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Mad River in Ohio

Trip Overview

This is an excellent 2-3 day trip down the only natural trout stream in the State of Ohio. It moves well and has some interesting Class I depending on the rainfall.

My friend and I had completed the Little Miami River in June and were looking for a weekend sized river. We started our trip in August on a Friday at 5pm by traveling north on US 68 to West Liberty, Ohio.

Enter the stream at the bridge just south of town. The water was just deep enough for our kayaks. We went 10 miles that evening and camped at the Birch Bark Canoe Livery.

Up early an off through perfectly clear water filled with trout and the occasional fisherman. The small fords were easily shot without problems. The northern section is very unspoiled. Passing through Springfield you hear traffic and see some buildings. Once south of Aarons Canoe & Kayak Center (unfriendly dont allow stops for snacks) there are no more liveries and few people on the river. We saw only one other group of kayakers camped for the night on a bar. This section of river has faster water and one dangerous spot with a concrete road on top of culverts take out river right. Through out the day we saw heron, kingfisher, hawks, and osprey. As we passed the reserve area around Wright Paterson Air Force Base we saw river otters. We arrived at Huffman Dam Park at 9:15 just as we lost the light after a 35 mile day. The dam is 73 feet high and quite a steep portage.

The next morning we started early and assumed that since this section went through Dayton that is would be very urban but we were pleasantly surprised with little signs of people and some great Class 1 water. We finished the river where it ends in downtown Dayton at the Great Miami River at 11am where our vehicle had been left at the White Water Warehouse parking area.


Camp on the sand bars. Food available in Springfield.


Old Town Kayaks - Loon 111, Otter




Starts at West Liberty Ohio where US 68 crosses river just south of town.

Ends in downtown Dayton at Deeds Park.


There is a great website with GPS readings and mileage on all river bridges and access points -

  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Sport/Activity: Kayaking
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip