Kayaking at North Bend State Park

Kayaking at North Bend State Park

Paddle the ohio river watertrail

Grab your paddle and hit the water for scenic kayaking in Parkersburg that the whole family can enjoy. At the Ohio River Water Trail, kayakers can paddle 39 miles of the Ohio River and 18 miles of the Little Kanawha River, located in and around Wood County, West Virginia. The Little Kanawha itself is a hidden gem, offering gentle and flat currents for paddlers of all kinds.

Access points to the Little Kanawha can be found at Point Park in downtown Parkersburg, right outside city limits in Corning Park, and 11 miles outside of Parkersburg at Leachtown. In addition to great kayaking, the Little Kanawha is a fantastic spot for people looking to catch musky and small-mouth bass.

The Ohio River Water Trail offers multiple public trailer-ready boat ramps that are accessible to Williamstown, Vienna, and Parkersburg in West Virginia and Marietta and Belpre in Ohio.

To BlennerHassett State Park – 4 mile round trip on the Ohio River

GPS Coordinates 39.265542, -81.567252

Kayaking on lake

Launch from Point Park. Cross the mouth of the Little Kanawha River and hug the West Virginia shore until you are across from the Neale House and then head for the Island shore. If the current is swift, start your crossing early. The trip from Point Park to the Island is approximately 2 miles.

Land at the ramp at the youth camping area beside the Neale House. Go enjoy the Island! Walk the paths, take a mansion tour, enjoy a ride in a horse drawn wagon. The mansion is about 3/4 of a mile from the landing. We suggest following the same route for your return to Point Park.

Around Blennerhassett Island State Park – 11 mile round trip on the Ohio River

GPS Coordinates 39.265542, -81.567252

Kayaking on the Ohio River

Launch from Point Park. Cross the mouth of the Little Kanawha River and hug the West Virginia shore until you are across from the Island and then head for the Island shore. The tips of the Island often have cross currents that may make paddlers uncomfortable if not skilled in navigating them. The area is best
avoided if you do not have the skills.

Paddle around the Island hugging the shore as much as possible. There are some amazing sights and wildlife. Pack a lunch and lounge on the beach and relax. Enjoy the water! Visit the park attractions. Paddle back hugging the WV shore.

Blennerhassett Island State Historical Park is open for you to explore between May and October. Kayak access for Blennerhassett Island is on the south side, at the ‘head’ of the island. This beautiful island has a history of scandalous doomed romance, conspiracy, and treason.

Kayaking with kids
To Worthington Creek – 4 mile round trip on the Little Kanawha River.


GPS Coordinates 39.265542, -81.567252 (Williamstown Boat Ramp)

Launch from Point Park and head up the Little Kanawha River. Paddle about 2 miles and you will see Worthington Creek flowing into the river at Corning Park. Follow Worthington Creek as far as you can. Access varies, depending on water level. Caution – if current is swift, it may be difficult paddling upstream. Paddle Worthington Creek for another 3 miles for a total of 7 miles round trip.

To and around Neal Island – 7 mile round trip on the Ohio River

GPS Coordinates 39.265542, -81.567252

Getting a kayak ready on the shore

Launch from Point Park and head upstream. You will paddle under 3 bridges, pass a sunken barge and then tip of the island. The tips of the island have some cross currents that may make paddlers uncomfortable if not skilled in navigating them. The area is best avoided if you do not have the skills.

The northern half of Neal Island is part of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are welcome to pull their canoes and kayaks up onto the shore and explore on foot during daylight hours. Become an urban explorer on this Neal Run trip. Paddle under a railroad bridge and through a long
culvert. You may have to portage over a beaver dam.

Blennerhassett Island State Historical Park is open for you to explore between May and October. Kayak access for Blennerhassett Island is on the south side, at the ‘head’ of the island. This beautiful island has a history of scandalous doomed romance, conspiracy, and treason.

Around Buckley Island – 6.2 miles (2 hour trip)

GPS Coordinates 39.406995, – 81.450081 (Williamstown Boat Ramp)

Kayaking on the river

Buckley Island is part of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are welcome to pull their canoes and kayaks up onto the shore and explore on foot during daylight hours.

From 1793 to the mid-1820’s, Marietta and Williamstown operated a ‘Pestilence House’ on Buckley Island. The ‘Pestilence House’ was a crude shelter where people with an infectious disease, such as smallpox, yellow fever, malaria, cholera, dysentery, and influenza were sent to die.

graphic of a scroll indicating more information
FUN FACTS
  • Bald Eagle nest located near the tip of Neal Island, on the Ohio side. Eagles are frequently sited
  • Osprey nest located on platform on the Ohio side of Neal Island near the end of the island. It can be seen on the WV side as well

  • Otters live by the docks at the Ohio Valley Rowing Club
  • The Parkersburg Ohio River hike/bike Trail and The Little Kanawha Connector bike trail start at Point Park
  • Peregrine Falcon can often be seen on the railroad bridge

  • Turtles, muskrat, heron – a variety of wildlife is often seen on Worthington Creek
Duck Creek – 13 miles (6 to 7 hour trip)


GPS Coordinates 39.406995, – 81.450081 (Williamstown Boat Ramp)

Prior to the Civil War, a slave named Josephus would ferry fugitive slaves, two or three every month, across from Virginia to the mouth of Duck Creek.

This trip passes by Buckley Island, part of the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors are welcome to pull their canoes and kayaks up onto the shore and explore on foot during daylight hours.

selfie while kayaking

regional Paddling opportunities

Map of Ohio River watertrail