Bike trail and river conditions just a couple clicks away

By Sarah Hippensteel Hall, Ph.D., manager of watershed partnerships

Before you head out on your next cycling or paddling adventure along the Great Miami, be sure to check out bike trail and river conditions. It’s always best to know before you go!

The live Bike Trail and River Conditions Map on the Great Miami Riverway website helps you understand river water levels and whether or not bike trail sections may be under water after rain events. And now, the Riverway has launched a River Water Bacteria Levels Map to provide information on river water quality.

Bike Trail Conditions

It’s always a good idea to check bike trail conditions before you go, especially if we’ve seen rain lately. Some trails are located within the levee systems that protect our cities from high water—and that means trail sections might be under water after rain or storms. You don’t want to leave the comfort of your house only to find out that a section of your favorite trail is covered with water.

The map’s color-coded symbols are set up just like a traffic signal, making it easy to read.




River Conditions

You can also check the river water levels to see if water conditions are appropriate for your experience level.




When paddling, it’s also a good idea to consider:

  • Wind
  • Weather
  • Temperature
  • Floating debris
  • River current
  • Boat size
  • Skill level
  • Ability to launch safely


And keep these safety tips in mind:

  • Always wear a life jacket.
  • Never paddle alone.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when to expect you back.
  • You can find more safety tips here.

River Bacteria Levels – How High Is Unsafe for Recreation?

New to the Great Miami Riverway website is a map that helps river users understand water quality conditions and potential bacteria levels. The map promotes public health and safety by helping you decide when the water is safe to paddle.




Rain events can cause bacteria levels in river water to rise to an unsafe level for human contact. Bacteria can get into the river water from a variety of sources, including pet waste, storm sewers, septic tanks, and farm fields. And that bacteria can make you sick if you swallow any river water.

Using research conducted by the Miami Conservancy District, this Riverway web app estimates the concentration of E. coli bacteria, an indicator of fecal pollution, during different weather conditions. The Ohio EPA advises that recreation waters are unsafe for human contact when E. coli is > 298 colony counts per 100 mL of water.

Using these maps will help ensure your next adventure is not only fun but safe.

Find your way—safely—along the Great Miami Riverway!

This blog is also published on the Great Miami Riverway website.

Tour de Way — A Riverway Giveaway

By Elizabeth Connor, Great Miami Riverway 

Sometimes the best travel plans are right in your own backyard. If you’re looking for new and exciting activities to do and places to visit this year, you won’t have to travel far.

The Great Miami Riverway’s Tour de Way passport program launches on May 4. You can explore the region all year long with more than 100 locations, perfect for the adventurer, the art lover, the aviation enthusiast, the beer connoisseur, and everyone else in between.

Each time you visit one of the locations, you’ll collect points that can make you eligible for exciting prizes like a SmithFly Shoal Tent (world’s first floating tent). The program runs through March 1, 2020, so there’s plenty of time to explore and collect points.


Get started
To get started, you simply visit one of the many locations that will be listed on starting May 4. Follow the instructions to find the QR code with your smartphone. The first time you scan a QR code, you’ll be prompted to create a Great Miami Riverway account. Every time you visit a new location, you collect points in your account, making you eligible for prizes such as a bicycle, downtown gift cards and more. The more locations you visit, the more chances you have to win.

Each location enters your name into the drawing, so if you visit 50 locations, you have 50 chances to win. This is not a race. We encourage you to spend time in each location and enjoy the community. You have 10 months to complete this, so enjoy it!

Keep checking the Riverway’s social media accounts for pop-up and temporary QR code locations. If you want to win the big prizes, you’ll need those extra points! If you take a photo while exploring and use the hashtag #RiverwayGiveaway, you’ll receive double points for that location. Photos can be posted on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The winners will be announced at the 2020 Riverway Summit. You don’t need to be present to win, but you will need to pick up your prizes. They are too large to ship!

A Tour de Way guide to each city—Sidney to Hamilton—will be available on the Great Miami Riverway website.

Tour de Way launches May 4 in Middletown at a new event called RiverCon. Held at the MetroParks of Butler County’s River Center, the event will combine Star Wars and the Great Miami River. There will be a Star Wars costume contest, Jedi yoga, live music, downtown shuttle and amazing food trucks. It’s the perfect place to log your first Tour de Way location. #MayTheRiverBeWithYou

The Great Miami Riverway is 99 miles of river, paved trails, and connected communities from Sidney to Hamilton. MCD is a partner in the Great Miami Riverway.

New website to improve your Great Miami River experience

By Elizabeth Connor, Riverway Coordinator

Nothing can ruin a good ride along the Great Miami River Recreation Trail like discovering midway that the trail is submerged from a recent storm.

But that’s about to be a thing of the past. You can now Find Your Way a whole lot easier with the Great Miami Riverway’s new website, featuring a map that automatically updates trail conditions.

One of the most unique features of the website is the live Trail Conditions Map. This map, developed by students in the University of Dayton’s Innovation Center, is the first of its kind. Visit most trail websites, and live conditions are manually entered. For the Great Miami Riverway, we went a step further.

Trail conditions on the Great Miami River Recreation Trail are updated every 15 minutes, allowing you to check the trails before you go. The website shows high water– red (high water currently), yellow (high water in the last 48 hours), or green (clear trail). The map also shows any construction on the trail.

This summer, additional sensor data will be collected to complete the live trail map for the Great Miami River Recreation Trail (Bike Trail No. 25). The gray dots indicate areas where data collection is on-going.


Personalize your trip itinerary

Another great tool on the site allows you to plan and create personalized trips along this 99-mile region in southwest Ohio. There are also recommendations and curated itineraries on things to do; places to stay; and where to eat on the trail, on the water, and in our communities.

“This website is going to be a game-changer for the way my friends and I use the trails,” says Kettering resident Gwen Owen. “There are so many great riverfront cities to explore, and now we’ll have the tools to be sure the trails are clear, plan what we want to see, where we want to eat and what we want to do.”

Marketing strategy

This website is a key communication tool in the Great Miami Riverway regional destination marketing strategy. Riverway communities are looking at a $43 billion tourism industry in Ohio. Having a useful website is crucial to successful visitor attraction and economic development for our river corridor neighborhoods.

Future website tools include additional live reporting, current weather conditions, and yes – even virtual reality. We encourage you to visit to Find Your Way because there is plenty to explore.

Add your events, create your own trip itinerary, list your business, or simply find a great family activity for this weekend. We look forward to seeing you at the Riverway!

To be featured, use #GreatMiamiRiverway in your social media posts.