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5 Free Things to do in the Mohican Area

Tonya Prater, Owner

Today I’m sharing things to do in the Mohican area that include nature programs, year-round festivals, and a shrine honoring those who died in battle.

Scenic views in the Mohican area

I’ve always enjoyed spending time outdoors and if you’re like me, you may be planning plenty of outdoor time in the coming months.

That’s why now is a great time to begin planning an Ohio getaway and the Camp & Canoe Capital of Ohio is ready to welcome you whether you have a few days mid-week, are planning a weekend getaway, or are looking for a full-blown vacation.

I have a few free ideas to help you plan your getaway.

Two people hiking in the woods

5 Free Things to do in the Mohican Area

One visit to the Mohican area and you’ll soon learn why it draws tens of thousands of visitors a year and why families visit over and over.

1. Enjoy the trails at the Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest.

Outdoor enthusiasts and cyclists from all over the state and beyond visit the Mohican area and enjoy the hiking trails, mountain bike trails and horse trails for free.

That’s right- Ohio’s state parks don’t charge an entrance fee so you’re welcome to come and play in the natural playground with your family and it won’t cost you a thing.

There are over 100 miles of trails available to everyone in the Mohican parks so you can explore the popular Big or Little Lyons Falls Trail, or for a trail that’s less busy, pick up the 2.5-mile long Hog Hollow Trail on the other side of the Covered Bridge and hike to the Fire Tower.

A man sitting at a picnic table looking out at a gorgeous forest of trees.
The View from Vista Point

Some of my favorite areas in the parks include:

  • The Covered Bridge- this bridge that spans the Mohican River is a popular spot for senior photos, engagement photos, and family photos and once you’ll see it, you’ll understand why. Not only do I love the bridge, but my family has also enjoyed spending time in the river beneath the bridge. I do need to warn you, that you’ll want to avoid the water after heavy rains as the river does have a strong current.
  • The Gorge Overlook- not far from the fire tower, this is a great spot to see the changing of the seasons and enjoy the fall colors.
  • The Vista Overlook- a newly discovered spot, this spot is near the group camp on CR 939. Park your car, follow the paved path to the picnic table in the clearing, and enjoy the view. This is one spot that still seems like a “secret” within the park as I’ve rarely seen another person in the handful of times I’ve been there.
Looking down a hill to a valley below

Some hikes to take:

  • The Big and Little Lyons Trails are a must and while they are especially great in the spring after a heavy rain, keep in mind that the trail there tends to be really muddy after a rain. Boots are a must.
  • The Discovery Trail– this easy 1 1/2-mile educational trail offers an introduction to forestry management.
  • The Pleasant Hill Trail– this trail leads from the Covered Bridge to the Pleasant Hill Dam and back or you can make it a loop for a bit more of a challenge and continue on the trail to the Big and Little Lyons Falls. The most challenging aspect of the Pleasant Hill Trail is the stairs that lead straight up the hill to the dam but the view at the top is so worth it; especially if you’re there during the fall. Check out my post on Viewing the fall foliage at Pleasant Hill Dam.
A memorial to those lost in war

The Ohio Memorial Shrine pays tribute to Ohioans lost in battle. 

2. Visit the Ohio Memorial Shrine

Dedicated in 1947, the Ohio Memorial Shrine pays tribute not only to those who were lost in WWII but our fellow Ohioans who have been lost in each subsequent battle including the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The first of its kind, the Ohio Memorial Shrine is the state’s official monument honoring the 20,000 sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, neighbors, and friends who have died in those conflicts.

Inside the shrine, you’ll find binders with the names of each of the lost carefully handwritten and recorded.

As an American, I found the shrine extremely moving.

As a military mom, I found the shrine terrifyingly heartbreaking. I read through some of the books with so many names, paid my respects, and tried to walk out of the beautiful stone memorial with dry eyes. I didn’t succeed.

You can learn more about the Ohio Memorial Shrine in this article.

Mohican Country Market

3. Stop for a Tasty Treat at the Mohican Country Market

The Mohican Country Market has become one of my favorite stops when I’m in the area. Whether I’m looking for fresh produce, browsing the bulk foods, picking up items for a picnic, or satisfying my sweet tooth with one of their fresh-baked donuts (check out the HUGE $5 glazed donuts that are big enough for two or three people to share), this market is a must-stop when I’m in town.

Grab some snacks and then continue a few minutes down the road to the start of the Wally Road Scenic Byway.

The view from the Gorge Overlook, a popular spot within the Mohican State Park.  

4. Enjoy Year-Round Events & Festivals

The majority of the Mohican events have no entry fee. Mohican Wildlife Weekend draws crowds to the area each spring for educational sessions that appeal to all ages.

Pleasant Hill Lake Park offers free canoeing and kayaking on Pleasant Hill Lake during the summer.

In the fall, return for the Free Loudonville Street Fair, Fall Foliage Drive-It-Yourself Tour and during the winter, enjoy the ice carving demonstrations at Mohican Winterfest. Visit for a listing of these events and more.

Pleasant Valley Lake as the sun sets.

The view from the Mohican Lodge as the sun begins to set at Pleasant Hill Lake. 

5. Mohican State Park Lodge

You don’t have to pay for a stay at Mohican State Park Lodge to enjoy the free public programs that are offered year-round.

The Live Birds of Prey program from the folks at the Ohio Bird Sanctuary is always a hit and takes place every Saturday through November. You’ll see the birds up close and personal while learning about their diets and more.

The Mohican State Park Naturalist also holds programs that appeal to all ages, and yes, it’s free. Learn about the diversity of life that is native to Mohican, while having fun at the same time.

A comfortable bed in a bright airy room.

Inside the rooms at the Mohican State Park Lodge. 

Why not Extend Your Stay Overnight or to a Weekend?

These free activities allow room in your budget to choose the perfect place to stay. After a day on the trails or canoeing down the river, couples can return to a luxurious castle suite at Landoll’s Mohican Castle or stay in a treehouse at The Mohicans.

El Castillo is the newest addition to the treehouse hotel near Amish Country in Ohio.

Families will find plenty of indoor entertainment, including a game room, indoor and outdoor pool, and programs at the Mohican State Park Lodge. Take a look at their specials page here. And read this post to learn why I think the Mohican State Park Lodge and Conference Center may be one of the area’s best-kept secrets

Outdoor enthusiasts may enjoy camping in a camper cabin, tent, or family cabin.

Yet other options in the area include B & B’s, an inn, and private home rentals.

There truly is something for everyone. Spend the rest of your vacation exploring the Mohican area- canoeing, fishing, zip-lining, conquering the aerial adventure park and so much more.

What are your favorite things to do in the Mohican area?

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