The Licking River is a tributary of the Muskingum River, about 40 mi (65 km) long, in central Ohio in the United States. Via the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River.
The Licking River is formed at Newark
in Licking County
by the confluence of its north and south forks:
- The North Fork Licking River, about 35 mi (55 km) long, rises in southwestern Morrow County and initially flows generally east-southeastwardly through Knox County, past Centerburg, into Licking County, where at Utica it turns southwardly and flows past St. Louisville. In Licking County the North Fork collects the Otter Fork Licking River, which rises in Knox County and flows past Hartford; the Lake Fork Licking River; and the Clear Fork Licking River. The Lake and Clear forks both flow for their entire lengths in Licking County.
- The South Fork Licking River, about 30 mi (50 km) long, rises in southwestern Licking County and initially flows southeastwardly past Pataskala and Kirkersville and briefly enters Fairfield County, where it turns northeastwardly back into Licking County and flows past Heath.
From Newark the Licking River flows generally eastwardly through the Black Hand Gorge State Nature Preserve into Muskingum County, where it turns southeastwardly. It joins the Muskingum River at Zanesville; the confluence of the two rivers is spanned by a Y-shaped bridge.
Upstream of Zanesville, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dam causes the river to form Dillon Lake, along which an Ohio state park is located.
According to the Geographic Names Information System
, the Licking River has also been known as:
- Licking Creek
- Nepepenime Sepe
- Pataskala Creek
- Pataskala River
- Salt Lick Creek