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Muskingum River State Park
Copyright: - Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Muskingum River State Park
Description - 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.

Attractions - 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.

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

Climate - 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.

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

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: Mike Peterson (Alliance, OH)
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: This is something I have always wanted to do, now that I have done it... never agian. Very disappointed in what we called the B.I.T. 09. (Backyard Industerial Tour) Almost the hole trip you are in someones backyard or going by a chemical/power plant. And the smell of the water from Zanesville to Philo... WOW, my toilet at home smells better. There is NO current from Dresdend to the Ohio River, so get ready to padle your, you know what off. Some locks are easy to portage, some have NO portage accomodations at ALL.(Philo) The camp sites at the locks are clean and well kept, but NO firewood makes it hard to cook anything. Need more spots with RUNNING water to clean up... A drinking fountian makes it difficult to wash up. In closing, if this is a dream of yours, then do it, if it is just something that sounds like something to do, go find a river with current and a lot more to offer when it comes to nature and scenery.

Filed By: Dennis (Columbus, Ohio)
Number of People Encountered: 50+ ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Shovelhead fishing has been tuff. Limited sucess with Channel cats on bass size minnows. Best chance for sucess for catfish is below the locks. A July 4th fishing trip was the best for the year, using 4 inch sunfish and 5 inch chub minnows. Three Shovelheads, 18#, 6# and a 2#. Also caught a 2# channel that night. Since then, fishing for cats has been very slow.

More Information

Contact Information:
Muskingum River State Park, 7924 Cutler Lake Road , Blue Rock, OH, 43720-9728, Phone: 740-674-4794

Additional Information:
Ohio State Parks and Forests - Great outdoor adventure begins in Ohio at one of the 20 state forests or one of the 73 award-winning state park sites.
Southeast Ohio - Ohio's rugged beauty awaits in Southeast Travel Region where miles of tree-lined trails traverse the landscape once inhabited by Native Americans.

Muskingum River State Park - Official agency website.
Ohio State Parks - Official Agency Website


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