Welcome to the Licking Park District
Our parks, preserves and reserves are ideal places to enjoy and appreciate the natural beauty in Licking County. There are dozens of activities you can enjoy amidst woodlands, meadows, streams, wildflowers, glacial deposits, wetlands, a historical mound, ponds, a covered wooden bridge, and sandstone!
The Licking Park District manages 1,600+ acres on eleven sites across Licking County. We also manage 46+ miles of paved multi-use trails and 30+ miles of natural surface trails.
For information on ongoing events such as the Fairy Trail and LPD Challenges please visit the Activities page.
The first phase of the Nature Playscape is complete! The first phase includes a ‘hill’ element, swings, tunnels, slides, and climbing features suitable for younger children. Phase 2 will begin in Spring 2022. It will add the Willow, Sand, and Slide areas! Additional phases will be installed at Infirmary Mound Park over the next few years. The overall playscape design references the cultural history of Licking County with Granville’s Alligator Effigy mound as the layout’s inspiration.
Natural playgrounds are a growing trend in the field of parks and recreation. These outdoor spaces are carefully created to facilitate unstructured nature play in a way that encourages creativity, exploration, and hands-on learning. Research has found children play longer on natural playgrounds. They also show greater improved physical fitness and social and cognitive benefits as compared to traditional playgrounds. In essence, kids are happier, healthier, and smarter when they have access to immersion and play time in nature. The intention of the Nature Playscape at Infirmary Mound Park is to be a regional destination for families.
To see the entire playscape plan please CLICK HERE. Scroll through the pictures for more information on features and inspirations.
In the Parks
The parks within the Licking Park District system are great destinations for an afternoon or day away. Enjoy many of the activities available to you across the County.
- 4 Acre Dog Park
- Trails for Hiking and Biking
- Equestrian Trails
- Picnic Tables
- Disc Golf
- Streams and Rivers
- Lakes and Ponds
- Ancient Mounds
- Open Fields and Meadows
- Equestrian Arena
On the Trails
Trails in the Parks
You can find many miles of trails for hiking, biking, and equestrian riding in the parks. Infirmary Mound Park, Lobdell Reserve and Taft Reserve North have trailer parking for equestrian riders.
Multi-Use Paved Trails
The TJ Evans Trail runs through Johnstown, Alexandria, Granville, and Newark.
The Panhandle Trail runs east from Newark to the County line.
The Buckeye Scenic Trail runs through Heath, then south of Irving-Wick to Lakewood Schools on Rt 40.
The Ohio Canal Greenway Trail runs from Canal Park in Hebron, past the State Fish Hatchery, and ends at Rt 79.
On the Water
The Licking Park District manages two river launches along the Licking River at Riverview Preserve in South Newark and at Staddens Landing on Staddens Bridge Rd in East Newark. There is also canoe and kayak access at both ends of Blackhand Gorge at Brownsville Road and at Toboso Road.
At Infirmary Mound Park there is public access for canoe, kayak, and SUP on Mirror Lake.
Licking River Access Points
Riverview Reserve Boat Launch
375 Ohio St, Newark, OH 43055
- Approximately 4 miles from Riverview to Staddens Landing
- Parking, boat launch, & hiking trails
- 1.25 miles from downtown Newark amenities
- Abundant wildlife, view of iconic “Basket” from the river
- With average paddling speed can reach Staddens Landing in about 1.5 to 2 hours
Staddens Landing Boat Launch
Co Hwy 315, Newark, OH 43055
NOTICE: Brownsville Rd and that boat launch are currently closed due to construction. The next pull-out after Staddens will be the Blackhand Gorge / Boyce Licking River Access, Toboso Rd.
- Approximately 3.5 miles from Staddens to Brownsville Rd
- Boat launch and parking
- Abundant wildlife and good fishing
- With average paddling speed can reach Brownsville in about 1.5 hours
Brownsville Rd/ Blackhand Gorge Access
NOTICE: Brownsville Rd and the boat launch are currently closed due to construction.
Approximate coordinates for Brownsville Rd parking 40.0602, -82.28818
- Approximately 4.5 miles from Brownsville Rd to the Boyce Licking River Access at Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve: Public Fishing and River Launch off Toboso Rd
- Parking, access to BH Gorge hike/bike trail
- This is stretch through the scenic Blackhand Gorge
- Historical interest – geological glacial markings, railroad bed, gorge
- Abundant wildlife, birds. Common to see Bald eagles and Osprey.
- With average paddling speed can reach Boyce in about 2 hours
Blackhand Gorge / Boyce Licking River Access: Public Fishing and River Launch
Park is across Toboso Rd from the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve at 2200 Gratiot Rd SE, Heath, OH 43056
- From here the Licking River continues to Dillon Lake