In June of 2005, the Kokosing River was designated the first water trail in the state of Ohio by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Park District provided demonstrable leadership in the designation process in serving as local sponsor and providing coordination between communities and government agencies that own or manage paddler access sites on the river.
Access sites along the Kokosing occur at Riverside Park and Memorial Park in Mount Vernon; Kokosing Gap Canoe Access (Lower Gambier Rd.); Laymon Rd. Bridge and Big Run Rd. in Gambier; Pipesville Rd. Bridge and Millwood Rd. in Howard, Riley Chapel Rd. in Walhonding, near the Bat Nest Park; and at the confluence of the Kokosing and Mohcan Rivers (Township Road 423). The Knox County Park District was able to purchase 15. 5 acres of prime riparian habitat on the Kokosing State Scenic River in late 2015 and put in a gravel parking lot in the spring of 2016 at 28300 Zuck Rd. Howard 43028. The purchases of this property was due to willing sellers Kim and Pamela Rose and funding from the Muskingum Conservancy District Partners in Watershed Management grant and the Knox County Park District. Additional funding for the Zuck Riparian Preserve came from the Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County and the Richard and Arline Landers Foundation. Once again, demonstrating just how invaluable and beneficial these community collaborative relationships have been in the past and continue to be at present and will continue to be in the future.
Miles to Next Takeout
Lower Gambier 1.6
Big Run 7.4
Riley Chapel 2.6
Want to know what current river flows are on the river? Visit the USGS stream flow data site. Scroll to the bottom of the USGS stream flow page and look at the box labeled, “most recent instantaneous value.” Perfect conditions for a float are between 100-200 cubic feet per second (CFS) of flow, though lower conditions permit a fun experience if you don’t mind dragging through riffles.
Want to try an overnight trip on the river, rent a canoe or use a shuttle to return to your vehicle? Try a privately owned campground (near Millwood) on the Kokosing, Kokosing Valley Camp & Canoe.
Need to rent a kayak, take a led tour in a kayak or use a shuttle? Try Kokosing River Outfitters.
Camping is not permitted at any KCPD canoe access sites. You must adhere to the “leave no trace ethics” while floating the river.
Click here to download a map or guide of the 27.9 mile Kokosing River Water Trail from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources web site. The map contains access sites and amenities found at the sites, and the guide provides fishing tips and boating safety practices.
A large format map and guide to the water trail can be found at the information kiosks at the canoe access sites along the trail. A map guide can be mailed to you. Visit the ODNR Watercraft website to request one.
A float down the Kokosing River takes the user back in time. Paddling the upper end of the water trail takes the traveler through areas that were extensively glaciated beginning 100,000 years ago. Between Mount Vernon and Gambier, paddlers travel through the Kokosing Gap, a valley area with Blackhand and Logan sandstone. As the paddler progresses downstream of Millwood, a stunning narrow, boulder-strewn, sheer-sided valley known as the “Narrows” awaits. The Blackhand sandstone cliffs seen here are over 300 million years old.
Consider too, the ancient pre-historic Moundbuilders and the historic Delaware and Algonquin American Indians who used the river as a major transportation route. Pioneers harnessed the river’s power, building mills to support the growing European settler population. Evidence of a former mill site can be seen in the cut sandstone blocks south of the Big Run access.