Camping Calls at Mohican

Photo: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Standout camping options meet adventure at Ohio’s popular Mohican State Park and Forest.

It’s an outdoor destination that’s so popular in Ohio, it goes by a single name: Mohican. And it’s not just because of its proximity to Columbus and Cleveland. The area—otherwise known as Mohican State Park and the adjacent Mohican-Memorial State Forest—is home to designated Scenic rivers cutting gorges through the forest and more than 50 miles of multi-use trails to explore. Local outfitters make floating the Mohican River easy. But you don’t have to be a seasoned outdoor-adventure enthusiast to enjoy Mohican; ample camping options make this a great destination for simply hanging your hammock or toasting marshmallows around the campfire

Camp in Comfort

The Mohican State Park Campground has something for every comfort level, starting with 25 waterfront full-facility cabins that sleep six ($70/night with two-night minimum, only four are pet friendly), plus camper cabins ($55/night, two-night minimum, no pets allowed, closed Nov. 1-April 1). There are 51 full-hookup campsites ($42/night weekdays, $43 Friday-Saturday), 35 electric sites ($31/32) and 10 non-electric tent sites ($27/28). Check the campground map and reserve a site along the Clear Fork of the Mohican River. Add a shower house, playground and pool (open Memorial Day to Labor Day), and you’ve got a family-friendly place to camp in the summer, or even year-round for that matter—the park keeps some sites open through the winter. The campground fills up on weekends, so it’s imperative to reserve a site ($6.50 reservation fee). 

When it comes to activities, there’s a lot to do without even leaving the campground. Be sure to bring inner tubes for the two official launch sites (at the bridge by the cabins and by Site 86) and takeout at the state Route 3 bridge. All told, this covers about a mile of river, so you can float it once or do laps. For a nice hike, take the Hemlock Gorge Trail, starting from the back of the campground (by the bridge) to the cabins. From here, parallel the Clear Fork for 3 miles (one way) past the Class B campground and then on to the covered bridge. The trail is generally flat, has great views of the river and —as promised—is home to evergreen hemlocks as well as white pines. 

The 23-mile Mohican Mountain Bike Trail is an IMBA-designated EPIC ride, and it starts and ends near the campground entrance. Pick it up on the north side of the parking near the campground entrance to ride in a counterclockwise direction. The trail is difficult—but don’t worry, you have the first 8 miles to bail before it becomes one-way. 

Be sure to check the park website for a schedule of naturalist programs. Learn a few nuggets of natural and human history of the park, including the fact that despite its name, it was the Delaware/Lenape people who inhabited the land until being driven from it during the War of 1812. Also of note is the famed former resident named John Chapman, aka Johnny Appleseed, who lived here during the same era. 

Photo: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Try the Rustic Group Campgrounds

Mohican’s Class B campground is situated parallel to the Clear Fork near the covered bridge. With only 23 sites, it is generally more chill than the main campground. It’s normally open from April through November—check or call the park to get exact dates. The cost is $23 weekdays/$24 weekends. This campground is considered primitive because it has vault toilets and well water. This is a perfect place to camp if you want to cast for trout on the Clear Fork, as you’re only feet away from great fishing spots along the river. 

There’s plenty of hiking directly from here as well. In addition to the Hemlock Gorge Trail, you can hike the 3.3-mile loop that combines Lyons Falls and Pleasant Hill trails. Starting at the covered bridge, hike upstream past Big Lyons Falls and Little Lyons Falls to the Pleasant Hill Dam. Return downstream on the other side of the river. Or start at the covered bridge and take the Hog Hollow Trail to the fire tower (you’ll cross into Mohican State Forest and skirt Clear Fork Gorge State Nature Preserve) and back for a total of 4.6 miles.

If you’re with a nonprofit, call the park to reserve one of four group campsites, which are also primitive with port-a-potty toilets and well water; $45/night for up to 25 people.

Camp in the Backcountry

Mohican State Forest is home to 10 “park and pack” backcountry campsites, scattered throughout the forest along different trails, including trails shared with horses and mountain bikes. Try starting at the Township Road 3006 upper parking and hike the Mohican Mountain Bike Trail less than a mile to Site 10, which has a fire pit. You’ll need to pack in all of your water and dig a cathole for your poop. Situated near the rim of the Clear Fork Gorge, which provides payoff views from late fall to early spring, the park and pack sites are open to backpacking year-round, available first-come, first-served. Self-register at the kiosk at the state forest headquarters on County Road 939, and avoid dates overlapping with the deer firearm hunting season, typically after Thanksgiving (call the forest for current dates).

More Info

State Park:; Mohican-Memorial State Forest:

Getting There

Mohican is less than 90 minutes from Columbus; take Interstate 71 north to state Route 97, head east 20 miles to state Route 3. Take a left and then the campground entrance is on your left. 

Refresh & Refuel

Try the Mohican salad and Firetower burger with a beer from the nearby Millersburg Brewing Company at the Black Fork Bistro in Loudonville.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.