Paddling Ohio’s Scenic Scioto River

Do a paddle-to-bike trip on this suburban section of the Scioto through the northwest outskirts of Columbus.

Close to home with easy access and a good bike-shuttle option: The Scioto River in the suburb of Dublin checks all the boxes for Columbus river-runners considering the best paddling stretches of the watershed that defines central Ohio. This section of river, less than 30 minutes north of downtown, is close to development and roads (hence, the easy access) yet is a beautiful corridor of green space right in the city. The immediate proximity of this worthy 3-mile stretch can’t be overstated, especially considering the numerous other (less interesting and accessible) sections that make up the Scioto’s full 231 miles as the longest river entirely within the boundaries of the Buckeye State. Combine the float with a 3-mile return bike ride on paths tracing the river to get a two-in-one outing. 

Recommended Route: Amberleigh Community Park to Dublin Spring Park

Here in Dublin, the Scioto cuts a deep river valley by central Ohio standards, making for steep access points. But the river is also quite tranquil with mostly flatwater and a few riffles, so a capable standup paddleboard or lightweight kayak is your best bet for this float. Spring and early summer have the most reliable water flow. Start at the takeout at Dublin Spring Park. There is limited street parking, so drop off a bike (recommended, though you’ll have to make do as there is no bike rack) or park a vehicle here. If you can’t find a spot, the public library is north a couple of blocks on High Street.

Drive upstream, paralleling the river, to launch at Amberleigh Community Park. Here the city of Dubin has installed a kayak slide to make the steep river access quite easy. From Amberleigh, enjoy a casual float surrounded by a riparian forest and keep your eyes peeled for water-loving birds like kingfishers and great blue herons. As you continue downstream, you’ll approach Riverside Crossing Park and the white, S-shaped Dublin Link Bridge, which opened to pedestrians and bicycles in 2020. 

After floating underneath the Dublin Link Bridge, continue downstream until you paddle under the arched, stone Bridge Street Bridge, where you will then exit west (river-right) and take out at Dublin Spring Park. Take a few minutes to visit the namesake Dublin Spring right near the river’s edge and the informational signage outlining the history of the area and the spring, once used for drinking water. From the spring, carry your rig up the asphalt path out of the river valley to your vehicle or your bicycle. To bike back to Amberleigh Community Park, ride the bike paths that parallel North High Street and Dublin Road. More info: 

Getting There

From Interstate 270 in Dublin, take the U.S. Route 33/Bridge Street Exit and head east about 1 mile. Turn right (south) onto South High Street and then left onto Spring Hill Lane to find parking near Dublin Spring Park. To shuttle, head north on High Street until it turns into Dublin Road. Continue north until you turn right on Memorial Drive. 

Refresh & Refuel

Don’t miss the must-stop at Jeni’s ice cream, at the corner of Bridge and High streets. Ask about any limited-edition flavors.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.