Thank You for Making Paddlefest 2018 a Great Success!

Paddlefest 2018 is Presented by

A Salute to Bob Morgan

Paddlefest salutes Bob Morgan, a pioneer in the paddlesports industry, who passed away this spring at th age of 85.  Bob took his first Candaian Wilderness trip with his brother at age 14 and thus began a lifelong love of rivers and the outdoors.

While teaching at Sycamore Junior High School Bob began the Canoe Trails program and spent his summers guiding and teaching young people the art of Wilderness canoe camping.  With his wife June and their five sons assisting Bob started Morgan’s Canoe Livery at Ft. Ancient on the Little Miami River in 1969.  Shortly thereafter he opened another livery on the Whitewater River in Brookville, IN.
Bob is credited with being one of the whitewater rafting pioneers of the New and Gauley Rivers in West Virginia.
Bob and June were the driving force behind the clean up of the Little Miami and its designation as Ohio’s first Wild and Scenic River in 1969.  To protect a river, Bob believed you needed to enjoy and appreciate it.  All of us who love rivers and paddling owe Bob a huge thanks for his vision, persistence and hard work!

Paddlefest 2017 Photos

Thanks to Byrn Weller Photography and our photography team!

Paddlefest 2017 Drone Footage

with Rhythm on the River performance by Full Moon Ranch

Digital Guide to the Ohio Riverside

Open the Guide as you paddle to learn about local and historical points of interest along our 9 mile paddling course.  

Thanks to our friends at OKI for their collaboration on this project!

Paddlefest 2018 Information


Registration for Paddlefest 2018 will open in January, with online and mail-in options. For the best deal on our registration rates and selection of rental boats, REGISTER EARLY!

Registration rates for Paddlefest

January – March 1 Winter Special – $40

March 2 – July 31 Standard Rate – $50

August 1 – 4 On-site Registration Rate – $50 + $10 on-site registration fee

Registration fee includes t-shirt (guaranteed to those who register by July 31), “goodie bag” (with waterproof cell phone pouch, mini first aid kit, lip balm, etc.), parking, insurance, optional guided paddling tour of Mill Creek, Finish Line Celebration and shuttle bus ride (either before the paddle from take-out to Schmidt Recreation Complex OR after the paddle back to Schmidt).

Packet Pick Up
There are three opportunities for you to pick up your paddler’s packet (goodie bag, t-shirt, wristbands).
Wednesday, August 1 – West Side Brewery, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Thursday, August 2 – Fifty West Brewing, 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Friday, August 3 – Paddler’s Party at Schmidt Recreation Complex, 4:00 – 8:00 pm
Saturday, August 4 – Paddlefest put-in at Schmidt Recreation Complex, 6:00 – 8:30 am 


A special thanks to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, which manages both our put-in and take-out sites. 





Rental kayaks, canoes, tandems, and stand up paddle boards are available for participants who don’t own a boat, thanks to our rental livery partners.  Rental fees include boat/board, life vest, and paddles.  Rental boats go quickly!  Reserve yours early!
Rental Boat/Board Rates
Single Kayak (seats one person) – $40
Tandem Kayak (seats two people) – $45
Canoe (seats two people) – $45
Stand Up Paddle Board (stands one person) – $40
Some Notes for Boat/Board Renters
If you are renting a canoe or kayak, you must complete your registration and claim your boat at the registration booth at the Schmidt Recreation Complex NO LATER than 8:00 a.m. on Paddlefest morning, August 4.
Please arrive earlier to be sure you do not miss the deadline. Rental boats not claimed by the 8:00 a.m. deadline will be rented to waiting list paddlers. Rental boats need to arrive at the Finish Line Festival take-out no later than 12:00 p.m. (so they can be loaded and returned by truck to our canoe livery partners for reuse that afternoon).


Boat Drop Off: You can drop off your canoe or kayak and complete your registration on Friday, August 3 from 4:00-8:00 p.m. and on Saturday, August 4 from 6:00-8:30 a.m. at the Schmidt Recreation Complex (2944 Humbert Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226) in Cincinnati’s East End. Parking at Schmidt is FREE

We encourage you to drop off your boat and complete your registration on Friday to avoid the rush Saturday morning. Please be sure to put your “Boat Check” tag (which you will receive at registration) on your boat and the matching one on your wrist (along with your registration wristband).

Outdoor Adventure Clubs volunteers will help you unload your boat and place it on the edge of the parking lot in a secure area close to the boat ramp. The boat storage area will be patrolled Friday evening and overnight by an off duty law enforcement officer. Paddlefest is not responsible for any damage to boats left overnight on site.

Boat Pick Up: Outdoor Adventure Clubs volunteers will help you take your canoe or kayak out of the Ohio at the boat ramp at Gilday Riverside Park (3540 Southside Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45204) and place it in our “boat security” close to the parking lot for pick up.

Volunteers will also be available to help load your boat onto your vehicle- and will check your “boat check” tags to be sure they match before you leave the parking lot. Deadline to pick up your boat from the take-out is 2:30 p.m.  


