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Muskingum River in Ohio

Trip Overview

My son (13 y.o.) and I paddled two Swifty Precision Kayaks down the Muskingum with all our water, clothes, tents, stoves, and food.

Friday night
Drove to Rokeby Lock and camped out. Site is nice - no water, but clean bathroom/pit toilet with mens and womens facilities and 2 toilets and one urinal. It had the only working hand sanitizer dispenser of the trip. No fire ring but we built a fire in the BBQ grill and it sheltered it nicely from the wind. Site had no water. Camping area is right between parking lot and river but very quiet and fishermen who pulled in to night fish were very quiet. Site has a nice dock north of the lock to use to get out and pull out the kayaks. Shore is very steep.

Drove the Kayaks and gear north to Duncan Falls the Philo Lock shows it has parking but not really and not for overnight or staging a car. Parking site is 400 yrds from the lock and just on the side of the rd wouldnt keep a truck here very isolated. We left them at a persons back yard just s of Duncan Falls and drove to Marietta had a great helpful friend help me stage my truck in Marrietta and drove us north to Duncan Falls where we paddled the 10.5 mi back to Rokeby Lock as most of the day was burned by the time we shuttled the truck. Made a nice meal of Panerra Bagels, Chicken, peas, Noodles, and Cream of Chicken Soup.

Locks opened at 930 am talked to the helpful lock master and he said they used to take credit cards but no longer do and he recommended buying a season pass for $15 for the locks for paddle boats under 16'. He didn't have any but said he would lock us through and we could just pay at the next lock at McConnelsville.

We had a theory that there was only one lock master and they just followed us south in their truck as they all looked the same and were all perfect for their jobs big, friendly, informative, and nice. The Lockmasters all talked via radio or phone calls and knew who was where on the river and seemed to expect us and had the doors open in our direction when we approached and were all ready for us....what service! As we wanted to start before 930 we just carried around the lock and it was flat and easy carry through the big lawn between the Rokeby Lock and the abandoned Lock Masters House. We then launched on the little shore at the edge of the lock wall and paddled south.

We paddled 8.7 mi to the McConnelsville Lock site which is nice; it has a little dock to use to get up off the river if needed. They had water ate lunch at McConnelsville on a shady picnic table. Site south of the lock has a nice beach area for landing large numbers of canoes if with a group. Bought our lock pass and were paid in $10 in quarters for change. Continued on to the Stockport Lock 8.9 more miles. We locked through and the LockMaster again was waiting for us.

The privately owned camp sites that are featured on the river trail map looks for the most part closed/abandoned and really shouldn't be counted on for facilities. On this section The Rivers Edge Campground had a sign (which most didn't) and had life around it but it was the exception. The Stockport site is very picturesque with the dam up against the old mill site which is the Stockport Mill Inn ( Camping site is small but has a fire ring and tons of fire wood at the wood dump site near the ramp. The site has no water we were told several times the State of OH put in tubes to put water in through the bridge but never hooked it up from the Stockportside. It has a nice shelter over the water fountain that was blown over in the windstorm the day before out trip. Lock master had a nice history book of the lock when it was drained and of the Big Bottom Massacre that happened just south of Stockport ( Bottom massacre).

As we pulled up, a guy in a jeep told us of a pay shower but it was WAY ACROSS TOWN. Ok we must have smelled pretty good if we were being offered showers as we still had our life jackets on. Although I usually find Laundry mat/ dog wash/ truck wash/ storage yards/ RV parks suspect as to their cleanness and pictured a prison shower and a delousing, we grabbed our empty water bottles and dopp kits and headed off for our $3 showers (

Just outside of the Lock area there is a EZ Mart Gas station that has a nice deli and grocery facilities with Cabbage as big as basketballs and honey combs I still wish I had bought. This is on the East side of the river. We walked across the bridge and found a park with a cool wet bar water fountain which was unusual right on the bridge road. And we found a couple of ladies walking their dog who again told us the showers were WAY ACROSS TOWN....we trudged on and found the cleanest showers I have ever seen in a Laundry mat/showers/ dog wash/ truck wash/ storage yards/ RV park. You just put your $3 per person or $6 for families in a little envelope and slide it through the crack in the office window then enjoy as much hot water as you would like. They have little individual cloth shower mats to put outside of the showers and have curtains that connect the shower area to the head. I talked to the owner who was the nicest guy you would ever meet. Which was a theme of the trip my son kept commenting after we talked to anyone "man he was nice" and everyone waved and offered us directions or help everywhere we went.

