Paddling

Of the 265 miles of water trail our region offers, Five Rivers MetroParks manages nearly 39 miles. The 185-acre Eastwood Lake and many smaller lakes and ponds in the Miami Valley are home to many great paddling opportunities. Paddling a kayak, canoe, stand up paddleboard (SUP) or other paddlecraft is a great way to explore nature and enjoy the region's various water features.

Featured Locations

Mad River Run

1385 Harshman Rd., Dayton, OH 45431 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

Access the whitewater feature from river left. This is a good spot for experienced paddlers to quickly access the river to play in the whitewater feature.

Learn more about the Mad River Run

Eastwood Blue Lake

1401 Harshman Rd., Dayton, OH 45431 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

    Porta John

This small, sheltered lake at Eastwood MetroPark is a great place for beginners to try paddlesports for the first time. Use the 1401 Harshman Road entrance, and drive to the other end of the park.

Eastwood Lake

1401 Harshman Rd., Dayton, OH 45431 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

The 185-acre Eastwood Lake, also known as the “hydro bowl,” is the perfect place to take your paddling to the next level. This lake is often windy, which can create decent-sized whitecaps, and has motor boat traffic, which also creates wake to make your paddling more challenging. There are numerous locations to put your canoe, kayak or other vessel into the lake. You can paddle on Eastwood Lake any day of the week — but please note that motor boats use the lake on even-numbered days, and personal watercraft (Jet Skis) use the west end of the lake on odd-numbered days.

Eastwood Lagoon

1385 Harshman Rd., Dayton, OH 45431 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

The Eastwood Lagoon is three-quarters of a mile long, has seven islands, several docks and a ramp. The lagoon can be accessed from the docks near the restroom or from the ramp at the corner of the last parking lot. This is a great body of water for beginning paddlers to explore.

Mad River Harshman Road Access

1385 Harshman Rd., Dayton, OH 45431 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

    Porta John

Looking for a trip on the Miami Valley’s only whitewater river? Then the 4-mile stretch of the Mad River between Eastwood and RiverScape is for you. This access point at Eastwood includes a changing booth, porta john and parking. Carefully cross the bike path and put your boat into the river.

Mad River Run Park-n-Play

1401 Harshman Rd., Dayton, OH 45431 Directions >

  • Parking Icon

Access the whitewater feature from river right in the pool above the rapids. This is a good spot for intermediate to advanced paddlers, allowing for a brief warm-up.

Great Miami River Taylorsville MetroPark Access

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

Take your watercraft out upstream of the Taylorsville dam from the 8-mile Tipp City section of the Great Miami River at the 2005 U.S. 40 entrance to the MetroPark. Put your craft in downstream of the dam, using the boat ramp at the 2000 U.S. 40 entrance to Taylorsville MetroPark for the 9-mile section of river to Island MetroPark. This section gives you great views of the river’s forested edge and the downtown Dayton skyline. Take your Great Miami River Water Trail Map and beware of portage around the low dams below Needmore Road and below Island MetroPark.

Great Miami River Island MetroPark Access

101 E. Helena St., Dayton, OH 45404 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

Carry your boat to or from the parking lot at Island MetroPark to access the Great Miami River. This access point serves as a takeout location for the Taylorsville section of the Great Miami and gives you a chance to paddle in the pool above the low dam and next to the Dayton Canoe Club. Beware of the low dam just downstream of the rowing dock.

RiverScape River Run

RiverScape River Run opens the downtown river to a beautiful seven-mile paddle from Eastwood MetroPark on the Mad River, through downtown to the Carillon Historical Park and University of Dayton area. A dangerous low dam in the Great Miami River located near the Dayton Art Institute was removed and two structures that span the river have been built, each with two passageways: one smooth-water passageway for novice paddlers and one whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. The project also allows people to fish, sunbathe and enjoy the river downtown in new ways.

Learn more about the River Run

Stillwater River Englewood MetroPark Access

100 Lienesch Rd., Vandalia, OH 45377 Directions >

  • Parking Icon

Take your watercraft out upstream of the dam from the 8-mile West Milton section of the Stillwater River at the Lienesch Drive entrance of Englewood MetroPark.

Stillwater River Aullwood Gardens MetroPark Access

955 Aullwood Rd., Vandalia, OH 45377 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

Put your watercraft in the Stillwater River downstream of the Englewood dam, using the boat ramp at the 955 Aullwood Road entrance to Aullwood Gardens MetroPark for the 5-mile section of river to Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. This is a scenic section of river to paddle, with several small rapids, but it typically has a short paddling season, from spring through early summer.

