8 Great Paddles in Ohio
By James Proffitt

8 Great Paddles in Ohio

Find the Perfect Paddle Trail for Photos, Fishing, Wildlife and More

Paddle sports are one of the fastest-growing outdoor activities in the nation – especially in Ohio. And kayaking allows paddlers to get out into areas of the wild that can’t by accessed by other means such as hiking or biking. Plus, gliding quietly along the water’s surface, you can enjoy amazing wildlife, photo opportunities, fun conversation and great fishing.


Check out these great sites for your next paddling adventure:


Kayaking on the Grand River by Mike Mainhart

Grand River

Natural Scenery: The Grand River is another great float trip with slack water and some faster sections.There is an abundance of sandstone cliffs lined with hemlocks, and in spring and autumn, steelhead trout.

Little Beaver Creek

Wildlife Viewing/Fishing: When the water level is up, this Columbiana County creek is an excellent adventure featuring eagles, giant hellbender salamanders, deer and plenty more wildlife. LIttle Beaver Creek is a designated Wild and Scenic River at both the state and federal levels. Take it from Elkton to the Ohio River for an all-day, 15-mile adventure. If you wet a line on Little Beaver Creek, expect small mouth bass, walleye and sauger in the pools.

Mahoning River Water Trail

Relaxing Float: The Mahoning River in Trumbull County is a wide, slow-moving river that’s not often crowded. It is excellent for floating and relaxing. Don’t miss the Newton Falls Covered Bridge, the second longest in Ohio.

Conneaut Creek

Photo Opps: This shale and gravel stream provides stunning views of Ashtabula County along with the opportunity to stop and explore three historic covered bridges. The Conneaut is also nationally known for it steelhead trout fishing.

Lorain Lighthouse by Mike Mainhart

Lorain Harbor

Lighthouse Float: Lorain Harbor offers all kinds of things to explore, including getting up-close-and-personal with the lighthouse. Monday night paddles are sometimes held in the harbor and the lake, weather permitting.

Vermilion River

Paddle Trail: This Lake Erie tributary offers towering cliffs and a wilderness feeling, plus a harbor to explore with a Lake Erie ending. The Vermilion-Lorain Water Trail was dedicated in 2009, offering a unique paddling experience that begins on the Vermilion River at Mill Hollow/Vermilion River Reservation, flows out to the lake, follows the Lake Erie shore east, then continues up the Black River to the Bur Oak Area of the Black River Reservation.

Old Woman Creek Estuary courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Old Woman Creek

Bird Watching: A great creek for lovers of lush serentity, with an amazing Lake Erie estuary flush with birds. In the spring, it’s not unusual to see 30 or more bald eagles in an hour. Home to the Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve and Old Woman Creek State Nature Preserve.

Howard Marsh

Bird Watching/Fishing: This brand new metropark in Toledo offers a number of ponds perfect for fishing or bird watching from a kayak. It opened just last year and is still gathering steam, but native plants are already the norm and plenty of marsh-loving wildlife hangs out here or passes through.

Remember to prepare and paddle safely. Don’t forget the essentials: a lifejacket, dry bag and a sense of adventure. Happy paddling!

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