Paddlers, grab your friends and family and join us for a great night by the river on the evening before Paddlefest!  Starting at 4:00 pm at Schmidt Recreation Complex, paddlers can complete their registration and pick up their goodie bag with Paddlefest t-shirt.  If you have your own boat, drop it off in our secure boat staging area.

Then stick around and enjoy all the fun our Friday Night Paddler’s Party has to offer
Live Music – Food Trucks – Local Craft Beer – Exhibitors – Wooden Boat Display – Raffle
Note: We aren’t holding a Gear Swap at the Friday Night Party this year!
Camping: Camp alongside the river on the eve of Paddlefest, following our Friday Night Paddler’s party. Reserve your site online as part of your Paddlefest registration process. If space permits, camping sites can be purchased on Friday night.  Camping check in begins at 4:00 pm on Friday.

Each camping reservation permits one vehicle to park overnight at Schmidt Recreation Complex. Reserve accordingly. NO WATER OR ELECTRICAL HOOKUPS FOR RVS.





A special thanks to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, which manages both our put-in and take-out sites.  




After finishing our 9.0 mile float, enjoy our Finish Line Festival, complete with live music, food trucks, craft beer, refreshments, and vendors!  Shuttle buses back to Schmidt Recreation Complex will be waiting to transport you back to your car and volunteer teams will be on site to help you portage your boat from the water to your car.  The Festival runs until 2:00 pm, when the last shuttle departs.



A special thanks to the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, which manages both our put-in and take-out sites.  


Friday, August 3 – Paddler’s Party and Boat Drop Off at Schmidt Recreation Complex

4:00-8:00 pm – On-site registration, packet pickup, camping check-in & boat drop off 

4:00-9:00 pm – Paddler’s Party for a Cause: including live music, food trucks & craft beer.  Plus exhibitors, wooden boat display and raffle.

5:00, 6:00, and 7:00 pm – Paddlefest Orientation at the Boat Ramp, learn more about the event and paddling the Ohio

Saturday, August 4 – Paddle the Ohio

6:00-7:30 a.m. – FREE Parking and optional early shuttle from take-out at Gilday Riverside Park (free parking) to Schmidt Recreation Complex put-in (NO shuttle service after 7:30 am from Gilday Riverside Park to Schmidt).

6:30-8:30 a.m. – On-site registration (no race day registration), packet pick-up, and boat drop off at Schmidt (free parking)

6:45 a.m. – Racer meeting (mandatory), racers enter water

7:00-8:30 a.m. – Paddlers put-in and depart

8:00 a.m. – Deadline to claim rental boats

8:30 a.m. – Put-in closes

8:30-10:45 a.m. – Mill Creek Mile (30 min. round trip paddle, including the Barrier Dam and the MSD plant). Check out this preview of the trip!

9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Finish Line Festival at Gilday Riverside Park (music, food trucks, vendors/exhibitors, & craft beer)

9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Shuttle buses run back to Schmidt put-in

9:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. – Boat pick-up at Gilday Riverside Park

11:00 a.m. – Presentation of race awards at Gilday Riverside Park

12:00 p.m. – Deadline for all boats to take-out at Gilday Riverside Park

12:00 p.m. – Ohio River reopens to barge and power boat traffic

2:00 p.m. – Last shuttle bus leaves Gilday Riverside Park for Schmidt put-in

2:00 p.m. – Deadline to pick up boats at Gilday Riverside Park take-out






Friday Night Parking
On-site parking for the Friday Paddler’s Party will be available with reserved spots for overnight campers. Parking spaces at Schmidt Recreation Complex are limited but additional parking can be found on adjacent streets and at Riverview East Academy.  Friday’s party is just a quick walk from Riverview East down the bike trail. Volunteers will be on-site to direct and assist with parking.
Optional Early Morning Shuttle
We have a limited number of pre-positioned parking spots at the Paddlefest take-out at Gilday Riverside Park. These parking spots are offered on a first come, first served basis on Saturday morning and include a Paddlefest Shuttle Bus back to the put-in at the Schmidt Recreation Complex. Parking at Gilday Riverside Park is FREE. Shuttles run from 6:00 – 7:30 a.m. to Schmidt and take about 20 minutes, so plan accordingly. Shuttles will not be offered after 7:30 am.

You will need to drop off your boat and complete your registration at Schmidt on Friday, August 3. The Shuttle bus will NOT be able to transport your canoe or kayak.

End of Event Shuttle Buses 
If you park Saturday morning at the put-in, you can take our free afternoon shuttle. Shuttle buses will take you back to your vehicle at the Schmidt Recreation Complex starting at 9:30 a.m. The LAST bus will leave from Gilday Riverside Park at 2:00 p.m. Paddlers must show their Paddlefest registration wristband to ride the shuttle bus.


Restrooms and Water: Restrooms and port-o-lets will be available at the put-in at the Schmidt Recreation Complex and at the take-out at Gilday Riverside Park. 

What to Bring: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses with a strap, water, cash for food and refreshments, shoes, waterproof camera, and an extra shirt. Please make sure you use sunscreen before you get into your boat. Water bottle refills will be available at the  Half Way Celebration and at the Finish Line Festival at Gilday Riverside Park.

What not to Bring: No alcohol and drugs, weapons, valuables you cannot afford to lose in the Ohio River!

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!