Mohican Park: Where you can Fish, Hike and More

There aren’t many places an Ohio outdoorsman might visit that satisfy varying tastes, but Mohican State Park is definitely one. This 1,110-acre park and surrounding 5,109 acres of state forest lies southeast of Mansfield in north-central Ohio, a picturesque and eye-pleasing land of well-wooded rolling hills, valleys, gorges and streams.

The Delaware Indians discovered it first, and several Delaware villages were once located in the Mohican vicinity. Arrowheads, spear points, knives and awls are routinely found in the fields around the park. Settlers moved in after the War of 1812 and drove out the Delawares. One of those who came was John Chapman, aka “Johnny Appleseed,” a name now immortalized. (His name and date is carved in the wall of Lyons Falls, and has been an attraction for years.)

So what can you do now at this state park?

First, one can just loaf in the rural, picturesque setting at the Mohican Lodge. The newly renovated lodge sits on a high bluff above Pleasant Hill Lake. Visitors can relax here on their private balconies and watch boats crisscross the waters below. If they tire of this, there’s a restaurant, sauna, lounge, gift shop and Olympic-sized indoor and outdoor swimming pools. There are 25 cottages heated for year-round use, as well as two campgrounds, offering 120 campsites with electricity and 33 full- service hookups. The smaller Hemlock Grove campground has 24 non-electric sites. Many of the campers here come to fish because the Clear Fork River runs through both campgrounds and has been well stocked with brown trout.

There are also smallmouth bass and other species, and those who cast from the covered bridge down through the family campground will not only find good fishing if they’re skillful, but cool and pleasant walks near steep hills cloaked in hemlock and other evergreens.

Boat fishermen will find plenty at nearby 850-acre Pleasant Hill Lake. It’s a top saugeye hot spot waiting for those who bottom-bump jig and minnow combinations, small crankbaits and Lindy Rigs with nightcrawlers right off the swimming beach, toward the dam or near rocky shores below the lodge. There are some lunker smallmouths waiting along the shoreline near the dam and largemouths at the lake’s opposite end, which is more shallow and mud-bottomed.

Anyone right at the launch ramp can catch some very nice channel cats and perch on the fishing pier, and a marina near the ramp offers basic facilities and rental boats.

Do you like hiking with vigorous trails through cool, shadowy woodlands? Mohican offers over 13 miles of trails, and they’re worth the walk. Lyons Falls Trail follows the Clear Fork Gorge and features two waterfalls. The Hemlock Trail leads to a covered wooden bridge, while Pleasant Hill Trail follows the lake shoreline. Other trails are waiting in the state forest, and those who walk any of them quietly are likely to see wild turkey, whitetail deer, raccoons, opossum, red fox and unusual birds. In fact, the Clear Fork Gorge hosts over 15 kinds of nesting warblers and others, including the hooded warbler, cerulean warbler and the American redstart.

Some prefer mountain biking, and Mohican offers an 8 1/2-mile mountain bike trail that passes through the state forest. The terrain is varied, offering a little bit of everything for bikers of all skill levels. And it goes without saying that there are plenty of picnic facilities for the kids.

Those who like some canoe and kayak paddling will quickly find out why this area is called the “Canoe Capital of Ohio.” They can paddle for long miles in spring, summer and fall through wild country on the Clear Fork and Mohican rivers and choose from a number of canoe liveries to enjoy their sport.

Many readers may have heard of Malabar Farm and its founder, the famous author Louis Bromfield. The farm is now a state park and just a short drive from Mohican. You can tour Bromfield’s house, take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon, see farm animals or just enjoy the taste of rural life.

Visitors who like a good restaurant and shopping can also venture into little Loudonville, which is just nearby, and have a good lunch and stroll through shops along the main street. Mansfield isn’t much farther, with its flower-laden Kingwood Center and there is shopping heaven along Lexington-Springmill Road in Ontario. And, Amish Country is also just a modest drive east.

It’s hard to go wrong at Mohican State Park, as it’s easy to find plenty to see and to enjoy for all.


For details on the lodge and its facilities, call 800-282-7275. For general information on Mohican State Park, check with the Park Office at 419-994-5125.