Normally my wife and I try to avoid Ohio lakes that are designated unlimited horsepower. After 11:00 AM on the weekend the noise usually significantly detracts from the reason most of us paddle. Paint Creek in southern Ohio, just south of Greenfield, is an unlimited horsepower lake. However, it is also a beautiful lake with heavily wooded shorelines and was formed by damming Paint and Rattlesnake Creeks. The good news is that the most interesting parts are within the lakes designated no wake zones. A round trip from the Paint Creek State Park campground launch site up either Rattlesnake Creek or Paint Creek is about six or seven miles. If you want a longer trip its a beautiful paddle the length of the lake. In the early morning you will only be sharing it with a few bass boats running up the lake to their favorite fishing spot. They have usually gone by you before they become annoying. In the afternoon the boat traffic and noise in the main part of the lake picks up considerably. Up Paint Creek, in the no wake zone at the north end of the lake, are spectacular cliff formations. The map gives no hint that they are there. Rattlesnake Creek is also a beautiful paddle but lacks the cliffs. Weve seen Bald Eagles, Osprey, Wood Ducks, Great Horned Owls, Kingfishers and numerous species of songbirds including Scarlet Tanagers while paddling along the shoreline. Make sure you have a pair of binoculars. Along the Paint Creek stretch there are an adequate number of pullouts for a picnic lunch or exploration. There are more pullouts along Rattlesnake Creek. Water levels can very a great deal depending on the amount of rain but things usually settle down by the end of June. The current in the rivers feeding the lake is not a factor until the water becomes too shallow for paddling. Either a canoe or kayak is a great way to experience this lake.
Camping at Paint Creek State Park and Rocky Fork State Park near by.
From Columbus south on interstate 71 to Hwy 41. South on Hwy 41 to Greenfield and Paint Creek State Park.
Ohio Department of Natural Resources Website.