Todd Fork - Middleboro Road to Pike Street

Todd Fork, Ohio, US


Middleboro Road to Pike Street

Usual Difficulty I-II (for normal flows)
Length 8.57 Miles
Avg. Gradient 20 fpm
Max Gradient 30 fpm

Todd Fork

Todd Fork
Photo of Jay Williams and Tom Goad by Bob Ellstrom taken 03/15/06 @ 4 ft

Gauge Information

Name Range Difficulty Updated Level
Little Miami River at Milford OH
usgs-03245500 6.30 - 12.00 ft I-II 00h16m 6.22 ft (too low)

River Description

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 quality.

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 float.

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 frequently.

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.

Shuttle Directions:
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 confluence.

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


Rapid Descriptions

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User Comments

Users can submit comments.
February 27 2018 (324 days ago)
Aaron BirdDetails
Todd Fork is running. It's flat with some riffles, which is good if you're not looking for any
whitewater. A word of caution about the put in: DON'T PARK ON RIVER RIGHT UPSTREAM SIDE! This is
the obvious place to put a vehicle, but the shoulder is way too soft and steep. Don't park there.
Drop the boats and then go back down the road a ways to a more solid berm or go up to Clarksville
and put in there. This will add probably a couple of miles to the trip.
July 20 2010 (3102 days ago)
Chris ShivelyDetails
gauge on this page little miami guage in milford was 6.5 ft and river was NOT RUNNING...... guage
should read @ LEAST 7.5ft IDEAL level is 9ft plus
May 6 2009 (3543 days ago)
x (1)
Team Hobo here again, We just got done running the strech from Clarksville Rd. Inlet to Morrow,
Outlet. Aprrox 8miles and 3 hours or under. Ran it a estimated 5-6 feet which seemed low
considering the drop in elevation at points, We see the real potential here, was even fun at the
lowest possible lvl to run our humble opinion, Can't wait to run it at 10ft or more boy would it
really rock them. Plan on doing Paint Creek when water level is right, Team Hobo Out! Happy Creek
running and water action, stay safe!
December 16 2007 (4050 days ago)
x (1)
We ran Todd Fork yesterday, 12/15, for the first time. AW stated river level @ 7.53 at 9am. Finally
a chance to run it. It was a beutiful run with all the snow, but very few features. We were most
disappointed. Will probably stick with Whitewater River at this point. It was a fun, fast moving
stretch, but we like more features than Todd Fork had to offer. Only a couple good sets of
rapids/choppier water. Only scraped a couple of times. River was clear of debries and appeared to
be of good quality. If you go during hunting season, you might want to leave a note stating your
purpose. Got back to the put in to be questioned by game warden. Land owner called thinking we were
out hunting. No problems though. Didn't get the feeling that we weren't welcome.
December 16 2007 (4050 days ago)
x (1)
todds fork was incredibly lame,to give it a class II rating is a big over-estimate of what it
really is I ran it on 12-15-07 at around 3 feet on the midleboro bridge and there might of been 25
feet of a slight chop on the entire 9.1 mile section to the takeout in morrow
May 27 2006 (4618 days ago)
Dan WileyDetails
I ran Todd's on 5/19 and 5/20. On 5/19 (two days after substantial rain) the Middleboro gauge was
at 2.5 feet and I found it to be a great run. I didn't drag at all and found many 1-2ft wave trains
and several small but surfable waves. The highlight was just below the ball fields in a right hand
bend where there was a nice hole of 2-3 ft to run through (easy walk back to run again. The next
day I ran it with morgans and went 12 miles from 350 to Morrow. The water level was under 2 ft and
seemed to bwe getting a lil scrappy. Right now I'm awaiting more rain to try it again.........