CINCINNATI, Ohio (May 29, 2023) – On June 2, a team of intrepid paddlers is set to embark on the Ohio River Challenge, a 250-mile, 10-day expedition from Portsmouth, Ohio to Louisville, Kentucky. Retracing the route of past explorers, their expedition has a modern day mission: forge partnerships showcasing the region’s natural beauty, cultural heritage and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation.

Along the way, the team of adventurers will moor their 30-foot-long voyageur canoes in river towns large and small. At each stop, these ambassadors of the Ohio River Way will connect with community leaders and residents while getting a taste for the local culture. At the end of each day, they’ll continue these conversations at a local eatery before making camp for the night.

The expedition’s lead organizer is Dr. David Wicks, chair of Louisville’s River City Paddle Sports and vice-chair of the Ohio River Way. When asked about the purpose of the paddle, Wicks explained, “As we float down this majestic river, we’re shining a light on the tapestry of vibrant culture, untold stories and ecological wonders that weave the fabric of the Ohio River Way. If you’re looking for an adventure, you don’t have to look far from home. The Ohio is right here.”

“This expedition encapsulates the very essence of the Ohio River Way,” said Brewster Rhoads, chair of the Ohio River Way. “We’re eager to immerse ourselves in the awe-inspiring beauty and rich history of the river, while promoting outdoor recreation and connecting the communities that are a part of its legacy. Together, we can celebrate the Ohio River Way of Life and cultivate sustainable economic growth throughout our region.”

Photo by Joe Wolek

Launching in Portsmouth, the expedition will pitch their tents in 10 communities before arriving in Louisville:

  • June 2: Depart Portsmouth, Ohio
  • June 2: Vanceburg, Kentucky
  • June 3: Maysville, Kentucky
  • June 4, Augusta, Kentucky
  • June 5, Thomas More Biological Research Station
  • June 6: Cincinnati, Ohio
  • June 7: Rising Sun, Indiana
  • June 8: Vevay, Indiana
  • June 9: Madison, Indiana
  • June 10: Westport, Kentucky
  • June 11: Arrive in Louisville, Kentucky
Photo: Susan Griffen

The Ohio River Challenge is organized by River City Paddle Sports in partnership with the Ohio River Way, both 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations. The mission of River City Paddle Sports is to expand community access to paddle sports through education, outreach and competition. The Ohio River Way is a region-wide organization that works to promote outdoor adventure, attract sustainable tourism and enhance the overall quality of life in the river towns.



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