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Big Walnut Creek - Low water day

A self-supported trip created by kayakpirate69

Trip Overview

Summary: This is a beautiful creek with lots of wildlife and gorges. But you will be miserable if the water level is low because you will seem to have to get out and drag your kayak at least 15 times. Our trip was approximately 5 miles from Pizzurro Dog Park to Big Walnut Park.

We started at the Pizzurro Dog Park which has a nice parking lot and decent put in spot. If you look at the ODNR boating web site it shows the put in spot clear at the end of the park. The info on the ODNR web site must be outdated because there is a better spot in the middle of the park right next to the parking lot. This put in spot seems like it could be new. It is a little steep and uses large rocks so if you aren't sure-footed you will want to be careful. There is no vegetation or poison ivy to deal with which is nice.

We ended at Big Walnut Park just after the Livingston Ave bridge. The take out spot is not terrible but you will want to scout it out beforehand to know exactly where to get out because there are no obvious markers. The downside to taking out at Big Walnut Park is that the parking lot is about 200m away from the take out spot meaning that you will need to transport heavy kayaks a long distance.

My daughter and I enjoyed the trip due to the scenery but we were exhausted when we were done due to having to get out and drag our kayaks through so many shallow spots. There were also quite a few downed trees that we needed to avoid but it was manageable. Overall, if the water had been higher, this would have been a great paddle. But I wouldn't go back without checking water levels first.

To check the water levels, use the following USGS water sites. I have listed the water levels that we experienced on the day we went. If the water level had been about a foot higher than those listed below then it would have been a much more enjoyable paddle. This is likely best as a Spring or Fall trip. I can imagine that during the Fall the views would be spectacular.

There is quite a bit of wildlife along this area. We saw several deer, herons, fish, ground hogs, and even a lone coyote hanging out in the cliffs of the gorge.

USGS Water Level Info:

----03228500 Big Walnut Creek at Central College OH

Low (07/09/2020) = 3.55 feet, 125 cfs;

----03229500 Big Walnut Creek at Rees OH

Low (07/09/2020) = 2.25 feet, 260 cfs:

Portage Notes

There is a drainage pipe about halfway through that sticks out of the water by about one foot if the water level is low. We chose to go ahead and portage around it which was rather tricky because the bank at this location is not very big.

Trip Details

  • Trip Dates: 7/9/2020
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 1

Trip Location