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Big Darby Creek in Ohio

Trip Overview

Temp: 50's and sunny

Flow: 343 cfs (measurement at Darbyville, OH ~20 miles downstream)

Depth: 3.3 feet

Mileage: 7 miles

Time: 1420 1640

Boat: Dagger Blackwater 11.5

It was a beautiful sunny day and hard to resist getting out on the water. So despite Pub Crawl and despite the OSU Women Basketball Team playing in the first round of the NCAA tournament, I loaded the boat and headed to my favorite river. It was a perfect day to explore a new part of this river.

The put-in location had a portapot surprisingly...and it was fresh. Well as fresh as one can be, but someone obviously takes care of this rest area. There were also picnic tables, a small overhead shelter, and a charcoal grill. The pull-off had enough room for about 2 cars. It was an ideal put-in.

There were 4-5 bridges along the way and you could hear traffic throughout the paddle, but I still felt relatively secluded and one with nature. Once South of Plain City, the banks were relatively low and the surrounding farmland and country properties were beautiful. I was truly enjoying this paddle and can not believe I haven't been on this part of the river sooner. I'm scouting out areas to perhaps do an overnight trip on the Big Darby. I only saw a few people out. 3 guys in a fishing boat near the town of Amity and further down 2 guys fishing from the bank.

Along the way, I saw a muskrat dive down in the water as I approached. He popped his head out near the bank and as I tried to get a picture he dove down again. Kinda cute. It was relatively small and so that's why I'm thinking muskrat as opposed to beaver. Although earlier in the paddle, I did see remnants of a beaver being there...stumps chewed down like a beaver would. A few turtles were sunning themselves on the fallen logs. A frog was hanging out in the middle of the river and dove down when I approached.

I also saw tons of Wood Ducks. Normally I see many Mallards, but it was great to see the Wood Ducks. I rarely see them anymore but I saw them all over the river. I did see a few Mallards as well and a few Canadian Geese. I also saw two Belted Kingfisher, a Great Blue Heron, and I heard the Red Winged Blackbird singing to me the entire trip as if he was cheering me on. At the take-out I think I saw a Baltimore Oriole, but cannot be certain.

I look forward to paddling this section again. However, I don't think it is very conducive to paddling except for the Spring. Although I didn't have to get out of my boat, there were a few low spots. This section of the river was amazing. The day was perfect.


Clean Porta Potty at the Put-in


No fees



SR 736 and SR 42 (NW corner), roadside rest stop North of Plain City, river left. Room for 2+ cars. Easy launch from grassy area just about 15 feet down the slight hill from pull-off.

Prairie Oaks Metro Park, Upper Darby Canoe Access on Amity Rd, river left (near Hilliard, Ohio). Plenty of room for 10+ cars. Small gravel landing site. Pay attention or you might miss it. Look for your car up the slight hill as a marker. Canoe Access point is on Amity Rd just South (~.25 miles) of Price-Hilliards Rd/Scioto and Darby Creek Rd.


ODNR website (Boating Ohio Streams) and the book "Canoeing and Kayaking Ohio's Streams" by Rick Combs & Steve Gillen.

  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip