Go Mohican

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Randy L. McKee

Centrally located between Columbus and Cleveland, the Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau points a path to experiences that are far from the middle of the road.

“Ashland County could be considered Ohio’s best-kept secret,” Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau Director Laura Weirick said. “The people who come here are always shocked that they’re still in the same state. People think of Ohio as flat, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We have beautiful hills, breathtaking waterfalls, gorgeous parks and an 850-acre unlimited horsepower lake.”

Visitors find they don’t need to be far from home to be far out. Mohican State Park has the only mountain biking trail in Ohio that’s genuinely epic, as designated by the IMBA, International Mountain Biking Association.

“It’s a 25-mile, single-loop track right now, and they’re working on expanding that trail,” Weirick said. “We have trail maps for all biking and hiking in the area.”

Two state parks, Mohican State Park and Malabar Farm State Park, as well as Mohican Memorial State Forest and Pleasant Hill Lake Park, are only a hop, skip and a jump away.

Between the four parks, there are over 88 miles of interconnected hiking, biking and bridle trails.

Some may prefer to go another route. At Tree Frog Canopy Tours, visitors can take a three-hour tour that spans seven zip lines, two sky bridges and two rappels.

Some aren’t in such a hurry. The Scenic Mohican Water Trail cuts a path from Loudonville to Greer, and is considered the state’s largest recreational complex, and the source of world-class camping and canoeing.

“We are the camping and canoeing capital of Ohio,” Weirick said.

Visitors can make their way to any of the 4,500 campsites or any of the four canoe liveries by following the 10 miles of old railroad route now known as the Wally Road Scenic Byway.

“The landscape is amazing, the Wally runs right along the Mohican, through the hills and past deep ravines, and it’s steeped in history, too,” Weirick said.

In traces of the Ohio Railroad, there are hints of historic Walhonding Valley. A line marks the end of the frontier in the Northwest Territory, where a plaque commemorates the Treaty of Greenville.

The Shawnee, descendants of the Delaware Indians, flowed into the region. The word Mohican means waters in constant motion.

There are different recreational activities and events throughout the year.

In winter, there’s live ice sculpting during Winterfest in Loudonville’s Central Park, and visitors can slide over to Snow Trails ski resort.

“There’s hiking all year, and in the spring, when everything starts to green up, the canoe liveries start riding down the river,” Weirick said. “In early June, there’s the International Wine Festival at the Wolf Creek Grist Mill to kick off the peak season of summer.”

The biggest event over summer is the Loudonville Classic Car Show in July.

“It’s huge, and you’ll want to stay for the fireworks,” Weirick said.

In the fall, there’s the Great Mohican Pow-Wow and Oktoberfest, and visitors come for the views the changing foliage affords.

“I love the views from the gorge overlook at Mohican State Park and Mount Jeez at Malabar Farm State Park,” Weirick said.

For many, autumn is peak season, particularly if they stay in one of the treehouses at The Mohicans.

Any time of year, a variety of award-winning accommodations can be booked online at DiscoverMohican.com. There’s a state park lodge at Mohican State Park, campgrounds, Air B and Bs, the historic Blackfork Marken Inn Bed & Breakfast, treehouses and even a castle.

“Landoll’s Mohican Castle is a popular destination for royal weddings, and we have many great wedding venues such as the White Pine Grove and The Grand Barn at The Mohicans,” Weirick said.

The Mohican-Loudonville area is at the center of five counties, and a wealth of natural beauty, rich in history, arts and culture. It’s a four seasons adventure destination where recreational activities abound. And the Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau is at the center of it all.

“Staying in Loudonville in the Mohican area, you’re a 30-minute drive into Amish Country,” Weirick said. “It’s a home base, whether your boating, canoeing, hiking. You could spend several days here and do something different every one of those days.”

DiscoverMohican.com is the first stop for anyone looking for the best attractions, dining, lodging, and shopping in Ashland County. Find the Mohican-Loudonville Visitors Bureau at 544 N. Union St., in Loudonville, 419-994-2519.