Adventure begins at the river. 


Paddlefest is Saturday, August 3


Registration for Paddlefest 2019 will open in January for racers and March for recreational paddlers.

Recreational Paddler Registration

Pre-registration (March 1 - July 31)

Adult (18+) - $55

Youth (4-17) - $25

On-site registration (August 1 - 3)

Adult (18+) - $65

Youth (4-17) - $30


Racer registration

Race to the Roebling (4.2 miles, SUP ONLY)

Pre-registration (January - July 31) - $55

On-site registration (August 1-2) - $65

*no race day registration

NATI/NKY Nine Mile (9.0 miles)

Pre-registration (January - July 31) - $65

On-site registration (August 1-2) - $75

*no race day registration

Registering a group?

Online registration must be completed individually, paddler by paddler. Registering a large family or group might be more efficient via our mail-form. Simply download and complete the form with each paddler’s signature and info and mail to Paddlefest office.

Please call 513.235.9700 for group pricing for 8+ paddlers.


Rental Boats

All rental boats include paddle(s) and life vests. Rental boats quantities are limited so reserve your boat quickly. Rental boats must be claimed at the put-in by 8:00 am on Saturday, August 3.


Single Kayak - $40

Sits one paddler.

Tandem Kayak - $50

Sits two paddlers. Quantities limited, act quickly!

2 Person Canoe - $45

Sits two paddlers with space for a child passenger.

3 Person Canoe - $50


Stand Up Paddle Board - $40

Site two paddlers. New this year!

Stands one. Available for racers, too.


When they’re gone, they’re gone. Register and reserve your rental today


Personal Boats

Boat owners, complete your online registration in advance and drop your boat off during our Friday Night Paddler’s Party or unload the morning of Paddlefest. Paired boat/boater id wristbands will be distributed at the registration tent for boat owners. Be sure to tag your boat!


Boat Drop Off

Personal boats can be dropped off at the put-in at Schmidt Recreation Complex during the Friday Night Paddler’s Party. Boats left overnight will be monitored by security.

Schmidt Recreation Complex

2944 Humbert Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45226


Boat Pick Up

Boats can be collected from the take-out at Gilday Riverside Park until 2:00 pm. Free shuttles will transport paddlers back to the put-in to their vehicles.

Gilday Riverside Park

3540 Southside Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio, 45204


Parking + Shuttles


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.

Saturday Morning Parking

The majority of paddlers, those not pre-positioning their cars at the take-out, will park at the put-in on Saturday morning. Paddlers arriving will boats on Saturday will be directed to the lot nearest the river. Please leave your boat on your vehicle until you complete your registration.

Bright + Early Morning Shuttle

We have a limited number of pre-positioned parking spots at the take-out at Gilday Riverside Park. These parking spots are offered on a first come, first served basis on Saturday morning and include a free shuttle 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.

Shuttle bus will not transport your canoe or kayak. Drop your boat off on Friday evening if you plan to take the early morning shuttle

End of Event Shuttle

Free shuttles are offered to paddlers at the take-out, transporting them back to their cars at the put-in. The final shuttle runs at 2:00 pm.



Paddler safety is our highest priority. Please review the tips below to ensure a safe and enjoyable day on the river at Paddlefest.

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General Safety information

  • All participants must sign a waiver to participate in Paddlefest, acknowledging that they have read the safety rules of participation.

  • The Ohio River will be closed to all commercial and public power boats until 12:30 pm.  Paddlefest participants must be at the Gilday Riverside Park take-out ramp by 12:30 pm.  Paddlers will be on their own recognizance after that time.

  • Pets are welcome but should be equipped with a suitable PFD and physically fit for hours on the water. 

  • Shorelines are slick and slippery.  Most injuries while paddling are due to falls, slips, trips, and back injuries while getting in/out or carrying vessels.  Take care when entering and exiting the water.

  • Weather conditions will likely get hotter, more humid, and windy towards the noon hour.  Be prepared with hat, sunscreen, and quick-dry clothing.  Fill up stations for water bottles will be provided at the start, midway point, and finish of the course.

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paddler safety

  • Participants must wear a Coast Guard Approved personal flotation device (PFD) fully fastened and secured at all times when on the Ohio River.  Removal of PFD constitutes a violation of the rules of participation in Paddlefest and the participant is no longer covered under the provisions of Paddlefest.

  • Participants must be at least 4 years old on the day of Paddlefest.  Parents of children under 12 are responsible for the child’s proper fit and wear of the PFD per manufacturer’s instructions.  Swimming pool flotation devices are not permitted.

  • All participants must be physically fit to endure at least 4 hours of paddling in hot and humid conditions.  Consideration should be given to any health concerns or medication that may be needed.  Participants must have the maturity and capability to handle a paddle and to swim while wearing a PFD.

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Boat Safety

  • Flat bottom, sail, catamaran, or powered vessels are prohibited from Paddlefest.

  • All boats must have a rigid, “V” shaped hull.  No inflatable boats will be permitted.

  • Per Coast Guard rules, a whistle or other means of signaling distress, must be on the vessel.

  • While on the river, stay at least 50 feet from docks, moored vessels, utilities and any other river obstacles.  NEVER paddle between moored vessel/barges and shorelines.  Underwater utilities are dangerous!


Numerous safety boats and safety paddlers will be located along the 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.


In case of on-the-water emergency, call 911.  Be sure to tell the 911 operators you are paddling on the river and try to give your exact location.  After calling 911, signal power safety boats on the water with distress signals (whistle, horn, flagging, or waving paddle).  If possible, in case of emergencies, pull to the Ohio shoreline.

If paddlers have a Maritime radio, channel 16 is the emergency channel to utilize if needed.