Paddle in these MetroParks:
The Dayton region offers abundant opportunities for paddling! The following parks offer river or flat water access where paddling is permitted:
- Aullwood Garden MetroPark
- Carriage Hill MetroPark
- Eastwood MetroPark
- Englewood MetroPark
- Germantown MetroPark
- Huffman MetroPark
- Taylorsville MetroPark
- Twin Creek MetroPark
- Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark
-Perfect Paddles Travel Brief-
Best Time of Year to Visit:
Throughout the summer, late spring, and through fall are the best times to visit Dayton as winters are quite cold. Temperatures regularly drop below zero during the coldest months. (www.tripadvisor.com)
June - 83° / 63°
July - 87° / 67°August - 86°
SUP Environments to Paddle In
SUP Activity Highlights:
The beautiful parks of Dayton are a great place to experience a guided tour. Let an experienced guide take you on an unforgettable journey through the beautiful waters. To look up a tour in your desired area, use our Locations/Activities guide HERE!
Perfect Paddles Deals to Get Your Ready for Your Trip:
RHEOS (Floating) Sunglasses- 15% off with Member Benefits
Duk Gear- 20% off a waterproof cell phone case with Member Benefits
Amphibian Outdoors- Save $20 on your purchase with Member Benefits
Check out more of our gear options HERE!
Interested in any of these extra activities? Be sure to head HERE to find a list of paddle pros in the area and what they offer!
National Museum of the US Air Force: The National Museum of the United States Air Force is the official museum of the United States Air Force located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, 6 miles northeast of Dayton, Ohio. The NMUSAF is the oldest and largest military aviation museum in the world, with more than 360 aircraft and missiles on display
Carillon Historic Park: Carillon Historical Park is a 65-acre park and museum in Dayton, Ohio, which contains historic buildings and exhibits concerning the history of technology and the history of Dayton and its residents from 1796 to the present. The historical elements of the park were the brainchild of Colonel Edward Deeds.
The Dayton Art Institute: The Dayton Art Institute is a museum of fine arts in Dayton, Ohio, United States. The Dayton Art Institute has been rated one of the top 10 best art museums in the United States for children. The museum also ranks in the top 3% of all art museums in North America in 3 of 4 factors
Boonshoft Museum of Discovery: The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery is a children's museum, science and technology center and zoo in Dayton, Ohio, United States that focuses on science and natural history. Exhibits include an extensive natural history collection as well as maintaining a collection of live animals native to Ohio and abroad.
Cox Arboretum MetroPark: The Cox Arboretum and Gardens MetroPark is a 189-acre arboretum and park located at 6733 Springboro Pike, Dayton, Ohio. It is open daily without charge. Cox Arboretum and Gardens MetroPark is one of many Dayton area parks within the Five Rivers Metroparks system
For reference, be sure to check out our Perfect Paddles Activities map! For the Dayton, Ohio Area, you will find it below:
Perfect Paddles Shops/Outfitters we recommend:
Unfortunately, there are no local shops in Dayton, Ohio at the moment. The closest shop we can recommend at the moment is Killin' It Kayaks located in Barberton, Ohio. We will update as new shops are added almost daily!
Buddy Deals: Don’t forget to take advantage of our fantastic Buddy Deals for exclusive discounts for our members! To become a member head HERE.
Regional Water Trails
A water trail is an official state designation given to a river or creek primarily used for recreational canoeing and kayaking. For a stretch of water to garner official state designation as a water trail it needs to include a public planning process, maps and signage, access points, management/stewardship commitment, safety information, and local government partnership.
The Great Miami River, Mad River, and Stillwater River were designated as state water trails in August, 2010 and all three water trails were designated as a national water trail in 2016. These three water trails are managed in partnership with the Miami Conservancy District, and other local government organizations.
Signing up for an instructional program is a great way to get started in local paddlesports. Five Rivers MetroParks offers programs for a variety of paddlesports, designed to build familiarity with our local waterways and help you build your confidence in getting on them. See our program overview below to find your niche.
Mad River Run
Local whitewater that is part recreation, part conservation
Opened in 2013, the Mad River Run in Eastwood MetroPark not only improves public access to the river for recreational purposes, it also improves the aquatic habitat and safety characteristics of the Mad River. This construction was funded in part by a generous $100,000 donation from the Rotary Club of Dayton.
The Mad and our other rivers are vital to Five Rivers MetroParks’ commitment to outdoor recreation and conservation leadership efforts to protect our natural resources. Protection of our river corridors provides critical habitat for wildlife to thrive and for our community to discover the wonders of nature.
The in-river feature includes two passageways:
- River Right – smooth water passageway for novice paddlers
- River Left – whitewater play feature
Eastwood Blue Lake
This small, sheltered lake at Eastwood MetroPark is a great place for beginners to try paddlesports for the first time. Use the 1401 Harshman road entrance, and drive to the other end of the park.
This mile-long, 185-acre lake is fed by water from the Mad River and is part of a system of ponds, lakes and lagoons located in the area that serve as artificial charge basins for the Dayton well fields found nearby. It is a popular site for boating and fishing. In addition to its recreational uses, Eastwood Lake is well known for its migratory bird populations, including waterfowl, osprey, shorebirds, and gulls. A viewing area for a pair of Bald Eagles nesting in the well field across Harshman Rd. has been designated at the east end of the lake.
The Eastwood Lagoon is three-quarters of a mile long, has seven islands, several docks and a ramp. The lagoon can be accessed from the docks near the restroom or from the ramp at the corner of the last parking lot. This is a great body of water for beginning paddlers to explore.
Mad River Harshman Road Access
Looking for a trip on the Miami Valley's only whitewater river? Then the 4-mile stretch of the Mad River between Eastwood and RiverScape is for you. This access point at Eastwood includes a changing booth, porta john and parking. Carefully cross the bike path and put your boat into the river.
RiverScape River Run
RiverScape River Run makes our downtown riverfront more accessible for the entire community. The amenity creates a long list of benefits for downtown Dayton and the region, including:
- A safer river.
- Improved water quality and aquatic habitats.
- Continued flood protection.
- An opportunity for the community to connect with the river in the urban core.
- A dynamic downtown scene for residents, businesses and visitors.
- A regional recreation destination.
- A more vibrant city that will attract and retain the talented workforce we need to continue to grow Dayton’s economy.
RiverScape River Run opens the downtown river to a beautiful seven-mile paddle from Eastwood MetroPark on the Mad River, through downtown to the Carillon Historical Park and University of Dayton area.
A dangerous low dam in the Great Miami River located near the Dayton Art Institute was removed and two structures that span the river have been built, each with two passageways: one smooth-water passageway for novice paddlers and one whitewater play feature for more experienced paddlers. The project also allows people to fish, sunbathe and enjoy the river downtown in new ways.
River Run also attracts experienced “play boat” kayakers who turn cartwheels, flips and rolls in the wave created by the drop. These kayakers attract numerous spectators to the shore to watch them, creating a vibrant scene along our downtown riverfront and bikeway.
How can I access RiverScape River Run?
Visitors using RiverScape River Run’s Feature #1 can park in one of the available public parking spaces downtown, particularly on Monument Avenue and Jefferson, St. Clair, and Harries streets. On-street, metered parking is free on weekdays after 6 PM and all day on weekends and also at the Miami Conservancy District parking lot, off Jefferson St. behind 38 E. Monument Ave., on evenings and weekends.
Parking to access Feature #2 is available evening and weekends at the west end of Monument Avenue under the I-75 bridge.
Feature #1: There are three river access points in RiverScape Metropark:
- Stairs at the west end of the park at Jefferson Street.
- Ramp and stairs in the center of the park between Jefferson and St. Clair streets.
- Stairs toward the east end of the park at St. Clair Street.
Feature #2: River access is available at either end of the Dayton View Bridge at the west end of Monument Avenue:
- Ramp and stairs at the east end of the Dayton View Bridge.
- Stairs at the west end of the Dayton View Bridge.
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- Location Info Guide