your paddlesports destination

Big Darby Creek in Ohio

Trip Overview

Report created by the "ghost_yaker"

January 12th, 2013 8am

Roadside Rest in Plain City, Ohio to State Canoe Access off Amity Rd.

Weather: Foggy with highs in the 50's
Water Levels: 7 feet at Darbyville Gage

Total mileage: 8.5 miles

4 paddlers attending.

The four of us began our trip at the roadside rest located at US Hwy 42 and State Route 736 just north of Plain City, Ohio. We put in at 7:45 am and took out at 9:15 am.

This creek normally runs around 2 to 2.5 feet, but with the heavy rains and snow melt, the creek rose to near action stage at 7 feet. There are several log jams that require portage at normal water levels, however with the high water levels, navigation around the log jams was easy.

The morning was extremely foggy with less than one 16th of a mile visibility. This trip normally takes about 3 hours, but with the higher water levels, it took us half the time to complete the 8.5 mile run. We saw very little wildlife but with the high water levels, we were able to hit lots of areas away from the main channel which made the trip very fun and challenging.

Special Note:
For those of you who are like me and like exploring other creeks nearby for future trips, please be aware that there is another creek nearby known as the Little Darby Creek. This is an extremely dangerous creek to paddle at high water. Only advanced paddlers should attempt this trip. At normal water levels, its almost impossible to paddle. At high water levels, there are numerous strainers, sweeps and log jams that are difficult to navigate through or around. Several rescues have been made on this creek over the last ten years. Use extreme caution when paddling this creek!


Both access sites have ample parking and easy access to the creek. This is an easy trip suitable for beginners who have some experience paddling in moving water. Most paddlers in the Columbus area know this creek and have paddled it at least once.

There are several other access sites that can extend this trip to 15 miles or longer depending on whether you want a day trip or two day trip. US Hwy 40 near West Jefferson is one of those access sites. It adds 7 miles to the 8.5 mile trip listed above for a total of 15.5 miles. To get to US Hwy 40 take I-270 to the US Hwy 40 Broad St exit and head west about 6 miles. The parking area is located just before you get to the creek on the left side. Watch closely as you get close to 6 miles as you might miss the parking area. There is also ample parking here too.


No fees or permits required.


If you are coming from out of town, take I-270 to the US Hwy 33 Dublin/Marysville exit and head west on 33. Exit Hwy 33 at the State Route 161 Post Rd Plain City exit and head west towards Plain City.

In the small town of Plain City, turn right at Chillicothe St N which is the first light you come to and take it till it dead ends at US Hwy 42. Turn right at the lighted stop sign and travel about a quarter mile north to State Route 736. Turn left at 736 and immediately turn left again into the parking area of one of Ohio's oldest roadside rest areas still in existence. This is your put in access for this trip.

To get to the state canoe access located off Amity Rd, your take out site, go back the way you came (be careful not to miss your turn at Chillicothe St N) and at the first light you came to in Plain City, go straight rather than turning. You will now be on Plain City-Georgesville Rd. Head south about 5 miles to Scioto Darby Creek Rd and turn left. Just past the creek is Amity Rd. Turn right on Amity Rd and go about 500 feet to the state canoe access and turn right into the parking area.

To get to the state canoe access on Amity Rd from I-270, take the Cemetery Rd - Fishinger Rd exit (Hilliard) and head west on Cemetery Rd towards Hilliard. Go about 6.75 miles through Hilliard to Amity Rd and turn left. Note; When you get to the center of Hilliard you will see a turn-about. Go straight at the turn-about and that will put you on Scioto-Darby Creek Rd. which continues on to Amity Rd.


If you would like more information on access sites for the Big Darby Creek, visit ODNR and click on boating. Here is a link to their website:

  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Canoeing
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip