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Experiencing the Olentangy by Boat

Postcard of the Lake House at Olentangy Park, 1911.

Postcard of the Lake House at Olentangy Park, 1911.

Do you drive over the bridges of the Olentangy day after day and admire its beauty? Do you see kayakers and canoers? Have you ever wondered, “how can I do that?”

Lisa Daris, an urban environmental optimist and owner of Olentangy Paddle will be the guest lecturer at the next FLOW public meeting, Monday, February 1 at 7 pm (address below). Lisa will talk about experiencing the river in a boat! She will give pointers about where to put-in, where to take-out, and share insights about the wildlife and changing health of the Olentangy.

We will have a RAFFLE for FLOW shirts and a few other prizes, and we would love for you to participate!

Refreshments and snacks will be provided. Please let us know if you intend to make it out!

When and Where:
Monday, February 1
7:15 PM – 8:30 PM

Veritas Community Church
345 E 2nd Ave, Columbus, Ohio 43201


Fishermen on Olentangy River

Fishermen on the Olentangy River
© George C. Anderson

The Olentangy River has a history as a fishing destination. Early in the 1900’s the Olentangy was known to sport fishers as a haven for small mouth bass. Although sport fish populations declined in the middle of the century, small mouth bass and other game fish have become more abundant in recent years. Fly fisherman are gradually becoming a common sight on the river once again.

In general, fish on the Olentangy are considered safe for human consumption, but some restrictions and precautions do apply. If you have questions, check the Ohio Sport Fish Consumption Advisory.

For more information:
Central Ohio Fly Fishers

Hiking and Biking

Turkey Run © George C. Anderson

Hiking and Walking

Sometimes the best way to explore the watershed is by walking through it. If you venture into our local parks, you’ll discover steep-banked ravines and shale outcroppings, Adena Indian Mounds and historic cemeteries. During the spring, spectacular wildflowers bloom, and during the fall the woodlands explode into yellows, oranges, and reds. It’s all there waiting to be found.

If you want to adventure with us, check FLOW’s calendar for upcoming events!


Cyclist on trail © MORPC

The paved Olentangy Multi-use Trail runs along the Olentangy River 12.75 miles from Worthington south to Broad Street in downtown Columbus. The path supports a wide range of recreational opportunities along the river, all while offering the chance to enjoy fresh air and exercise in a unique, natural setting.

The Olentangy Trail

For the Birds

Wounded heron © George C. Anderson

The Olentangy River watershed forms part of a large migratory corridor that provides food, water, and shelter to birds as they fly south in late Fall and north in early Spring. To highlight the importance of maintaining clean environmental conditions for these travelers, FLOW sponsors bird watching hikes during migration periods. Birding enthusiasts can meet others interested in Ornithology, and can also benefit from the expertise of local bird experts.

Check the events calendar for details about upcoming hikes near you. FLOW is also the sponsor of an atlas block in Delaware County for Ohio Breeding Bird Atlas II.

For more information:

The Ohio Ornithological Society: The Ohio Birding Site Guide
Columbus Audubon: Christmas Bird Count
Ohio Department of Natural Resources: Riparian Birds of Ohio Scenic Rivers
Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative
Birds at the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park

Canoeing the Olentangy River (now and then)

Olentangy Water Trail

Kayaker, November 1998
© George C. Anderson

FLOW worked with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the City of Columbus to create the Olentangy Water Trail.  The trail was created in 2007 with the passage by the Columbus City Council of a resolution sponsored by Council Member Priscilla Tyson. The resolution designated a water trail on the Olentangy River from Kenney Park to the confluence with the Scioto River. In 2013 the Olentangy River Water Trail was designated a state protected water trail by ODNR.

In addition to the water trail designation the City has created a detailed map to help boaters plan their routes and has installed large signs to warn boaters of hazards such as lowhead dams.

Olentangy River Water Trail Map and Guide
Ohio Water Trails
Current stream flow on the lower Olentangy River
USGS Real-Time Water Data for the Olentangy River near Delaware

Boating on the Olentangy River circa 1910.

Postcard of Lake House at Olentangy Park on the Olentangy River, circa 1910.

Boaters have long explored the Olentangy River’s many bends and heavily wooded reaches. The links below show canoeists on the Olentangy River, and the boat house at Olentangy Park. Olentangy Park was an amusement park in Clintonville that was open in the early part of the 20th century.

These links open historic photos at
Olentangy Park Canoe Club
Canoeing on the Olentangy River in 1915
Regatta Day at Olentangy Park