What river is this?
Our trips take place within a 5.2-mile section of the Little Miami River.
How long is the trip, and where does it start and end?
We offer a 5.2-mile trip for canoeing and kayaking that takes 2 to 3 hours of casual paddling on average. Please note that the time to complete the trip can vary depending on paddling speed and how often you paddle. If you decided not to paddle at all, this trip could easily take 5+ hours. After customers arrive and check-in at Bellbrook Canoe Rental, we drive them to the Narrows Reserve on 2575 Indian Ripple Rd, Xenia, OH 45385. Upon arrival, customers will receive their canoes/kayaks and enter the river. They will then paddle downstream back to Bellbrook Canoe Rental, where the trip ends.
For tubing, we have two trips. Our normal tube trip is roughly 1 mile long and takes 30 minutes to 1 hour on average, depending on water levels. For this trip, we take customers to Mill Bridge Launch Park in Bellbrook. They then float downstream back to Bellbrook Canoe Rental, where they exit. We will take customers back up as many times as they wish until 3:00pmsince this is a fairly short float. CANOES AND KAYAKS DO NOT GO ON THIS TRIP!!!
We have a longer tube trip that starts at the Narrows Reserve and ends at Bellbrook Canoe Rental (like the canoes and kayaks). This trip usually takes 5 to 6 hours, depending on water levels. It takes longer than canoes and kayaks typically do because you are not paddling. This trip is not offered after 12 pm (11 am in July; we may stop running this trip). This trip is not for the faint of heart because it is long. Being towed by a canoe/kayak does very little to speed up this trip, and the tube could be damaged in the process. We offer this trip for the few who like it, but you have been warned!
When do trips leave, and when should I arrive?
Trips leave a little before every hour on weekdays from 10 am to 3 pm, and 9 am to 3 pm on weekends. We highly recommend making reservations for your trip online, especially for weekends. If you made a reservation, you need to arrive at Bellbrook Canoe Rental at least 40 minutes before your trip to check-in. For example, if you are going on the 1 pm trip, you would need to arrive by 12:20 pm. If you arrive any later, YOU WILL RISK LOSING YOUR RESERVATION to walk-ins, and you WILL NOT RECEIVE A REFUND. If you did not have a reservation, you need to arrive at Bellbrook Canoe Rental 30 minutes before the hour if you are hoping to go out. At that time, we will start a 10-minute window for walk-ins to sign up if we have spots available. TRIPS FOR WALK-INS ARE NOT GUARANTEED!! Walk-ins also need to bring an ID.
At 20 minutes till the hour of your trip, registration/check-in WILL CLOSE, and we will direct customers to the bus/busses to load. We end registration/check-in 20 minutes early because we need the time to make final adjustments for the trip, and loading the bus/pre-trip instruction is part of the process. Depending on how long this process takes, we might very well leave before the hour. Therefore, if you are in a group, you need to be there when we start loading… regardless of another person checked in already. If you arrive any later, you risk missing the trip, and there will be no refunds. All check-ins and registration is completed at the office window.
Let’s use the 12:00 pm trip. Those with reservations need to arrive by 11:20 am. That will give us till 11:30 am to work through a potential line. At 11:30, we will allow walk-ins to sign up if spots are available. We will still check in those with reservations if their spot has not been taken. This will continue until 11:40 am. At that time, registration and check-ins will close, and we will start loading the busses. Once on the bus, customers will be given pre-trip instructions. Once that is done, and we are ready, the bus will leave.
How long can I be on the water?
All rented equipment must be back by 7 pm regardless of when you went out. Being late can result in a $1 per minute fine and/or a lifetime ban from coming on our property. This is not a way to “buy more time.” We may even end your trip short, if possible, for us to do so. We do not treat people who are late kindly at all. If you plan not to paddle much, try to avoid the 2 pm and 3 pm trips.
Can I receive refunds or reschedule my trip?
We will refund you for a trip, provided we are notified at least 24 hours in advance via email. We will not do same-day refunds for any reason. We will offer one chance for you to reschedule your trip to another day. We typically will not allow you to reschedule trips to a different hour on the same day of your reservation unless done at least 24 hours in advance. This is because rescheduling reservations to different hours on the same day slows down our check-in process too much. We do not offer same-day reservations because you have taken a spot from someone else who could have made a reservation online. Even if a walk-in fills that spot, we still spent our time and resources preparing for you. Usually, we do not close due to rain or light thunderstorms/ forecast of storms.
IF WE CANCEL YOUR TRIP DUE TO SEVERE WEATHER OR WATER CONDITIONS, YOU WILL RECEIVE A REFUND OR A CHANCE TO RESCHEDULE.
Where can I make reservations?
Nearly all reservations for canoeing and kayaking should be made online. We have limited spots available per hour, so we recommend doing this well in advance…especially for weekends. We do not take same-day reservations. If you have a large group of 20+ people, we recommend calling first… We might make different arrangements. Schools, churches, and large company outings may also call first before making arrangements. Our number is (937)848-4812.
