What to do in Muskingum River State Park

The Muskingum River, because of its size and location, has played an important role in Ohio's history. It is the largest river lying solely within Ohio, draining an area equal to one-fifth of the entire state.

West Point graduate Major Samuel Curtis designed a system of 10 dams and 11 locks to connect the Muskingum River to the Ohio and Erie Canal at Dresden. Opened in 1841, the system provided navigable waterways from Marietta to Lake Erie.

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.

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, houseboats, pontoon boats, canoes and rowboats travel the river. Public launch ramps are provided at Locks 4, 5, 6 and 11. Private ramps are located near Locks 2, 7 and 10.

The Muskingum River is navigable from Dresden to Marietta. However, 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 camping area is provided at Lock 11. There are 20 campsites off State Route 60 and County Road 49 in Muskingum County. Water, picnic tables, fire rings and latrines are provided. Pets are permitted in the camping area at Ellis. There are eight boaters-only, primitive campsites at Lock #5, Luke Chute.

All three species of black bass (largemouth, smallmouth and spotted), saugeye and various species of catfish are taken from 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. A valid Ohio fishing license is required.

Picnic tables, grills, latrines, and drinking water are available at all locks except Lock 9 at Philo in Muskingum County. Visitors are requested to build fires only in the grills provided and to dispose of all litter properly.

Camping, fishing, hiking, boating, picnicking and nature study are enjoyed at the historic Muskingum River State Park.

The Muskingum River State Park may be found in Zanesville, Ohio south of Interstate 70.

This state has four distinct seasons and a brilliant fall foliage display in it southern woods during mid October. Winter lasts from December through February with average temperatures near 25 degrees F. Low temperatures dip to single digits, but do not often drop below zero. Northern regions of the state receive average snowfall amounts of 55 inches, while the central and southern regions of the state receive lesser amounts with averages near 30 inches. This difference is caused by lake-affect moisture patterns.

Spring temperatures begin to warm the landscapes of Ohio by mid March and are in full swing by April. Temperatures range from 40 through 70 degrees F through the spring months. This season often brings the most rainfall, before the drying heat of summer. Summer can be extremely hot and humid in the interior of Ohio. Temperatures reach above 90 degrees F frequently through July and August. Cooler fall temperatures don't reach the region until mid to late September. This is a pleasant time to visit as the air is crisp with low humidity levels. Ohio's annual precipitation usually reaches slightly above 50 inches.

7924 Cutler Lake Road
Blue Rock, OH 43720-9728

Phone: 740-674-4794

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