• Photo of the Beaver Marsh by Jeffrey Gibson.

    Cuyahoga Valley

    National Park Ohio

Canoeing and Kayaking

The primary waterway within Cuyahoga Valley National Park is the Cuyahoga River. We are presently developing strategies to protect and enhance river values, including adequate and safe approaches for recreational river use.

While use of the river is not prohibited, there are several concerns that should be taken into consideration:

  • Canoeing and kayaking the river can be dangerous and the park does not maintain the river for paddling.
  • There are no developed access points or launch facilities for paddlers in CVNP. There are currently no canoe liveries serving the segment of the Cuyahoga River that flows through CVNP.
  • Paddle at your own risk –you are responsible for your own safety. Always be aware of your surroundings, weather and water level. Know your equipment, limits and skills. Don't paddle alone, and let someone know your plans and when you expect to return.

Safety
Two low-head dams exist within the river at Peninsula and south of State Route 82 that require a short portage. Do not attempt to paddle over low-head dams.They are extremely dangerous and drowning occurs in the hydraulic that forms below the dam.

Avoid strainers, which are downed trees/debris in the river. They are more dangerous than they look, and paddlers can get stuck in them and drown.

Be aware of changing water quality. After it rains, the water may contain bacteria from combined sewer overflows and storm water runoff. A high level of bacteria in the water can be a health hazard. Check the latest water quality information at ohionowcast.info.

Paddling Opportunities
The Cuyahoga River is 100 miles long and offers diverse experiences. If you would like to paddle, please consider all of the following opportunities:

  • Crooked River Adventures in Kent offers trips along the Cuyahoga River to three destinations, all with easy-to-navigate routes and beautiful views. Call 330-541-7467 or visit kent.edu/crookedriver/index.cfm for more information
  • Camp Hi offers quality canoe and kayak trips on the scenic Upper Cuyahoga River. Visit camphicanoe.com for more information.
  • The Friends of the Crooked River has some scheduled canoe outings visit cuyahogariver.net for more information.
  • Cleveland Metroparks offers guided paddling programs in the flats/shipping channel area of downtown Cleveland at their Rivergate Park. Visit clevelandmetroparks.com/Main/Reservations-Partners/Washington-Reservation-15.aspx for more information.
  • Ponds within the park are open to paddlers. Motorized canoes and boats are not permitted on the ponds.

Did You Know?

Dragonfly image by NPS volunteer John Catalano.

Dragonflies and damselflies look almost alike while flying. However, if you wait until they land, dragonflies lay their wings to the side while damselflies lay them back and above their bodies.