Ohio River Paddlefest


16th Annual Ohio River Paddlefest – Saturday, August 5, 2017 

Check Out Pictures from Paddlefest 2016!

Visit our photo library here.

Participate in America’s largest paddling trip!
You will love our new 9 mile course this year.  We will start at Schmidt Recreation Complex in Cincinnati’s East End and take out at the Gilday Riverside Park.  Special thanks to our partners with the Cincinnati Recreation Commission who manage both sites.
Enjoy the FREE parking, courtesy of Subaru, easy boat drop off & pick up and the speedy shuttle bus ride back to your vehicle.
Along the way you can explore the mouths of the Licking River and the Mill Creek, paddle under 7 bridges, take in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky skyline, and enjoy the live music and refreshments at the “Halfway Celebration” on the Covington shoreline.  Then relax at our Finish Line Festival (craft beer, food trucks, vendors & exhibits) before returning by shuttle to your vehicle.
On-line Registration is now open.  
Click here to download a mail-in registration form.
If the Coast Guard deems the waters unsafe on August 6, Paddlefest will be rescheduled for the following Saturday, August 13.
The Ohio River Paddlefest is being sponsored and managed this year by Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, a non-profit organization connecting inner city teens to nature and the outdoors year round.  Paddlefest proceeds will support the work of OACGC in 20 area high schools in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  For more information about Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati, go to www.outdooradventureclubs.org and visit us on Facebook.


Click the map below to see the new course!

course map

8.9 mi Paddlefest Float Trip: Registration fee includes t-shirt (guaranteed to those who register in advance), parking, insurance, Half Way Celebration, optional guided paddling tour of Mill Creek, Finish Line Celebration and shuttle bus ride back to Schmidt Recreation Complex.

$35.00 for all ages 15+; $15 for ages 4-14 through May 31

$40.00 for ages 15+; $15 for ages 4-14 from June 1 – August 5

$45 for ages 15+; $20 for ages 4-14 on site, Saturday, August 6

Sponsor a Teen to participate in Paddlefest: Your $25 donation to Outdoor Adventure Clubs of Greater Cincinnati will cover the cost of insurance, transportation, and boat rental for one urban teen to participate for the first time in Paddlefest.

If you don’t have your own boat:

Single Kayak Rental (seats one person) – SOLD OUT

Double Kayak Rental (seats two people) ($45.00 each) – SOLD OUT

Canoe Rental (seats 2 adults and up to 2 small children) – SOLD OUT

*Rental boats include paddle and life jacket (PFD)

Camping Friday, August 5 at Schmidt Recreation Complex

$10.00 per site overlooking the Ohio River through May 31

$15.00 per site June 1 – August 5

One vehicle per site, tent or RV, no electrical or water hookups

For other lodging options: Cincinnati Regional Tourism Network: www.cincinnatiusa.com

PLEASE NOTE: This schedule is subject to change.

June 1- August 1: Regular rate on-line registration (no on-line registration after August 1)

Thursday, August 4: In-Person Registration and packet pick-up at Roads, Rivers, and Trails (118 Main Street, Milford, Ohio 45150) from 4:00-8:00 p.m.

Friday, August 5 – Paddler’s Party for a Cause

Registration, boat drop-off, packet pick-up, and camping at CRC Schmidt Recreation Complex (2944 Humbert Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio 45226) from 4:00-9:00 p.m. with live music, food trucks, craft beer, raffle, gear swap and SUP clinic on the Ohio.  Free parking and admission.

Saturday, August 6 – 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).

6:00-8:30 a.m. – On-site registration, packet pick-up, and boat drop off at Schmidt (free parking)

6:50 a.m. – SUP racer’s meeting (mandatory)

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

7:15 a.m. – Start of SUP race

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

8:30 a.m. – Put-in closes

8:00-10:00 a.m. – Half-Way Celebration at Convington Landing (music, refreshments, port-o-lets, water bottle refill, exhibits & tours of flood wall murals and Living Lands & Waters eco-barge)

8:30-10:45 a.m. – Paddling tour of Mill Creek (15 min. roundtrip paddle to MSD Barrier Dam), Check out this preview of the trip!

9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. – CRC Finish Line Festival at Gilday Riverside Park (music, food trucks, vendors/exhibitors, & craft beer)

9:30 a.m.-1:30 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. – SUP Race Award Presentation 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

1:30 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

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 6.

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 include paddles and life jackets.

Rental boat must 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).

Optional Early Morning Shuttle from Gilday Riverside Park to Schmidt Recreation

If you would like to pre-position your vehicle at the Paddlefest take-out at Gilday Riverside Park, just park there early Saturday morning and take 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.

You will need to drop off your boat and complete your registration at Schmidt on Friday, August 5. The Shuttle Bus will NOT be able to transport your canoe or kayak.

End of Event Shuttle Buses (Ride back to Schmidt Recreation Complex after paddle)

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 1:30 p.m. Paddlers must show their Paddlefest registration wristband to ride the shuttle bus.

Boat Drop Off: You can drop off your canoe or kayak and complete your registration on Friday, August 5 from 4:00-9:00 p.m. and on Saturday, August 6 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.

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” are close to the parking lot for pick up.

Volunteers will 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 2:00 p.m.

All paddlers MUST wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket (PFD) at all times when on the Ohio River. Paddlers who do not comply violate the terms of the Ohio River Paddlefest insurance policy and can jeopardize the continuation of the event in the future. It is recommended that each paddler also carry a whistle on your life jacket or in your boat for use in case of an emergency.

Numerous safety boats and safety paddlers will be located along the 8.9 mile route. Many of them will have on yellow or orange vests and signs on their boats and will be displaying Paddlefest Safety Patrol signs so you can easily locate then should you need help. Safety boats will be in communication with medical personnel and can help transport injured paddlers to shore-based medical assistance.

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. Water and port-o-lets will be available at the Half Way Celebration on the Covington shore at the confluence of the Licking and the Ohio. The Covington Half Way Celebration with live music, refreshments and exhibits will be open from 8:00-10:30 a.m.

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 Covington 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!

Interested in volunteering for Paddlefest 2016?  Fill out our Volunteer Interest Form!

Questions?  Contact: info@ohioriverpaddlefest.org