Kayaking Trip Planner – Hocking River

All the essential info, tips, and tricks you’ll need to plan an awesome paddling adventure on the Hocking River!


Ohio’s Hocking River is a living, breathing part of history, and it is here where you can breathe in the age-old atmosphere of the Native American Tribes which named the river. Surrounded by the famous Hocking Hills, the Hocking River starts in Lancaster, Ohio and then heads southeast where it eventually meets the great Ohio River.


With an average depth of 3 to 4 feet, and a class I rating, the Hocking River is a placid waterway that has so much on offer. The river offers 102 miles of exploration opportunities, so what are you still waiting for?


All you need to do now is have a look at our guide, and use our tips, tricks and pointers as resources to help you plan one kickass kayaking trip!


Hocking River – Fast Facts

Average Trip Duration:          1-3 days

Difficulty:                               Easy

Length of River:                     102 miles

Location:                                 Logan, Ohio

Flow:                                       Low and Slow



The Paddling Trip at a Glance

If you’re planning a kayaking trip on the Hocking River, make sure you’re trailing down the best parts of the river. Essentially, you want to start out at Sugar Cove and conclude your trip at Canoe Livery. That averages at 15 miles, 15 miles of natural beauty, peace and tranquility, and of course the glimpse you’ll get of the Natural Rockbridge and what was once the old Hocking Canal.


If you’d like, you can always embark on a trip offered by Hocking Hills Canoeing. They offer 4 different trips, each with their own varying lengths. Just keep in mind that these trails aren’t for the average beginner. Their easiest trail covers a lot of distance, making it hard for rookies to keep up the pace.


On a more serious note: if you plan to launch from the Flats Mill area, you should keep in mind that the area is known for its rapids, and definitely not recommended for kayaks or canoes.


And on the flip side, the Hocking River really is more like a creek, except for that one little snag. It’s the ideal river where rookies can improve on their paddling skills, and essentially, a spot that offers paddling fun for the whole family.



Before You Paddle Out:

  • The Hocking River is known for its low and slow current, and while this usually equates to a beginner’s dream come true, paddlers have to be on the lookout for rocks at all times.
  • Portaging is necessary here because kayaks can and do get stuck in the low parts of the river.
  • Always ensure that you’ve checked the water level before you head out, unless of course you like the idea of getting stuck in the sand.


What Are My Options for Camping Out?

One of the most popular launching and camping spots in the area is Logan Livery. Hocking Hills Riverside Campground is equally as popular.


There are also a bunch of sand bars and primitive camping sites located along the river’s edge. The Hocking River isn’t known for sudden rises in its water level, which means that camping on the sand bars is plausible, as long as you’re okay with the idea of camping without electricity, washrooms and other facilities.


What Other Attractions Are on Offer?

The Hocking River is surrounded by forest area, which means that it’s a nature lover’s dream come true. Aside from birdwatching and relaxing, you might also be interested in the horseback riding opportunities that are on offer in the area.


Where Can I Rent a Kayak?

If you don’t feel like transporting your own kayak or canoe to the area, you can always go ahead and rent one at a rental service. Two of the most popular rental services is Hocking Hills Cane Livery and Hocking Value Canoe Livery.


Heads Up: it’s no secret that the local kayak and canoe rental fees are laughably overpriced. Take your own kayak if you can, or try to get an inflatable in order to avoid being overcharged for a rental.


Are There Spots That Are Suitable for Families?

Yes, in fact, most paddlers describe the trail as a flatwater scenario, which makes for a good family paddling opportunity. The beach at Lake Logan is also highly recommended for some recreational family time out in the sun.


What’s The Scenery Like?

There’s plenty to see and do in the Hocking Hills area. From climbing the rock formations to admiring the waterfalls, gazing at the stone bridges to exploring the tunnels, the scenery on offer here isn’t quite comparable with any other spot in the area.


There are also some great trails near the river, like the Sassafras Horse Trail, the Old Man’s Cave, and the Five Oaks Trail. Just make sure that you steer clear of the sudden drop-offs and cliffs that the trails are known for.



Can I Fish in the Hocking River?

Yes and there’s plenty going round. Bass, trout, and smallmouth are some of the most popular fish caught in the waters here. In fact, every year around late fall and again in the early spring, the river gets filled with trout, but they’re rumored to be super-sneaky, so good luck trying to catch one!


Need More Info?

Look: We honestly gave you as much information as we had in our arsenal for this guide, but since we’re all just human, we might have missed one or two things that you had questions about. If you’re keen to learn a little more about the Hocking River and need a tad bit more info to plan your trip from start to finish, here are some great resources that may be able to help build your encyclopedia.

  • For more information on the Hocking River, you can browse this site.
  • Remember we told you about the trails on offer from Hocking Hills Canoeing? You can read more about that here.
  • For those of you looking for a few pointers on the whole fishing game, check out this post.
  • Over here you can learn even more about the river and the Hocking Hills area’s history.