Our Scout Troop paddled down the historic Muskingum River from McConnelsville to Beverly over a weekend. We put in at McConnelsville, paddled downriver passing through Lock #6 at Stockport and then camped at Lock #5 at a place called Luke Chute.
The next day we paddled down to Beverly taking out right below Lock #4. Due to the low head dams the river is wide and deep. It's basically flatwater. The river that day was deserted. We saw very few other boaters and we were the only ones paddling it. We had not had a whole lot of rain recently so the river was moving slowly with not a lot of current.
The lock keepers were all very friendly and they kept an eye on us calling down to the next lock to tell them when to expect us and seeing if we made it.
The locks and dams were originally constructed between 1837 and 1841 and rebuilt in the 1950's. They are still in use today.
The lock keepers are full-time seasonal employees of the ODNR operating the locks on the weekends (Friday-Monday).
While there is a concrete boat ramp about a 1/4 mile down from the lock, the best access is the sandy beach just below the lock. There is a decent parking lot with bathrooms and water. You can tent camp at the Lock
The campsite at Lock #5 was great. It has large grassy areas to set up tents, picnic tables and fire rings. They were having trouble with their well-pump so normally they have running water, but this weekend we ran into town and bought water.
We had a wide variety of canoes and kayaks.
Canoes included a Mad River Explorer, Old Town Ojibway, Hemlock Eagle and Kestrel.
Kayaks included rec bots and a couple of Necky Manitou 13's.
We bought lock passes for each boat at a cost of $15 each. These are good for the whole season. You can also portage around the locks in most places but that's the point of this trip is to lock through.
From I-70 at Zanesville, OH take SR60 south to McConnelsville. Turn right on SR 376. There are brown and white signs to Lock #7.
The ODNR publishes a great map and trail guide. This is a designated Water Trail.