Muskingum River Parkway State Park

Quick Facts

Muskingum River Parkway State Park

Ohio

(740) 453-4377

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Muskingum River offers recreational activities from fishing to camping. The river parkway and its 160-year-old navigation system were designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in July 2001. The river is formed by the confluence of the Walhonding and Tuscarawas rivers in Coshocton, Ohio. From there, it flows south through Zanesville where it is joined by the Licking River until it eventually drains into the Ohio River at Marietta. This mighty river travels 112 miles in all, traversing the scenic hill country. The rich floodplains of the Muskingum provide suitable conditions for walnut, elm, cottonwood and sycamore. Dense paw-paw thickets line the banks of the river. A rich diversity of bird life and mammals share the wooded shores. The Muskingum provides a remarkable fishery including catches of huge shovelhead catfish. The mighty Ohio muskellunge was once abundant in the Muskingum and its tributaries, but its population has declined in recent years. A number of rare fish share the waters such as sanddarters, northern madtoms, mooneyes and channel darters. The Muskingum and its tributaries have long supported large and diverse populations of freshwater mussels. Dissolved limestone in the river is used by the mussels in constructing their shells. The Muskingum River system supports the last remaining Ohio populations of mussels such as monkeyface shell, fan shell, Ohio pigtoe and the butterfly shell.

Map of Muskingum River (OH)

Latitude, Longitude: 40.044151, -81.978256

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Activities

  • Boating

    It is suggested that prior to departing for a boat trip on the Muskingum River, boaters contact the park office to check on river and lock conditions. Boats with unlimited horsepower motors, house boats, pontoon boats, canoes and rowboats travel the river. Public launch ramps are provided at Locks 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11. Private ramps are located near Locks 2, 7 and 10. The Muskingum River is navigable from Dresden to Marietta. However, Lock #11 Ellis is closed until further notice and the river channel from Dresden to Ellis is unmarked and difficult to follow. Information on navigation charts can be obtained at the parkway office. Some of the tributaries which empty into the Muskingum River are also navigable for short distances and provide excellent fishing. The Licking River, which joins the Muskingum River in Zanesville, is navigable only by canoe or rowboat.

    A trip on the Muskingum River Parkway is not complete without going through one of the ten locks. These manually-operated locks are similar to those built throughout the United States before the turn of the century. Contact the park office for current fee rates when planning your trip.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Visitors can tour this park's walnut, elm, cottonwood, and sycamore plots along public roads that line the Muskingum River.

  • Camping

    This park has 20 non-electric sites located at 1390 Ellis Dam Road, Zanesville, OH. These include water, picnic tables, fire rings, and latrines. Pets are permitted in this camping area. At Luke Chute Lock #5 there are 8 boaters-only, primitive campsites.

  • Fishing

    All three species of black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted), saugeye and various species of catfish swim the river. Bass are also found in several tributaries. Fishing is permitted from boats and at each of the lock sites. However, fishing is prohibited from the lock walls. Valid Ohio fishing license is required.

  • Hiking

    Hiking is available at Blue Rock State Park and State Forest, east off State Route 60 on Culter Lake Road (CR 45), between Philo and Rokeby.

  • Historic Sites

    The area has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and will be recognized as the Muskingum River Navigation Historic District. The Muskingum River Parkway and its 160-year-old navigation system were designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers in July 2001. Along with such majestic institutions as Hoover Dam, The Empire State Building and the Golden Gate Bridge, the Muskingum River's 10 hand-operated locks are now recognized as one of America's great engineering accomplishments. In its day, the system of locks and dams that extends 112 miles through southeastern Ohio, helped open the state and the entire Midwest to trade and development. Today, it serves the needs of more than 7,000 recreational boaters each year who come to fish, picnic and play in the scenic Muskingum Valley.

  • Picnicking

    There are 10 picnic areas with picnic tables, grills, latrines, and drinking water available at most locks except Lock 9 at Philo in Muskingum County. There is a picnic shelter between Locks 6 and 7 along State Route 376, first-come, first-served. Visitors are requested to build fires only in the grills provided and to dispose of all litter properly.

Seasonality/Weather

This park is open year-round. The locks operate at different times depending on the season. For updated information, contact the park office located at 5265 Dillon Hills Drive, Nashport, Ohio 43830. The phone number is 740-453-4377.

Directions

Driving

This park is located at Lock #7, 543 E Riverside Drive, McConnelsville, OH 43756.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(740) 453-4377

Campground reservations

(866) 644-6727

Links