Explore The Cuyahoga

A hallmark of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail is the diversity of opportunities around every crooked turn.

Enjoy nature, exercise, and peaceful appreciation. Differences in the paddling skills needed, seasons of flow, and equipment options contribute to this variety.

Paddling

The calm, rural waters of the Upper Cuyahoga State Scenic River above Kent are best for beginners. Intermediate paddlers might explore from Kent to Cuyahoga Falls with its frequent access points. Only the most experienced paddlers should attempt the Gorge, the only white-water rapids within 250 miles.  Long paddles from Akron through Cuyahoga Valley National Park present challenges but offer miles of natural scenery. The industrial and shipping channel in Cleveland requires extra safety precautions. Huge freighters and rowing boat crews glide amid stunning views of the city. Note that there is a no paddle zone – Lake Rockwell – to protect Akron’s main source of drinking water. 

Kayaks, canoes, standup paddleboards, sculls, and dragon boats often share the waters. Motorized boats and inflated tubes are not allowed in some sections.

Various stretches have multi-purpose trails along the river that offer pedal/paddle options for shuttling. Leave your bike at a downstream trailhead and use it to return to your car after your paddle.

Private liveries and other businesses. operate independently to serve people recreating along the river.

For detailed information about paddling each section of the river visit the maps under the “Plan Your Trip” section on our website.

Biking, Hiking and Riding the Train

Connections to the Towpath, Bike & Hike, and other trails allow you to explore nature and local communities on foot or by bike. Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad offers excursions and Bike Aboard service along part of the river.

Fishing

Dam removal and cleaner water are making a difference. The river now supports over 50 kinds of fish. Kayak fish, fly fish, or cast from shore. Follow current Ohio fishing regulations and consumption guidelines at wildlife.ohiodnr.gov. In general, limit yourself to one wild-caught meal per month.

Wildlife Watching

Better water quality and habitat protection have led to the return of river otters, beavers, and bald eagles. Also look for muskrats, turtles, snakes, deer, herons, warblers, and ducks. Check eBird.org for birding hotspots and recent sightings.

Plan a Safe Trip

A hallmark of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail is the diversity of opportunities around every crooked turn. Enjoy nature, exercise, and peaceful appreciation. Differences in the paddling skills needed, seasons of flow, and equipment options contribute to this variety.

The calm, rural waters of the Upper Cuyahoga State Scenic River above Kent are best for beginners. Intermediate paddlers might explore from Kent to Cuyahoga Falls with its frequent access points.

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