Mohican-Memorial State Forest Park and Pack Sites
Nearest town: Loudonville
Total distance: Varies based on selected park and pack site, minimum distance is less than one mile
Hiking time: 1 hour to 2 days for an overnight trip
Trail conditions: Well established
Water: Available seasonally from April 1st to November 1st in Mohican State Park; also available seasonally at the Bridle Trail Area for Sites 1 through 4 and 7.
Highlights: Beautiful, secluded campsites; magnificent pine plantations; Clear Fork Gorge; access to miles of trails
Maps: ODNR Div. of Forestry Mohican-Memorial State Forest map; ODNR Mohican State Park trail map; Mohican Regional Trail Guide (available at the Class A Campground office on SR 3); BackpackOhio.com eTrailsOhio
Contact info: Mohican State Forest, 950 ODNR Mohican Road 60, Perrysville, Ohio 44864, phone: 419-938-6222; Mohican State Park, 3116 State Route 3, Loudonville, Ohio 44842, phone: 419-994-5125
Getting there: Park and pack users must first self-register at the forest service center kiosk on Forest Road 60. From the State Route 97 exit at Interstate 71, travel east on SR 97 through Bellville and Butler for 15.7 miles to the forest entrance on the left (Forest Road 51), just after the Memorial Shrine on the right. Immediately after turning left into the forest, turn left again and follow FR 58 for 2.5 miles to FR 60. Turn right onto FR 60 and arrive shortly at the service center.
To reach the parking area for sites 1 through 4 and 7 from the service center, return via the same route you traveled from SR 97. The parking area is located at the Bridle Trail Area on the south side of SR 97 near the forest entrance, just east of the Memorial Shrine.
Sites 5 and 6 can be reached by traveling back to SR 97 via the same route from the service center and then turning left onto SR 97 for approximately 0.5 mile to a right turn onto TR 3234. Drive 1.5 miles to the small parking area on the left side of the road.
To reach sites 8 through 10 from the service center, go north, or straight, from the service center on County Road 939 for 0.6 mile and turn right onto CR 3006. CR 3006 will turn into Township Road 3006 at an intersection with CR 917 just ahead. Go straight at this intersection and travel 0.8 mile on TR 3006 to either the lower or upper parking area. The road past the lower parking area to the upper parking area is often rutted and may not be suitable for low clearance vehicles; however, the lower parking area also serves as a turnaround for school buses, so forest administrators prefer visitors use the upper area when possible.
Trailhead coordinates: forest service center – 40.6147°N, 82.3026°W (WGS84); UTM 17 389799E, 4496587N (NAD27)
The 4500 acres of Mohican-Memorial State Forest lie in north central Ohio, just east of the farthest advancement of the Wisconsinan glacier. Forest lands are located on the north and south sides of Mohican State Park, which occupies land in the roughly three-mile long, 350-foot deep Clear Fork Gorge. The scenic gorge, cut by glacial meltwater, is a National Natural Landmark and a very popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. A large earthen dam at the head of the gorge holds back water to create Pleasant Hill Lake, an 850-acre flood control lake managed by the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. A large timber-framed lodge, part of Mohican State Park, overlooks the lake and provides comfortable accommodations.
Land acquisition for the forest began in 1928 after the original forests had been cleared for agricultural use. Eventually, erosion prevailed and the land became less fertile, so farms were abandoned and subsequently reverted to brush and woodland. During the forest’s infancy, planting of trees on abandoned land was a high priority activity. This resulted in over a thousand acres of white, red and mixed pine plantations being planted, mostly by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Native oak, hickory, maple, beech, ash, cherry and walnut hardwoods have reclaimed non-planted areas. Native white pines are also found in the forest with more northerly latitude plants like hemlock and yew taking up residency in the cooler gorge. A natural gas field underlies the forest and is being actively developed. As a result, gas wells and transmission lines are a common site in many sections of the forest.
Inside forest boundaries, 270 acres has been set aside for Memorial Forest Shrine Park. This park is a tribute to the more 20,000 Ohioans killed in war. The focal point of the park is the Memorial Forest Shrine, a 32-foot by 24-foot sandstone chapel-like structure formally dedicated in 1947. Two massive wood-bound books containing the hand-lettered names of 20,000 Ohio war dead serve as the centerpiece of the shrine and are preserved in a glass case within the shrine’s grotto.
The forests of Mohican are some of Ohio’s most beautiful, and the rolling hills equally as beautiful. Add to the mix the abundant opportunities for a variety of four-season outdoor recreational activities in and around the park and you have one of Ohio’s greatest destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. Spend a summer weekend in this area and you’ll see that many other Ohioans feel the same way, too.
Mohican’s ten park and pack campsites offer a much easier backpacking experience than the state’s more traditional backpack trails. The sites are grouped together, but widely spaced, at three locations in the forest, with each location having a parking area that provides access to at least two sites. From each of the parking areas, only a short walk of a mile or less is needed to reach any of the ten primitive sites. All of the sites are undeveloped; the only improvement you’ll find is a fire ring. Each site is marked with a numbered green Carsonite sign. The sites are popular with beginning backpackers and backpackers testing gear or preparing for a longer trek elsewhere. They are also an excellent choice for a backcountry camping experience without the long hike. The close proximity of camp to your cars means you can afford to pack a few extra luxury items you may not typically take on a longer trip.
Self-registration at a kiosk in front of the forest service center prior to arriving at your campsite is required. See the Getting There section above to find the service center. The registration process is setup to eliminate campers from selecting an occupied site, and will allow campers arriving after you to see that your site is taken, thus eliminating any unexpected drop-ins. No fee is required to camp. You are allowed to register for more than one night in advance and there is no limit on the number of consecutive nights allowed at any one campsite.
The complete trail report, trail notes and trail maps for Mohican’s Park and Pack Sites is available as a 7-page downloadable eTrailsOhio PDF file for $4.95. It’s hard to find any other information about Mohican’s wonderful backcountry campsites. We have it all right here! BUY IT NOW.