your paddlesports destination

Buck Creek in Ohio

Trip Overview

Buck Creek is a partially spring-fed stream that runs through Springfield and empties into Mad River west of town. The section I kayak most often begins just below the Brown Reservoir dam and ends at Municipal Stadium - 2 miles. Note: There is a special lake drawdown in November 2005 so the creek level is excellent all month.

A bike path runs along the creek making scouting and bike shuttling a breeze. I park and put in at the Prairie View Picnic Area in Buck Creek SP. There is a path behind the restroom building leading to creekside. As of Nov. 9, 2005 there were one small and one large tree totally blocking the stream about a 1/4 mile downstream. You can glide over the right section of the small tree when the lake outlet is 200+cfs otherwise portage right. Soon after this the large tree is immediately after a right bend in the creek. I exit on the tree itself pull the boat downstream and re-enter. I'm getting good at it.

The next section is swift and shallow. Watch out for those boulders. The stream that you see enter on the left is Beaver Creek and can contribute significantly to the flow after a rain so keep that in mind. The creek widens a bit here. The Lagonda Rapids start at the RR bridge so it is time to put on the spray skirt. First-timers: The rapids can be quite scrapey so it helps to scout it first to see where the channels and ledges are. There is a nice surf wave where a ledge sticks out from the left bank. Nice eddy service behind the ledge.

Make you sure you scout the mini-falls and rapids near the old IH office building before you run them first-time. The falls run diagonally upstream from the right and stop 5 feet from the left bank. Enter here. There are several large boulders on the left side that the current from the falls try to push you into so get ready to do left strokes. The creek then drops several feet down a shallow slope with a very fast current and shoots into a narrow wall of water up to 3 ft. high which I call La Gun (pardon my French). WW boaters check this out.

After La Gun I cruise down to the take-out spot at Municipal on river right. If you continue there will be a low-head dam just past the RR bridge. If the current is 200cfs+ you can run the dam near the far right or portage left.

Uneventful until the next dam which is next to the Springfield Art Museum. When I did this at 200cfs there was a sweet-looking surf wave here however there was evidence of a baffle of sorts below the wave which would be a hazard. This would have to be checked out at a low water level to see what's there.

Some pretty scenery for the next few miles as you float through Cliff Park, Ferncliff Cemetery, and Snyder Park. As you exit Snyder you float by the old Ohio Edison plant and then enter Mad River. The dam at Ohio Edison has been removed.




Look up Buck Creek State Park


Put-in is on Overlook Drive off of Croft Road.

Take-out behind Municipal Stadium right field; Mitchell Avenue. Look for paved road over levy. Other take-outs Art Museum and many along Snyder Park.


I recommend a minimum of 100cfs release from the dam.

CBR=Buck Creek.

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

Locations on this Trip