Rt. 28 exit. Turn left(North-East) onto Rt 28. Continue on Rt. 28 to Buckwheat road. Turn right onto Buckwheat and take it to Rt. 131. Turn left and continue several miles to the bridge over the river.
The first known run of this small but very fun stream was back in 1967. However it wasn't until the mid 80's that the general whitewater population of the Cincinnati area became aware of it.
The usual put in is under the bridge where State route 131 crosses the river. Please note that this is private land. While there have never been any problems in the past, please be aware that inconsiderate behavior by boaters could result in the loss of this access.
I have also put in right below the dam on Stonelick lake, however access to the river there is poor. This adds about 4 miles of swiftly flowing water to the trip, but not much else.
The first mile or so of the trip is mostly swift current through a winding riverbed with a few nice play waves or gravel bars, depending on levels. Strainers and water flowing through trees and willows are likely, so keep an eye out.
As one approaches the Belfast-Owensville Road bridge, which is at about the 2 mile mark, things begin to pick up. The road can be seen on the steep banks river right, winding down to the river. There are some nearly river wide ledges in this section that can be quite playful at most levels, but can be terminal at very high water. Usually though, some places are quite fun and others quite sticky, so check them out before jumping in.
Below the Belfast-Owensville Road is the best action on this run.
(NOTE: There is good access at this bridge, but it is on private land. When we approached the landowner in the early 80's for permission to use it, he became quite agitated that we even asked. And this is when the creek wasn't running, we were dressed in regular clothes and approached him as friendly neighbors. I don't know if the situation has changed since then, but suggest avoiding using that area as an access)
In this section there are a series of ledges and chutes. The action is non stop except at minimum flows, and can be quite dangerous at high flows. There are at least two 3-4 ft ledges in this section that have a low-head dam quality about them. They should be approached with caution at all water levels. Sneak on extreme river right at most levels.
Strainers can also cause the most problems in this section as, even at low flows, eddies are small and few in number.
After the action starts to ease a little, a little less than a mile after the bridge, be on the lookout Johnson Falls. This 5+ ft drop is named after Mike Johnson, who ran this creek as an adventurous teenager back in 1967 and who showed it to me in 1980. Mike moved away shortly afterwards, never to be heard from again, so I named this drop in his honor. (Mike if you read this, drop me a line!). I strongly suggest first-timers follow an experienced guide or get out and scout it river left. It's a rough scout through poison ivy gardens, but the hole can be quite grabby. Most folks run far right or left.Johnson Falls @ 1.5 feet. From 1984 "Rediscovery" trip
After a small pool right below the falls, the current splits around a small island and both branches shoot down narrow chutes to the right. This is the beginning of what we call the Gun Club run, as there is a gun club on river right. At times, the sound of gunfire will be constant, but don't worry, they probably aren't shooting at you. This section is constantly changing, so a specific description will not be helpful, but in general there is a small pool or eddy after the chute, then the creek narrows considerably and drops abruptly over a series of ledges. On the first trips we worried about the "hole nobody played", which disappeared and was replaced by the "hole nobody remembered", which has long ago morphed into something unrecognizable now. Just remember there are holes, but they are usually not dangerous like some of the ledge holes above are. However, due to the rapidly changing stream bed, the rocks here are likely to be quite sharp. Flipping is not recommended.
After the gun club run the creek settles down and flows swiftly to the takeout at the State Route 132 bridge. I believe this access is state owned (Land directly under a bridge). People also take out on river right a little upstream of the bridge, but that access is on private property.
The run can be continued for quite some distance downstream, if wished, but the rapids never again come close to matching those upstream and the creek becomes unattractive due to trash and development as one approaches populated areas.
