Welcome to The Ohio River Scenic Byway Visitor Center
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Welcome to The Ohio River Scenic Byway Visitor Center

MARIETTA, OHIO
Wayne National Forest

Located in the mid-section of the Ohio River Scenic Byway, Marietta offers the traveller a place of respite. Traveling on the byway from the Northeast there are large tracks in the Wayne National Forest at the eastern edge of Marietta as well as in Athens County. Also at the western edge of this section of the byway there are magnificent views and places to refresh, relax recuperate and have fun.

Leith Run Campground

For example Leith Run Campground on the banks of the Ohio is on your left as you drive along this beautiful section, turn in and enjoy access to the Ohio River.

Farmers Market at the Armory

As you make your way along the Byway remember to visit some of the local farm markets along the road or visit the River City Farmers Market at the Marietta Fairgrounds and at the Armory. Enjoy locally grown food from Ohio River farms, famous for their produce and Ohio River tomatoes.

Just ahead Interstate 77 intersects with the byway at Marietta. At this intersection I-77 crosses the state-line and there are many hotels, motels, suites and restaurants in various price ranges here, as well as places to stay and eat right downtown. Stop awhile and enjoy Marietta’s hospitality.

Historic Downtown Marietta

While in Marietta there’s so much to see and do. Enjoy historic downtown Marietta with all its attractions, entertainments and an active art scene. Go to a concert at the newly renovated People’s Bank Theatre, or a local music hall, or enjoy a local brew. Take a Ghost Trek tour.

The Marietta National Guard Armory

Most attractions are within walking distance. The Ohio River Scenic Byway Visitor Center is right downtown at the Armory with public restrooms and free two-hour public parking.

Bike Path

If you start at the Armory you can rent a bicycle just up the bicycle path at the Harbor. There are boats for rent also. The Armory is mid-point on the River Trail, a bicycle and pedestrian path, along the Muskingum and the Ohio Rivers which you can access behind the Armory. The River Trail is 3.4 miles long and goes from Indian Acres Park off Linwood Avenue to Jefferson Street and East 8th Street.

Lock Master's House

If you walk or ride north along the Muskingum River you pass the Lock Masters house on the right. The locks at Marietta are gone but you can take a boat up the Muskingum and pass through hand-operated locks that are a designated National Civil Engineering Landmark.

Muskingum Park Bike Path

As you walk along there are beautiful riverside parks like east Muskingum Park where on Thursdays at the gazebo you can listen to an outdoor concert, or attend the Sweet Corn Festival in July.

Valley Gem

As you walk under the Washington Street bridge to your left is the Valley Gem Sternwheeler which has regular daily runs, pick up a schedule at the box.

W.P. Snyder

On your left is the W.P. Snyder Jr. sternwheel steam-driven towboat which you can tour as part of the Ohio River Museum on your right and the adjacent Campus Martius Museum a block away.

Marietta Aquatic Center

You can leave the river trail here and visit Campus Martius or continue to Indian Acres Park the site of the city boat ramp, skate park and aquatic center. Or return to the Ohio River Scenic Byway Visitors Center.

Lafayette Hotel

On the River Trail the other option is to go south from behind the Armory to the Harbor past the Marietta Repair Station of the US Army Corp of Engineers and on to the Ohio River Levee Park. Here is the last of the old riverboat Hotels — The Lafayette Hotel. It is named to honor a famous visitor — General Lafayette.

On The Levee Trail

You can linger for lunch on the Levee or continue walking on the River Trail along the Ohio River.

Armory Picnic

Downtown at the Ohio River Scenic Byway Visitor Center there are ADA restrooms and free two-hour parking. Behind the Armory are picnic tables on the banks of the Muskingum River. You can relax and plan what you want to see.

Harbor

Moor your boat at the Marietta Harbor on the Muskingum River under an antique Railroad Bridge. Come browse charming shops, antiques malls and boutiques. Walk Marietta’s streets and enjoy the beautiful gardens that adorn the city.

There is also outdoor fun and adventure for you, your friends and family to explore.  The Wayne National Forest covers over a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills on this leg of the byway.

Man on Bike

If you enjoy the great outdoors and want to be bathed in nature’s splendor there is something for everyone: beautiful scenery, fishing, hunting, and hiking; riding bikes, or horses, or ATVs; camping, hunting, bird watching; canoeing or kayaking down a scenic creek or river.

Lewis and Clark

Marietta is a place of American history for the traveller to experience. Lewis and Clark stopped at the confluence on their way west and many of the early pioneers started out into uncharted territory. Marietta was founded in 1788.

Northwest Ordinance

Did you know that officers of the American Revolution were given land and settled here? The early pioneers established and managed the Northwest Territory to protect the sovereignty of the new nation and expand its western influence.

Campus Martius

Visit Marietta’s museums, research your genealogy; take a Trolley tour to see what Marietta has to offer.

Sternwheel

Marietta was a boatbuilding center for the early steam-powered sternwheelers on the river

Harmar Trains

and the early railroad that fueled the industrial revolution.

See authentic examples of early architecture that feature stories of our pioneering leaders. Both Marietta and Harmar are on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mound Cemetery

Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans are buried in Mound Cemetery.

Adena Mound

Their graves surround an ancient Adena burial mound.

Sacra Via

Marietta has significant earthworks: two platform mounds and a sacred corridor leading down to the Muskingum where visitors on the winter solstice can observe the solar alignment at sunset.

Belpre Farmers Museum

As you continue your journey heading west on the Byway visit Belpre’s Farmers Museum with exhibits that tell the story of the Underground Railroad and of the houses whose owners acted as conductors to aid the escaping slaves, as they broke free from bondage and made their way to Canada and freedom.

 

At Forked Run State Park there is tent and RV camping (or reserve one of 3 cabins), a 120 acre lake provides swimming, fishing and boating (rentals available on site), as well as easy to moderate trails for hiking.

Buffington Island State Memorial

Continuing west on the Byway at Buffington Island State Memorial learn the story of the Civil War battle fought in Ohio. Union soldiers were brought in to protect the population of southern and eastern Ohio from the famous Confederate cavalry raider, Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan on July 19, 1863, during the largest Civil War battle in Ohio. The battle of Buffington Island contributed to Morgan’s capture. Every summer features a re-enactment of the battle. Contact: Buffington Island Battlefield Preservation Foundation, PO Box 84, Portland, Ohio 45770.

Ohio River

Further down river to the West is Gallipolis. Colonized by the French, it was founded 1790 by French immigrants. The name Gallipolis means “City of the Gauls” and in 1803 the Ohio State legislature establish Gallia County (in honor of the Gauls). Many buildings in town are on the National Register of Historic Places including the Our House Museum, 432 1st Avenue, Gallipolis, OH 45631, 800.752.2518

 

At the western end of the mid-section of the Byway enjoy the scenery and activities of the Wayne National Forest once again.