Reservations for tubing are made over the phone. You call us at (937)848-4812.
Do you haul privately owned canoes and kayaks?
We apologize for any unfriendly tone in this answer. We do but at a hefty price. We charge the same price we would for a rental. If you are using this service, arrive 40 minutes ahead of time. We charge our rental price because space in our trailers and busses is still being used. We understand that people like using their own equipment and might be part of a group renting from us, which is why we will offer to transport your canoe/kayak. However, if your sole purpose in buying your own canoe or kayak is to pay a reduced rental fee, we are not the place for you. In our eyes, transportation comes along with owning a canoe/kayak. If you are handing over transportation to us, then you open yourself up to our pricing. We do not haul inflatable tubes, rafts, or boats.
Provided you have your own transportation, and you do not interfere with our operation, we will allow you to use our location as a put-in/take-out spot free of charge. We will not drive anyone anywhere after our last trip.
What are water levels like?
Water levels can vary depending on rainfall. After much rainfall, especially north of us in the Springfield area, water levels may rise. If they get too high, we might have to close down. We will notify you if this happens. Water levels tend to be higher in May and June then get lower as the summer goes on. Below are general descriptions of water levels throughout the season. These conditions are not guaranteed and could always vary. Also, remember that the river is not at a constant depth the whole way through. Some areas are deeper than others.
May - Mid June: Water tends to run higher. The canoe/kayak trip usually takes 2 to 2.5 hours on average. However, you could easily get it done in under 2 hours. Provided you are steering well and do not flip, you should be able to make it through the trip without getting out of your canoe/kayak. This makes for a nice trip, but do use caution. It is often harder to find a spot to get the water out of your canoe/kayak if you do flip.
Short tube trip is usually in the 30 to 45-minute range. The long trip is usually around 5 hours.
Late June - Mid July: Water tends to be at a moderate level. It usually takes around 2.5 hours on average. If you steer well and have fairly low weight in your canoe/kayak, you can potentially complete the trip without getting out of your boat, although one spot on the river, roughly 2/3 of the way through, does get low quicker than others. I would expect to get out in this location in July. Tubing usually takes around 45 minutes to an hour on the short trip and 6 hours on the long trip.
Late July - Mid August: Water tends to be at a low level. A lot of it is knee-deep or lower. The trip usually takes around 3 hours on average. I would assume that you will have to get out at least 4 times to scoot your boat through low areas. However, weight and steering ability have an impact on this. When approaching rapids, the flat water will form a V. Steering into this V will help to reduce the number of times you have to get out. Getting out at some spots cannot be avoided, though. A short tube trip takes around 1 hour, and the long trip is at least 6 hours. We might stop offering the long trip during this time.
Late August - September: Water is shallow. We remain open because some people like the trip during this time of the year, but it is not for everyone. You will more than likely have to get out at least 4 times. We recommend using the same advice when steering as in the above section. Weight and steering ability will largely impact how often you get out of the canoe/kayak. The short tube trip takes 1 hour or more on average. There will be no long tube trip.
What is the water temperature?
We don’t know. We don’t keep a thermometer in the river, and the temperature could vary slightly from spot to spot. However, the water in May and June is typically cooler than it is later in the year. Towards the end of September, it might start cooling down again, depending on the weather. We are usually not open in April partially because the water is cold. Even if it’s a nice day in April, the water usually does not match the air temperature.
When does your season start and end?
There are no set dates for this. We are weather-dependent. Usually, we end up opening in mid-May and closing at the end of September. This is not always the case, though. It is possible that after Labor Day, we will only be operating on weekends.
Is the river a circle?
No, the river is not a circle. You have until 7 pm to complete the trip, but you cannot “go back around” once you finish. Customers have thought that they can keep heading downstream from Bellbrook Canoe Rental then loop back around later. As nice as that would be, the river does not do this. The Little Miami River starts in Clark County near Plattsburgh, OH, and empties into the Ohio River 111 miles later in east Cincinnati.
Are alcoholic beverages allowed on the river?
No. By state law, alcohol is prohibited on all Ohio waterways. We will not check for alcohol, but if you bring it, you put yourself at risk of getting ticketed by the Department of Watercraft and other law enforcement agencies. Watercraft officers have quite a bit of access to this section of the river and have heavily policed it at times. If you return from a trip and are disruptive to us and others, you may be told to leave and never come back.
Also, illegal drugs are not allowed on the river either. They are still illegal. That has been asked.
Is Bellbrook Canoe Rental on private property?
Yes, the land that we are on is our property. Therefore, we may ask people to leave or stay off our property if need be. The river is public, as well as the parks we drop you off at. But the land our establishment is on is privately owned.
Are dogs allowed?
Yes, dogs are allowed. However, we ask that they be kept on a leash while at Bellbrook Canoe Rental and when on our busses.