Added by Scott Puthoff, 01/29/12:
Here is some video from a trip down Stonelick Creek
The last rapid has evolved now into something special. The hole at the bottom now will hold boats and boaters for extended periods of time, even at medium-low flows. Get RIGHT!
runnable level on Stonelick Creek is 1.5 ft to 7 ft or maybe more. length of the run is 6 miles. the first 3 miles gradient is 30 fpm, and the second 3 miles, Stonelick Gorge, is 55 fpm. There is a description in Canoeing and Kayaking Ohio's Streams / Combs & Gillen
From an Email from Karl Whipp, received 4/15/93:
Three of us ran Stonelick at 9.5' and still rising about 2 years ago. All I can say is the following:
1. Be prepared for Mach 3 speeds as soon as you peel out of the put-in eddy and it remains that way to the take-out.
2. Good luck finding any eddys along the way. Most all eddys are moving and the vast majority of those are found behind standing trees that would normally be up on the banks.
3. Whenever you see a horizon line, HAUL ASS FOR THE EDGE OF THE RIVER. These horizon lines are uniform broken limestone ledges that form MONSTEROUS holes...comparable to Greyhound on the New at 4'+...no kidding... but they extend bank to bank. You will have about 3-4' on each side of the ledges to sneak your way past, but you will deal with another hazard within the sneaks...standing trees. We were using our hands on trees to weave our way through the forest at a couple of the ledges and at one of them, we were in such "scramble mode" that we were grabbing at roots hanging off a high water bank to stop ourselves so we could get out with ropes for the rescue mentioned below.
After watching two guys lose their paddles and boats and after rope rescuing both of them from multiple recirculations in firgid water, we decided to walk off. This creek has SERIOUS flush drowing, strainer drowning possibilities at very high levels. It should only be run by parties of very strong boaters at these high levels.
From an Email from Bernie Farley received 3/14/06:
We paddled Stonelick on Sunday 3/12 and there were two trees down all the way across the creek, approximately 1.5 miles downstream of the put-in. This is where the creek narrows at a bend in the river.
This can be a very dangerous situation for a group of four or more due to the lack of eddies. We had to portage 100 yards to re-enter the creek due to a cattle fence
Ran on JAN-5-07 at around 3' and last rapid was mainly a series of HUGE waves with the exception of a minor breaking wave/hole midway down,BIG FUN. Ran again following day at around 1.7 or so and the last rapid was a much more technical series of continuis ledges and holes. A buddy of mine new to the sport flipped in this rapid(was in a recreational old town rush!!!) he swam a good deal of it and flushed through all the holes.
Ran this run a few days ago after all the rain. Put on with Matt Bodecker at what we thought was a moderate level. The gauge said 4.5 feet at the bridge. Once we started it felt like 7.5 to 8.5 with river wide (HUGE) holes and screaming speed! Just a warning to anyone who wants a less exciting run! Wood free at the moment.
5 years ago
by Scott Puthoff
7 years ago
by chris west
10 years ago
by Mark Branch
Painted Gauge on downstream side of Rt. 131 bridge abutment
Linked gauge is on the East Fork of the Little Miami, about 2-3 miles downstream of where Stonelick comes in. It can give a general idea of water in the area, however the gauge is below Harsha Dam and is influenced by discharge from the dam. The solution? Check out the river stage from the gauge below the dam and compare with the linked gauge. Several other creeks enter the river between the two gauges, but none larger than Stonelick. If they are running, Stonelick will be running.
IF YOU CHECK OUT BOTH GAUGES AND RUN THE CREEK, PLEASE REPORT YOUR LEVELS! That will allow me to prepare a virtual gauge for this run. Also include the level on the painted gauge at the put in. Send to streamkeeper
(below is for painted gauge)
Min: 2 ft?
Max: 5 ft.
As you will see from the user notes below, people run this far above the suggest maximun level. However, it is quite dangerous. See William Nealy's Kayak book for "The Joys of Flood"
This section runs only after heavy rains and drops quite quickly. Pay careful attention to the gauge, weather conditions and if the water is rising or falling
Permits are not required for this reach.
We have no additional detail on this route.
Use the map below to calculate how
to arrive to the main town from your zipcode.
Mark B on Stonelick
Johnson Falls Escape
The Belfast Run
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