Stillwater River Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark Access

1301 E. Siebenthaler Ave. , Dayton, OH 45414 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

Take your watercraft out after paddling the 5-mile Aullwood Gardens section or put in for the 3-mile section of the river down to Island MetroPark near the confluence with the Great Miami River.

Twin Creek Germantown MetroPark Dam Access

7981 Creek Rd., Germantown, OH 45327 Directions >

  • Parking Icon
  • Parking Icon

Twin Creek is a popular canoeing and kayaking location, although water conditions vary considerably. All watercraft should be launched from the river access site downstream of the dam, using the 7481 Creek Road entrance. An access site to pull out is 7 miles away at Carmody Park. This scenic section of the one of the cleanest rivers or creeks in Ohio takes you through hills, forests and picturesque Germantown.

Paddle in these MetroParks:

The Dayton region offers abundant opportunities for paddling! The following parks offer river or flat water access where paddling is permitted:

Regional Water Trails

A water trail is an official state designation given to a river or creek primarily used for recreational canoeing and kayaking. For a stretch of water to garner official state designation as a water trail it needs to include a public planning process, maps and signage, access points, management/stewardship commitment, safety information, and local government partnership.

The Great Miami River, Mad River, and Stillwater River were designated as state water trails in August 2010. These three water trails are managed in partnership with the Miami Conservancy District, and other local government organizations.

Getting Started

Signing up for an instructional program is a great way to get started in local paddlesports. Five Rivers MetroParks offers programs for a variety of paddlesports, designed to build familiarity with our local waterways and help you build your confidence in getting on them. See our program overview below to find your niche.

Programs & Events

Building Your Paddling Skills with MetroParks Programs

Our programs build on one another (Discover then Develop then Do) — all striving to empower you to feel comfortable and confident in the activity.

What's your interest?

Discover

Develop

Do

Enhance

Recreation
Progression Icon

Try Paddlesports
Try Kayaking
Kayak Exploring
Discover Paddlesports
River Access Van Tours

Kayak 1
Kayak 2: River

Kayak Camping
Kayak Navigation
River Rescue Knots
Ohio Boater Education Course
ACA Kayaking Instructor Certification

Whitewater
Progression Icon

Try Paddlesports
Try Kayaking
Discover Paddlesports
River Access Van Tours

Kayak 1
Kayak 2: Whitewater

Try these facilities: 
RiverScape River Run
Mad River Run

Kayak Camping
Kayak Navigation
Swiftwater Rescue
River Rescue Knots
Ohio Boater Education Course

Touring
Progression Icon

Try Paddlesports
Try Kayaking
Discover Paddlesports
River Access Van Tours

Kayak 1

Try these facilities: 
Eastwood Lake
Great Miami River Water Trail
Mad River Water Trail
Stillwater River Water Trail

Kayak Camping
Kayak Navigation
Kayak Touring Rescue Clinic
Ohio Boater Education Course
Backcountry Gourmet Cooking

Stand Up Paddling
Progression Icon

Try Paddlesports
Discover Paddlesports
River Access Van Tours

SUP 1
SUP 2

Try these facilities: 
Eastwood Lake
Eastwood Blue Lake
Huffman Lake

Kayak Camping
Kayak Navigation
Kayak Touring Rescue Clinic
Ohio Boater Education Course
Backcountry Gourmet Cooking

Canoeing
Progression Icon

Try Paddlesports
Discover Paddlesports
River Access Van Tours

Try these facilities: 
Eastwood Lake, Blue Lake Lagoon
Great Miami River Water Trail
Mad River Water Trail
Stillwater River Water Trail

Kayak Camping
Kayak Navigation
River Rescue Knots
Swimwater Rescue for Paddlers
Ohio Boater Education Course
ACA Canoe Instructor Certification

RiverScape River Run

Check out the exciting RiverScape River Run in the heart of downtown Dayton!

Featured Image

RiverScape River Run opens the downtown river to a beautiful seven-mile paddle from Eastwood MetroPark on the Mad River, through downtown to the Carillon Historical Park and University of Dayton area. A dangerous low dam in the Great Miami River located near the Dayton Art Institute was removed and two structures that span the river have been built, each with two passageways: one smooth-water passageway for novice paddlers and one whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. The project also allows people to fish, sunbathe and enjoy the river downtown in new ways.

Learn more about the River Run

Curabitur vitae convallis lorem, eget sodales diam. Phasellus scelerisque vel nibh maximus vestibulum. Quisque luctus aliquet quam nec consequat.

Stay Updated!

We Want Your Feedback!

  • Please add any comments you have for improving the website. We welcome suggestions on specific areas for improvements, features you would like to see added to the site, and examples of what you consider good websites.