Canoe camping Midwest

-- Last Updated: May-12-10 10:54 PM EST --


Looking for more canoe camping friendly rivers within 8 hrs of Cincinnati Ohio. Prefer rivers with nice sandy beaches(sandbars)to camp. Not necessarily looking for legal sites, just rivers where I could find sites where I could LNT camp without being hassled. 'Local' favorites are the East and West forks of White River IN, Whitewater River IN, and Little MiamiRiver OH. Any good IL rivers? Anybody know anything of the Salt Fork of the Vermillion? I paddled the Middle Fork of the Vermillion a few years back, and there seemed to be good 'stealth' spots.
I have been to many rivers in a 400 mile radius, just looking for new good opportunities. Flat to class I and II with even the odd class III thrown in. Willing to travel up to 8 hrs for good rivers.

thank you for any suggestions.


– Last Updated: May-13-10 5:13 AM EST –

Head up to Michigan. It's the best choice. I live in Wilmington, and due to the soil anywhere down here, you don't get sand or clear streams. The sewage factor is another matter. Every stream in Ohio has sewage discharge. The new plant they built on the L. Miami near Bellbrook was supposed to be one of the cleanest in the state. My wife and I paddled through an untreated release last summer and it was disgusting! I have some favorite places that I'll give you if you email me, but most are more like 12 hours away. The Au Sable is a nice river for canoe camping, but not if you don't want to see people. I'd love to find closer places, but I'm afraid that campground camping and day paddles are the best options around here. However, there may be some options in N. Indiana. If you find a good river to explore, let me know if you want some company.

Wisconsin River
is within 400 miles as the crow flies, but may not be realistically reachable within 8 hours.

The lower Wisconsin River has about 100 miles of nice flatwater paddling with plenty of sandbar camping available.

Just a bit farther…

– Last Updated: Sep-02-10 2:33 PM EST –

will place you in the Manistee river, north of Cadillac, MI. From M66 to Mesick provides a near true wilderness experieince without going north of the 45th parallel. Excellent fishing, fewer crowds than the Au Sable and great campsites. Local resources include Chippewa and Wilderness; both great, accomodating outfittters who will spot your boat or rent you whatever you need.

Upper Rockcastle, et al
We ( have done the upper Rockcastle (KY). Not much in the way of sandy beaches, but there are islands to camp on. Have also done the Green River through Mammath Cave Park. TN set up a canoe trail in the Chattanooga area.

We did the Green in late summer and
the water was fine. I’ve done the lower Rockcastle, and I think that river will only be usable in spring water conditions.

Consider asking also on the Getting
Together and Going Paddling forum. Your focus isn’t really on wilderness.

Below is a link for a source that used to be on pnet links, and is now functioning again.