Little Muskingum River in Ohio
The Little Muskingum River winds through Monroe and Washington County Ohio on its way down to the Ohio River. It is a seasonal paddle, often too low to paddle in the summer, unless you go right after a rain. The day our group paddled the USGS river gage was at 8 feet. The river frequently floods up to levels at 20 feet or above. When it drops below four feet, locals tell me, you should expect to drag your boat in a few spots. My guess is that the river would still be a relatively easy paddle if the gage was up to 10 feet, but would be trickier and more dangerous above that.
We put in at Ring Mill (three or four miles east of US 26 on County Road 68) and took out at Wingett's Run, across from the Myers general store. The store was closed, but runs a livery business most of the time. If you are counting on them, you might want to call ahead. The crow-flies distance from the put-in to the take out was 6.3 miles, but the actual miles paddled was about 16.5. It is a very windy little creek.
There were no obstructions or logjams, and the run was Class I the whole way. There are at least five designated access points, listed in the book "Canoeing and Kayaking Ohio's Streams." But we found most of them moderately challenging. The banks of the river were not too high, but steep and muddy. At lower river levels you might find a few exposed sand bars that would make taking out and putting in easier.
The paddle is a scenic one through some pretty remote Appalachian countryside. I suspect it would be nicer a few weeks later when the trees leaf out. Many parts of the river would have a full canopy by late Spring.
The Little Muskingum is definitely a pleasant paddle. It's major drawback for day-tripping is it is very remote. If you are heading to the Ring Mill put-in, expect it to take you an hour from Marietta. The road is scenic but winding and hilly. The last few miles on Rt 68 are gravel road. If it has rained recently, you'll appreciate having AWD.
You can camp at Ring Mill and several other of the Wayne National Forest campgrounds. There are simple pit toilets, and some picnic tables.
None for day trippers. Check with Wayne National Forest for Camping rules.
There is no direct route to the Little Muskingum. Starting at Marietta and following Route 26 is the easiest way, and will allow you to do a little scouting of the river on the way up.
"Canoeing and Kayaking Ohio's Streams" has a map and lists five access points plus distances between them. There is one error on the book's map. Access point about a half mile North, not South of Wingett's Run Canoe Livery.
- Trip Duration: Day Trip
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking, Canoeing
- Skill Level: Beginner
- Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)