The little Miami River was one of the first 10 rivers to be designated as a scenic river, but it has 3 very different personalities. There are about 85 miles of canoing, the first third is narrow, fast, twisting & turning, near Dayton, OH, but not crowded, with 2 canoe rentals.
The upper third is full of islands & beaches in a wide flood plain. The secound third from Corwin DAM (a drowning hazzard, Period.), the valley narrows with true hills, but the river widens & slows down a bit. In the next 20 miles are some incredibile hill sides, Ft Ancient state park, some beautiful canoeing, but there are also 5 canoe rentals. Don't get upset if you are there on a weekend & you are surounded by many many other canoist, go down this section on a weekday & it is almost all yours.
In the Fall, the colors are grand. The last section flows very slowly & ends at the Ohio River, it is a peaceful drift with some hills surounding the valley.
Good fishing on the entire river, the section near the 5 rentals has some huge fish, living off a steady diet of over-turned canoer lunches, find an eddy & work the flow, nothing bothers these fish.
The Little Miami River is well traveled now days, but that has saved the river. When more people saw the dumping ground it had become years ago, they helped to clean it up. Each year canoers from the rentals bring in tons of trash left by fishermen, thrown in at bridges, tires, & even kitchen sinks. In populated areas, when people discover the local rivers it is a good thing.
So, if the crowds bug you, go out when they are at work & school, don't expect a weekend wilderness experience one hour from 3 million people. Without their interest in the river & their tax base, this river would be one long sewer & dump.
Authors note: I suggest canoers call Morgan's Canoe Rental for river information: 1-800-932-2663 or 513-932-7625; 5701 State Route 350 Oregonia, Ohio 45054. They did a great job cleaning up the river & have watched over it well.
Lots of state boat ramps.
Easy to find, the Little Miami runs (just a little east) between Dayton & Cincinnati, Ohio.