Canoeing on the Little Miami River, just north of Cincinnati in Loveland, Ohio is an outdoor activity that everyone can enjoy. The Little Miami River meanders through the steep hills of Southwest Ohio. As I rode through the meandering roads on the way to the river I knew I was in for a treat. The Little Miami River is only thirty minutes north of Cincinnati. With each mile through the beautiful countryside I could feel my excitement grow. I couldn’t believe this beautiful natural resource was only a short car ride away. Why had I never driven up here before?
In the 1970’s the Little Miami River became one of nineteen rivers in the Federal Scenic Rivers Program. This program protects the natural setting of the rivers through out the United States. Development of the river is kept at a minimum, so there are no shopping malls and heavy traffic. The Little Miami River Partnership provides further protection of this natural resource by assisting local communities that the river meanders through. Clean waters and beautiful forests dominate this excursion. Fortunately I had packed a picnic lunch, because I could tell I was going to stay here all day. As I pulled up to Little Miami Canoe Rental I realized I was not the only one ready for some relaxing outdoor fun. The difficulty level of the river is easy making it popular with families, couples, and groups of friends. The river is friendly to people of any age. I saw tiny babies with their parents, teenagers out for a day of fun in the water, groups of twenty-something’s, parents, and grandparents. They flock to the river with their coolers and their floats ready to enjoy a leisurely afternoon floating down the river.
Canoeing the Little Miami River is affordable. I rented my canoe for $15 from Little Miami Canoe Rental. They provide renters with 1 paddle and a life jacket per person. A small deposit is required, which they return when you return their gear. You must sign their release form and then you are on your way. Canoers can choose to take the 10-mile route or the six-mile route down the river. Your canoe is yours for the entire day, so you can take all the time you want. Those who own their canoe can park their car at the Little Miami Canoe Rental parking lot and pay $10 to a bus ride for themselves and their canoe to a higher point on the river.
An old school bus painted brown carried us 10 miles up the river and we were let out at a small landing to enter the water. As I boarded the bus I felt like I had been transported back in time 15 years to summer camp. The driver of the bus informed us of landmarks we would see canoeing along Little Miami River and explained that the rental shop would be closing g at 7pm. I didn’t even have to carry my canoe; it was waiting for me at the waters edge. The landing where the canoes wait is an ideal location to get into your canoe if you have a handicap or physical disability. It slopes gently into the water and is traction is provided with small river rocks. The employees of Little Miami Canoe Rental are friendly and would gladly carry any wheelchairs or walkers back to the rental building.
I chose to tackle the 10-mile canoe trip down the Little Miami River. As I set sail down the river I was amazed at the beauty of the Little Miami River. Calm waters with a mild current gently began to pull my canoe down the river. Paddling I knew I could reach my destination in 2 and one half hours, but I definitely wanted this journey to last as long as possible, so I merely flowed along with the current.
Paddling around me other canoers would say a few amicable words and pass by. The atmosphere is a relaxed and happy along the Little Miami River and good will seems to flow as readily as the current. I passed babies napping in the canoe while their parents shared and afternoon together. Romantic couples were everywhere and large groups of friends took turns flipping each other over into the water. Everyone was happy.
Canoeing down the Little Miami River, my first stop was underneath the tallest bridge in the state of Ohio. Morrow Bridge, part of I71 in Ohio crosses directly over the Little Miami River. Beams of cold gray steal extend far into the sky. It is an amazing display of human ingenuity meeting nature at her finest. I could not even hear the cars passing by above me. In fact, I did not even know I had crossed over this bridge in my car on the way to the Little Miami River. Thanks to the bus driver though, I knew what I was passing under.
Halfway into my trip canoeing down the Little Miami River I came upon a rest stop, for lack of a better word. Canoes crowded a landing that led to an outdoor picnic area, public restrooms, a snack shop, and an ice cream shop. Children ran about happily with their ice cream while parents lounged in the shade. It looked like a huge outdoor party.
All along the Little Miami River families were stopped enjoying the picnics they had packed. Children swam in some of the rare deep parts of the river. Picnic and camp sights dot the land along the river. Way down the river I could see a large number of people all stopped at one place. As I paddled closer I could see there was a rope swing set up and people were waiting in line for their chance to swing from it and jump into the river. For the most part the water had only been about two to three feet deep as a canoed down the river. The water seemed to be a remarkable 15 feet deep below the rope swing. This was one of the only safe places to jump safely into the water.
My canoe trip down the little Miami River ended five and a half hours I after I began my journey. As I approached the spot where I had parked my car and rented my canoe I wished the end had not come so soon. Others were lingering in their canoes, not wanting the trip to be over and I felt the same way. The one afternoon felt like a lifetime and already I couldn’t wait to visit again and relive the whole experience.