In June of 2005, the Kokosing River
was designated the first water trail in Ohio by the state. 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.
So what is a water trail? A water
trail is similar to a bikeway or hiking trail, except that it occurs
on a navigable stream or river and contains access sites where paddlers
can launch and retrieve their boats. Access sites along the Kokosing
occur at Riverside Park and Memorial Park in Mount Vernon; Kokosing
Gap Canoe Access (Lower Gambier Road); Laymon Road Bridge and
Big Run Road in Gambier; Pipesville
Road Bridge in Howard; Millwood Road
in Millwood, Riley Chapel Road at Bat
Nest Road Access and at the confluence (Township Road 423) with
the Mohican River.
Miles to Next Takeout
Lower Gambier 1.6
Big Run 7.4
Riley Chapel 2.6
As of 3/26/13
Water Trail logjam: Avoid river right 1.9 miles downstream of the
Stull Road bridge (upstream of the Pipesville Road Access). Stay
to the left on the river as you approach the jam.
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,
Valley Camp & Canoe.
Need to rent a kayak, take a led tour
in a kayak or use a shuttle? Try Kokosing
Camping is not permitted at any KCPD
canoe access sites. You must adhere to the "leave no trace
ethics" below 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 all 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.
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 Mound builders
and Delaware and Algonquin Indians who used the river as a major
transportation route. Pioneers harnessed the river’s power,
building mills to support the growing settler population. Evidence
of a former mill site can be seen in the cut sandstone blocks south
of the Big Run access.
"Leave No Trace"
- Keep The River The Way You Found It
The following list is modified
from the "Leave
No Trace" Center For Outdoor Ethics
Plan Ahead and Prepare
• Know the regulations and special concerns for the area you'll
• Prepare for extreme weather, hazards, and emergencies.
• Schedule your trip to avoid times of high use.
• Visit in small groups when possible
• Repackage food to minimize waste.
Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
• Durable surfaces include established trails and campsites,
rock, gravel or snow.
• Good campsites are found, not made. Altering a site is not
Dispose of Waste Properly
• Pack it in, pack it out. Inspect your campsite and rest
areas for trash or spilled foods. Pack out all trash, leftover food,
human waste and litter.
• Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products.
• To wash yourself or your dishes, carry water 100 feet away
from river and use small amounts of biodegradable soap. Scatter
Leave What You Find
• Preserve the past: examine, but do not touch, cultural or
historic structures and artifacts.
• Leave rocks, plants and other natural objects as you find
• Avoid introducing or transporting non-native species.
• Do not build structures, furniture or dig trenches.
Minimize Campfire Impacts
• Campfires can cause lasting impacts. Use a lightweight stove
for cooking and enjoy a candle lantern for light.
• Where fires are permitted, use established fire rings, fire
pans or mound fires.
• Keep fires small. Only use sticks from the ground that can
be broken by hand.
• Burn all wood and coals to ash, put out campfires completely,
and then scatter cool ashes.
• Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach
• Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife damages their health,
alters natural behaviors, and exposes them to predators and other
• Protect wildlife and your food by storing rations and trash
• Control pets at all times, or leave them at home.
• Avoid wildlife during sensitive times: mating, nesting,
raising young, or winter.
Be Considerate of Other Visitors
• Respect other visitors and protect the quality of their
• Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.