On the walk to the showers we passed another pizza parlor, lumberyard, tire shop that had picnic tables and lots of supplies but a strange combination of goods. The camping site was covered in dam rain as the spill of the dam created a mist which was blown over the camp all night with a west wind. Site has a nice ramp which we were the only ones to use while we were at the site which made for an easy 150 yrd carry to the camp site.

We light a fire to warm up as it was a cold night for Aug. We then pulled out and paddled past the ramp at the Big Bottom State Mem. we went 6 mi to the Luke Chute Lock which has a huge campsite which would be good for groups ton of wood, drinking water, a campsite host, the lock master needed to grow a goatee and put on 100 lbs as he broke the mold as is out of the army. He again had the doors open our way and we pulled right in. Site has a nice little dock you can use to get out above the site and an unused ramp you can use to get out under the lock to use the head or get water.

Very remote and we passed no boats the entire day and this site had no stores nearby. We paddled on the 9.4 miles to Beverly Lock and made it one hour before the lock closed at 5:30 pm. The site at Beverly is nice as there is a ramp just south of the lock and I can't remember if it had a dock above the lock. The volleyball net was up and it had garbage cans and a huge stick pile if you wanted to light a fire. It was a little more in town than the other sites and had a cut through road that the muffler deficient liked to use to cut through to the bridge. From the camp site you could see two gas stations that have a small grocery supply area and one across the road that sells sandwiches.

The fishing was slow all trip but we were running low and were told there was a bait shop 1.5 mi north of town as the walk is along a highway we walked in toward town and found a dollar general that doesn't have fishing supplies also Avalanche Pizza shop, and another stop and go gas station. We walked through town out to the IGA which has a True Value Hardware that has an excellent fishing supply area. The volunteer fire dept came over and had a drill and practiced putting out the parking lot near the campsite. The site has poison ivy and some cool looking venomous ducks that stalked us during meal time. We made up some corn beef, peas, and Mac and cheese casserole. Water fountain worked but when you turn it on the stream of water is 5' high which was fun for the son. Lock house has been pulled down.

We put in at the launch ramp and paddled south to the Lowell Lock. The Locks are closed on Tues so we lifted up on the nice dock and then lifted the boats onto the dock wall and pulled them up. Site is quiet and 10.1 mi south of Beverly. They were dredging the site as we paddled up the long side cut channel. Nothing for sale in the immediate area but didn't explore too much. Made lunch on the lock wall. Camping is quiet and had a few sites spread out but on a slope. Nice shady spot with a more modern pit toilet and the water worked and even had a spigot. Neat K of P club house just past the Lock Masters abandoned house. Carried down and had two small areas to put in or take out on the shore.

Paddled to the Devola Lock 8.7 mi downriver. Just before you reach the lock there is a hot dog and cold beer stand that looked popular. Site is remote and still has the lock masters house which is suppose to be pulled down soon. It had a cool stucco to the wall roof peak that had pieces of glass stuck in it. Barge was in the lock as lock was closed and the town seemed to all wander in to look at the barge and the guys progress. Fisherman showed up to try their luck after dinner but left at dark. Site was quiet but cars pulled in to check the lock throughout the evening.

Again everyone on the river waved as we passed and was nice. Camping was nice had a covered picnic table and another that was uncovered. Camping was next to the lock house which was to be pulled down soon and seemed a bit in front of someone's front yard but their houses were pretty far back and I thanked them for letting us camp and they said no problem. Site has working water fountain and a spigot. Not much in area as far as supplies.

Put in at a little area just down some nice steps south of the lock and paddled to Marietta Harbor past all the stern wheelers just 5.3 mi. Pulled out at the state facility and carried up the steps and enjoyed a bottle of root beer at the state canteen. Loaded the boats and walked to the Town House for a great sandwich to celebrate our trip.


Primitive Camping


two Swifty Precision Kayaks; stable but very slow


$15 locking fee for the whole year


I-70 to OH 60 south.


Muskingum River Water Trail Map

  • Duration: 2-3 Day Trip
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Water Type: River/Creek (Up to Class II)
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip