“We want people to feel comfortable and have the knowledge they need to be safe,” said Derrick Keating, MetroParks outdoor recreation coordinator. “Rivers can be dangerous even when they look calm, programs raise awareness about the possible dangers so people can recognize and manage them.”
The MetroParks paddlesports specialist appreciates every opportunity he has to be on the water.
“It’s relaxing, it resets me,” Keating said. “I’m always trying to push myself and continue to learn and it never gets old.”
However, Keating knows that getting started paddling is a bit more challenging than some outdoor activities because the equipment is not as accessible or affordable.
“It can be really hard to start and that’s why we’re here,” he said.
From the family-friendly Try Paddlesports programs, structured Kayak 1 class and casual RiverScape kayak rentals to the American Canoe Association Kayak Instructor certification, the summer is packed with paddling opportunities.
The MetroParks Try Paddling program offers three opportunities to try a variety of solo or tandem recreational kayaks at no cost. MetroParks staff members are on-hand to outfit the paddlers of all ages and discuss safety. See if paddling is for you without spending a dime or try out a few different types of kayaks before buying one of your own.
RiverScape MetroPark is the place for paddling as Taiter’s Kayak Solutions will offer walk-up kayak rentals all summer. Walk-up rental hours will be available on select Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays starting May 26, launching from under the Riverside Bridge along the Great Miami Recreational Trail. The cost is $12 per person per hour and includes a brief tutorial and life jacket use, making it an ideal option for first-time paddlers. Those renting will not be permitted to paddle through the RiverScape River Run whitewater feature but can paddle under the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights.
For those who want to delve deeper into paddling, a progression of classes is offered, starting with Kayak 1 on June 10 at Eastwood MetroPark. Kayak 2 will be offered on August 5 at Eastwood MetroPark. For more information on any of the paddling programs or rental opportunities, visit metroparks.org/paddling.
Self-guided Paddling Excursions
Ready to explore the local waterways? MetroParks paddling specialists have compiled some suggested routes.
Stillwater River – Englewood MetroPark to Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark (~ 5 miles): Put in below the dam at Englewood MetroPark (south) at take out at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark. Parking at both locations.
Great Miami River – West Carrollton to Miamisburg (~ 5.7 miles): Put in below the West Carrollton low head dam and take out at Case Landing at W. Linden Ave. Limited public parking is available.
Mad River/ Great Miami River – Eastwood MetroPark to RiverScape MetroPark (~ 4 miles): Put in near entrance of Eastwood park side. Take out at RiverScape MetroPark River Run feature. For a more moderate paddle and to lengthen your trip, take advantage of the whitewater features at Eastwood and RiverScape MetroParks, and the “Arty” drop by the Dayton Art Institute. Parking is available at Eastwood MetroPark. Street parking is available near RiverScape MetroPark in addition to public parking lots.
Great Miami River – Taylorsville to Island MetroPark (~ 9.3 miles): Put in below the dam at Taylorsville MetroPark and take out at Island MetroPark. Option to trailside camp. Parking at both locations.
Twin Creek – Germantown MetroPark to Cherry St. (~ 3 miles): Put in below the Germantown Dam and take out at Cherry St. (river left) Limited public parking is available.
The flatwater at Eastwood Lagoon (park side) or Eastwood Lake/Blue Lake (lake side) are ideal for those who are new to paddling. Huffman Lake and the Argonne Lake at Possum Creek are also good flatwater paddling destinations.