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Difficulty I-II
Length 4 Miles
Gauge Olentangy River near Delaware OH
Flow Range 900 - 4500 CFS
Flow Rate as of: 50 minutes ago 39.4 [CFS]
Reach Info Last Updated 03/17/2007 10:40 pm

River Description

This class I-II run is of primary interest to Central Ohio paddlers. At high water levels a number of small ledges create playful waves and hydraulics. There are unfortunately few mid-stream boulders and eddies, however, many playspots are serviced by bank eddies.

Characteristics at select flows:
500-900 cfs: runnable but no worthwhile play. Good levels for early ww beginners needing moving water experience;
1000-1300 cfs: the maximum amount of hydraulics appear. Waves are small.
1800-2300 cfs: many enjoyable medium-sized waves. A lot of the hydraulics start to wash out. "House Wave" is nice. Noticeably pushier;
4000-4500+ cfs: large standing waves offer fun surf. Holes are washed out, but many of the waves break nicely. Very pushy and flood-like. Most waves are catch-on-the-fly. "Maui Wave" above take-out is prime.

Hazards: There are two low-head dams to be aware of. The first occurs approximately 2/3 into the run above the US 23 bridge. Portage river right. A second very low small dam is located about 50 yards downstream of the first. It's broken out on river right and easily run there.

From the US 23 bridge which crosses the river south of Delaware, head north several miles up the river right side road. Continue north on the dead-end road leading to a Delaware Water Treatment Facility. Park along the guardrail, just in front of the newly erected fence, looking for a trail in the weeds dropping down to the river.

Take-out: From 23 near the bridge, travel south on Chapman Road, which parallels the river. In less than a mile, look for a red ranch house on your left close to the river. Just past that, once the left side of the road turns to woods, look for two pullouts close-by on your right, the northern one with a mailbox. Park in the southern pullout. A trail leads down to the river where a low-head dam used to be (removed, courtesy "Scenic Rivers" License Plate funds). Removal has revealed a new ledge! Note the area is private, so be in good behavior mode.
Alternate access point under 23 bridge.

Rapid Descriptions


Gage Descriptions

An upstream USACE flood-control dam largely controls the flows. Check the USGS Delaware gauge for dam outflow, and, to factor in runoff, add on roughly half the difference between it and the downstream Worthington gauge. Note that when heavy precipitation falls evenly across North Central Ohio, outflow is often held back a day or two to relieve the Scioto in Southern Ohio. Outflow level and duration is based on the strategy of returning Delaware Lake to summer or winter "pool levels" as quickly as possible. Summer pool level is 915ft (refill date April 1). Winter pool is 910 (draw-down Nov 1).
Click link to get realtime level. Delaware Lake Level (Scioto basin)

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  
2003-07-16 High 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.

Mark Steinmetz


Revision #Revision DateAuthorComment
1192881 03/17/07 Mark Steinmetz n/a