As my home river, I spend a lot of time on the Maumee River in Northwest Ohio. The Maumee basically runs from Fort Wayne, IN to Lake Erie. My goal is to paddle every section of the river from Indiana to the lake. I've been from Napoleon, OH to Grand Rapids, OH. Grand Rapids to Perrysburg. This trip report chronicles one of the many times I've been from Perrysburg to Lake Erie / Maumee Bay.
Prepared for a 20 odd mile paddle we met at the take-out at the Michigan DNR game area, just across the border off of Summit Street in Point Place. Point Place is a section of Toledo that houses many of the yacht clubs and marinas that service Maumee Bay and the most western end of Lake Erie. After dropping off a vehicle at the take out, we loaded up and headed to Perrysburg. In downtown Perrysburg, off of East Front Street there is a well-maintained boat launch off of Maple street. Maple street dead ends into the Maumee River.
After launching just down river from scenic Perrysburg, we head towards downtown Toledo. While this section of the river isn't particularly rugged or wild, it makes up for it in diversity. At this point the river is 500-600 yards wide. This part of the trip is marked by big open water, tall, steep banks, Large homes over looking the water, industry, Toledo's early shipping history and our current shipping history. One of the primary reasons for this trip was to see some of the fall color. The Maumee is lined with trees and we were able to capture the fauna on a good day. The air was crisp, the sky clear blue and high clouds made for a perfect fall paddle.
Just down river from Perrysburg, you'll cross under the Ohio Turnpike (80/90) and a gothic looking train bridge. The architecture is interesting to look at. Paddling in late October allowed us to see the great fall color and it also gave us free reign of the river. Many of the boats that clog this portion of the Maumee were put away for the year.
Cruising into downtown Toledo, there are numerous islands to investigate and make for good stopping grounds for a snack or a rest. Of interesting value is Little Sister Island. Little Sister is privately owned and houses a small community of one-room cottages. These cottages are well maintained and make for interesting viewing. I guess it's not something you would expect to see in the middle of the Maumee River. There is a section near this island that is referred to as Skiers alley. It's my guess the protection from Little Sister Island provides smooth water for water-skiing.
As you enter downtown the river is still very wide. You'll cross under the I-75 bridge, and the Anthony Wayne High Level bridge (for you map-hounds this is also Route 2, You can go all the way to Cleveland on route 2). After the I-75 bridge you'll get a view of "Toledo's Link to World Markets" (at least that's what it says painted on the side of the gain mills on the shoreline). Every time I've done this trip, there are giant lake freighters filling up or unloading at any one of these locations. I've talked to Merchant Marine workers from Canada, Panama and New York. I guess it's interesting to them seeing a little boat bobbing next to them as it is for me to yell up 4 stories to the side of a lake freighter. Once and a while I'll see someone fishing off the side of one of these monsters. Bobber floating with 4 stories of line flittering in the wind.
It's neat to see downtown Toledo from the river perspective. Downtown on river left, Owens Corning World Headquarters on the left. International Park and our new riverside restaurants on river right. We have a floating freighter museum the Willis Boyer moored in downtown. It's another opportunity to see the perspective of this gigantic ships. Leaving downtown you'll see our beautiful riverfront, our sports arena, and our newest project, the Multi-million dollar Maumee River Crossing Bridge. The are re-routing I-280 onto a gigantic single pier bridge that will rival any bridge built today. On our paddle they had the cofier dam finished and were beginning construction on the cener pier. One interesting point of note, on this trip an old passenger liner was moured in International park and served as a hauned boat for Halloween.
Between Downtown and Point Place, this trip is marked by two things, our stinky sewage treatment plant on river left and our ship yards on the right. I try to steer clear of the sewage plant and focus on the ship-yards. You get an industrial view of Toledo and a neat prospective at the water-line.
As you pass Point Place and the shipping yards, you'll enter Maumee Bay and the North Cape section of Maumee Bay. On river left is Grassy island, a large Island that you can stop for a break or grab a bite to eat. If you're lucky you'll catch tug-boats working a ship into port or into downtown.
I've reported before on the North Cape section of Maumee Bay. I've listed this trip in the paddling places of Paddling.net. There are Islands and many inlets to explore. As you round Point Place and head for the take out. You'll have to have your bearings in order. The take out is at Halfway Creek. There are several other creeks that feed into Maumee Bay and if you don't know which one to access, it's easy to get turned around and this is the last thing you want to happen after a long day of paddling
This is a big water trip with the potential to have a lot of boat traffic. Be careful and keep your eyes open. Dress appropriately and make sure you bring plenty of water and food. The current isn't particularly swift and there are no rapids, this is as close to lake paddling you can get and still be on a river
This is a day trip and all of the shoreline is private property until you reach Maumee Bay. There are campable islands in the North Cape section of the Bay. Since I've last reported Turtle Island is now off limits. It was always owned but is now inhabited and enforced.
Ohio Boater registration tags.
Put-in: I-75 North to Ottawa River Road Exit. Take Ottawa River road along the Ottawa River until it dead-ends into Summit Street. Go North on Summit Street until you turn right into the Michigan DNR launch. There is a marina right at the turn.
To Put-in from Take out. Retrace your route and head back down I-75. Exit at 795, Go west on 795. Turn right on W. Boundary Street. Turn left on East Front Street. Right onto Maple and the launch is at the end of Maple Street
I highly recommend picking up the coast guard charts for the western end of Lake Erie. This will show the Maumee River from Perrysbrug to Maumee Bay.