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Cuyahoga River, CVNP Boston Mills to Brecksville (Train Ride Included)

Trip Overview

I finally got around to doing a trip that has been on my bucket list for quite some time- paddling the Cuyahoga River through the CVNP and taking the train back. This was a two-person trip with a 10' plastic kayak and 15' fiberglass kayak, although I wouldn't recommend using anything longer than a 10'-12' kayak. The discharge was about 150 ft/second which made for more work in the longer kayak, as to be expected. The depth was variant (inches in some spots to about chest deep in others) but the later in the season, the lower the lower the level. We had to walk our kayaks a couple times in a few spots. I started with my initial plan of putting in at Boston Mills (right next to/behind the visitor center) where there is a kayak drop point at the entrance to the parking lot. The put-in is an unmanaged dirt bank on the East side of the river. Once on the river the challenges begin- from low spots, to rocks, strainers, and currents, this isn't the "lazy" river the novice paddler might be used to. The trip ends when you get to the large signs directing you to take out, which is on the left side of the river. All in all, the trip was good and we were tested throughout, plus we got to ride the CVNP train on the way back to our car (the same train that does the Bikes Aboard, kayaks are $9). Not too much wildlife; just a couple of herons, some sandpipers, and a few belted kingfishers. The trip was about 6 miles and took us about 3 hours on the river to complete. Total time from put-in to car was about 4.5 hours due to the train schedule found here: Here's the PDF river map as well, we went from markers 26-28:
  • Duration: Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water, River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Number of Portages: 1
  • Portage Description: I portaged a couple of times in order to avoid scratching my fiberglass kayak, but the plastic kayak only needed to be portaged once.
As always, pay attention to the river first, scenery second.
10' plastic kayak, 15' fiberglass kayak, kayak carts for the short walk from the take-out to the train and from the train to the parking lot.
Quicker currents for those used to "lazy" rivers. Lower water level due to the late season.

Locations on this Trip