Todd Fork, Ohio, US
Middleboro Road to Pike Street
||I-II (for normal flows)
Todd ForkPhoto of Jay Williams and Tom Goad by Bob Ellstrom taken 03/15/06 @ 4 ft
Todd Fork is a fun run on which to learn or refine basic whitewater canoe and kayak skills, with
relatively frequent rapids, some having technical merit (e.g., strainer avoidance, some
maneuvering in rapids to avoid rocks, etc.). Some local outfitters put canoes on Todd Fork when
their primary choice (the Little Miami) is too high.
Strainers are a random but recurring concern. Toward the end of the run, near Morrow, one
river-left channel (having more flow than the river-right channel, thus seeming the preferred
route) had two strainers in rapid succession, which could not be seen very much in advance by
boat scouting. A downed tree extended most of the way across from river-left, and a root ball
took up the river-right third about twenty feet downstream. The tree was duckable in a kayak (at
3' level on the gauge), but had not enough clearance for a canoe. The river right channel
looked uninviting with a choked-off entry, but was clear afterward. Many side channels which are
only runnable at higher levels can not be river scouted and often contain blocking strainers.
Large rains move large debris into and out of rapids. Bottom line, if you can not see well-down
it, you should probably not enter into it!
At 1' to 3' on the painted Middleboro Bridge gauge (approx. 6.0' - 8.8' on the
Little Miami), Todd Fork is runnable in open canoes and recreational kayaks. Some experience is
recommended. Levels from 3' to 6' on the Middleboro Bridge gauge (approx. 8.8' -
12' on the Little Miami), require a bit more skill, but are not unduly hazardous.
Intermediate skills are suggested at these levels and beyond.
Some rapids rate II+ in higher water due to maneuvering requirements and the possibility of
unpleasantly long swims. The most difficult features for novice boaters may be two right-turns
(close to Morrow) where the main flow runs into river-left banks. These features are easily
visible (for anyone looking downriver attentively), and sneak routes are available on river-right
(to the inside of the bend) at higher water.
Numerous wave-trains (in the 3+ foot-tall range) open up at the 5' level (11' on the
Little Miami), though they tend to be choppy. An open canoe (without complete whitewater
floatation, filling all space not occupied by a paddler) would likely take on a good bit of water
and possibly (probably?) swamp at 5'. That said, routes which avoid the larger waves are
usually available, for those with the skills to deftly maneuver their canoe. Full flotation would
be recommended in open boats at river levels at or above 4' on the Middleboro bridge gauge.
At 3' (approx. 8.8' on the Little Miami) the waves are fun, at 4' they tend to wash
out, and at 5' they come back bigger and better!
Todd Fork can be run at levels as high as 11' to 12' on the Middleboro Bridge (estimated,
not marked). Although possible, it can not be recommended except by experienced boaters who fully
recognize the risks of floating a flooded river. At these levels, the current is extremely fast
and pushy, with the river out of its banks and running through the trees. Kayakers who have
floated Todd Fork at similar levels have used words like "crazy," "scary,"
and "stupid." Tree pins are the most likely hazard, and would tend to be extremely
hazardous (even life-threatening) due to the water velocity and volume. Bridges which normally
are well-overhead are easily tapped with a paddle at these levels.
Todd Fork has a very small drainage basin, which means it flashes up to peak flow quickly and
runs out of water equally quickly. It is also a fairly effortless paddle, with few pools. After
heavy rains, the water will be highly sedimented, but otherwise appears to be of good
It is definitely a stream that you can't wait to float on a better day, weatherwise. As an
example: At 10 a.m. on April 15, 2006 a Cincypaddlers member posted that Todd Fork was at 7'
and rising. That was a good cue to put the boats on top of the car and wait just a few hours. At
2:30 p.m. (just 4.5 hours later), Todd Fork was at 5' and falling, and was a very enjoyable
If you are looking for something a little more challenging than the Little Miami or Whitewater River without being over the
top, Todd Fork is a good bet.
Todd Fork is also narrower, more technical and arguably prettier than the Great Miami River. However, the Great
Miami has easier access at Blue Rock Road to good surfing and eddying, and tends to run much more
Todd Fork is not a playboater's paradise. Occasional surf opportunities exist. These can
depend on water level. Most of the surfable waves have no eddy service. If you hope to surf, you
need to see the wave coming and set up to catch it on-the-fly (as you float down to it).
Todd Fork is a beautiful fast-flowing stream that is highly overlooked. It is a great place to
work on slightly more advanced river running skills without being over most people's ability
levels. Watch for rain and plan accordingly.
To get to the Middleboro Road put-in, head northeast out of Morrow on highway 22 for about 4
miles. Turn right (south) on Middleboro Road. The put-in is less than a mile at the bottom of the
hill. Parking is just enough for about one vehicle on either end of the bridge, on the upstream
side. The actual put-in on river right, just upstream of the bridge, can be a bit daunting at
higher water, as it is not in an eddy. You should probably have reasonable boat skills to be on
this reach at higher water levels.
There are two choices for takeout in Morrow, both being just past the bicycle and pedestrian
bridge, immediately prior to the confluence with the Little Miami River:
River right: Parking in the parking lot adjacent to the police station at 150 E. Pike St. in
Morrow (ongoing permission verified) or at Little Miami Canoe Rental (ask for permission).
River left: parking along Front Street in Morrow. Other Front Street takeouts are upriver on
river left between the Citgo station and the confluence of First Creek, approx. 1/2 mile off the
highway. First Creek is another popular local run, and I have observed boaters taking out at that
We also note that the stretch upstream of the Middleboro Bridge (our listed put-in) may also be
boated. Starting at State Route 350 near Clarksville, about one mile south of of highway 22, adds
perhaps another 6 miles (unverified). Put-in at river-right immediately downstream of the bridge
(right of the road traveling south), where a gravel and sand area can hold several cars. Put-in
from this location looks fairly easy.
StreamTeam Status: Not Verified
Last Updated: 2017-08-28 22:00:35