Monday, September 16, 2019

My Trip to Camp Hi Canoe and Kayak, in Hiram, Ohio

I grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, and haven't really been back (other than an extremely short work trip) since I moved away 15 years ago, and on my current trip that I took to the US to deal with bureaucratic bank nonsense, I had the chance to come back to visit my close friend who moved here within the last two years. On my first half day in Cleveland, I went to Goodwill and got some amazing bargains. Then on my first full day in Cleveland, I spent time hanging out with my bestie and then ended up visiting some old friends and catching up.

But today, Sunday, I had some free time and my friend didn't have to be at work, so we decided to do something fun together. I knew that this was the one day that there really would be time available, so I wanted to pack in as much fun and nostalgia as possible...

So I decided that we'd go to Camp Hi Canoe and Kayak in Hiram, Ohio.

Camp Hi is this awesome place a little more than 30 minutes drive from Cleveland (depending on where in Cleveland you are) that allows you to canoe or kayak down the Cuyahoga river. (Fun fact, Cuyahoga was a native word that meant crooked river, because that's exactly what it is, a meandering, windy, crooked river.)

This is a pretty decently priced family activity and the value for your money is extremely high. We were two adults and 2 children, and paid the family rate of $26.50 per adult and $2.50 each per child under 12, making it roughly $60 for the trip.

The way it works is you can choose a short 1 mile trip, a medium 7 mile trip, or a long 10 mile trip (different rates per trip)...

We did the 7 mile trip, and then they drive you and a canoe up to a spot in the river...

And then you canoe back down to Camp Hi.

The reason I wanted to come is because this place is one of the most beautiful, gorgeous, stunning, serene, idyllic places I can imagine.

In therapy when you're told to imagine your happy place, this is where I picture it.

My friend who told me she's a city slicker and prefers city to nature afterwards told me that this was officially the most perfect trip ever, and she's definitely taking her kids back here.

And her kids, with whom she goes on frequent trips and has been to so many cool places in the general Cleveland area, all said that this was the best trip they've been to in Cleveland.

So yea, it was just really, really awesome.

And if you live in Cleveland, or ever find yourself in the general Cleveland metropolitan area, go to Camp Hi. You won't regret it.

The river meanders a lot...

So there are lots of bends in the river...

But most of the way the current in the river goes very slowly...

There is a forest much of the area around it...

And what isn't forest is marshes...

In some portions there are trees that fell into the river.

But the area is well taken care of, so the river is never completely blocked, there's always a way around the trees.

There are a few parts that do take some navigating and boat turning skills...

But for the most part you can be mostly just relaxed, and can even float with the current.

Even relative beginners can be just fine here.

Everything about this place is just perfect...

You can imagine that 1000 years ago, paddling down this river would have looked and felt exactly the same way.

Nature, completely unmarred by modernity.

And the only sounds are the paddles in the water... the cicadas or crickets, birds, and that's it.

Sorry for the photo dump...

I just have so many pictures that I couldn't decide which to share...

So I wanted to post them all...

So that you could get a taste of the place and imagine you're there.

Towards the end of the route there are some houses along the river, and there was a sign posted that said "Danger: Evil troll under bridge ahead" which cracked me up, but we went by too fast to get a picture of it.

Then there was this sign too.

At the end there were some rapids, and then we pulled up to shore.

Ok, fine, my shoulders are a bit sore from all that paddling, but it was so worth it. I was on a high the entire time.

My biggest regret, honestly, of the whole trip, is that my kids aren't here to enjoy this with me. I wish I could give them this experience and these memories. Hopefully one day in the future I'll be able to do so.

(But guess what? The fun didn't end there! We did some more awesome stuff the same day, but I'm breaking it up into two more posts, because they each deserve their own.)

Are you a fan of canoeing or kayaking? Which do you prefer? How often do you canoe/kayak? When was the last time you were there? What type of location do you usually boat in? If you're a Clevelander, ever hear of this place? Been here? Does this sound like some place you'd want to go?


  1. how long did it take to go 7 miles? how long do you think it would take to go one mile? trying to decide whether to do a longer trip with just my husband or the shorter one with the kids. This looks like fun, thanks for sharing!

  2. Is there anywhere local to you at home where you could go kayaking? You could take the children!

  3. I canoed this weekend! 2 miles up the Columbia River in Oregon. Camped overnight on an island, then canoed back. I was with a scout troop. It was really amazing.

  4. Oh, how beautiful. It reminds me of here on the Delaware (also a place of kayaking and rafting and also heartbreakingly lovely). I don't kayak any more but it used to be fun! And you look so happy.


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