Flatwater Paddling Guide

Saint Joseph River (of the Maumee River)

Just to confuse everyone, there are two rivers in Indiana named the Saint Joseph River. The story is that the duplicate name is because an early French explorer portaged between the two, but thought he was just shortcutting some meanders.

The St. Joseph river is one of Fort Wayne's most frequently paddled rivers. Its main tributary is Cedar Creek. The St. Joseph and the St. Mary's River join in downtown Fort Wayne to form the Maumee River.

Indiana-DNR page on this river.

River Flow Levels

Flow levels listed from the confluence with the Maumee River moving upstream.

St. Joseph River near Ft. Wayne, IN

River flow level for USGS site 04180500 USGS Flow levels

When paddling near the dam at Johnny Appleseed park, be sure to check both the level and flow rate. The raising and lowering of the dam level can change the character of the river several miles upstream.

St. Joseph River near Newville, IN

USGS Flow levels


Put-ins listed from the confluence with the Maumee River moving upstream.

Johnny Appleseed Park

View Larger Map (41.110296, -85.120885)

The boat at Johnny Appleseed Park ramp offers a short paddle through downtown Fort Wayne before reaching the Maumee Dam and the St Mary's River.

This ramp is the site of Fort Wayne's Polar Bear plunge on January 1st.


View Larger Map (41.116025, -85.113788)

The IPFW boat ramp is a convenient put-in to paddle flat water upstream from Ft. Wayne's drinking water dam. This section always has water, and is like paddling a long lake. This is the starting point for the Three Rivers Festival canoe and kayak races. Don't go too far downstream.

Shoaf Park

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This is probably the best put in in Ft. Wayne. It is a shortcut to a more natural setting than the IPFW boat ramp. Shoaf park is the home of the Fort Wayne canoe and kayak races.

Cedarville (Cedar Creek)

View Larger Map (41.202661, -85.026594)

This put-in is actually on Cedar Creek just above its confluence with the St. Joseph. This is a good location to start paddling downstream to Shoaf Park or IPFW. There are a few rocks downstream.


View Larger Map (41.222818, -85.005115)

The Leo boat ramp is on the Cedarville reservoir.


Conservation Organizations