Posted in Hiking, Northeastern Ohio, Park review

Mohican State Park: Gorge Overlook Trail and Swinging Bridge

We visited the newly opened Gorge Overlook trail and swinging bridge at Mohican State Park. The trail is a 2.5 mile loop that starts and ends at opposite ends of the Gorge Overlook parking area.

Mohican State Park Cable Bridge

The parking area has two observation areas for viewing the gorge formed by the Clear Fork of the Mohican River. The view from the observation area is spectacular.

View of gorge from observation area

The parking area is relatively small and quickly filled on a sunny pleasant fall Saturday morning. The parking area contained a couple of Port-a-Potties and a permanent restroom (not sure if it was open).

The trailheads for the new Gorge Overlook Trail are located near each of the two observation areas. Having hiked the trail, we recommend (if you are facing the gorge) starting on the left-side trailhead. Of course, as this was our first hike here, we started with the right-hand trailhead.

A sign-at the trailhead warns the trail is “steep and challenging”. They are not joking. The trail gets steep quickly with a sharp drop-off to one side. We were glad we brought hiking sticks. We would soon be glad they were “folding” hiking sticks.

Sign at Gorge Overlook Trailhead

Starting the descent
Small boardwalk as you descend the gorge

After a short distance we encountered a ladder. We folded our sticks and placed them into Deb’s backpack and then proceeded carefully down the ladder. At it’s base we retrieved and opened the sticks as the steep trail continued.

At the top of the ladder
Deb descending the ladder on the Gorge Overlook Trail

After a time we made it to the trail along the banks of the Clear Fork. Many years ago there had previously been trails along the bank and even an earlier suspension bridge built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). We could see the remains of the suspension bridge and and an earlier structure built by the CCC.

The trail along the banks of the Clear Fork
Remains of an earlier bridge
Earlier structure built by the CCC

The trail continued along the river bank until we eventually spied the new cable suspension bridge. The suspension bridge is anchored by steel cables on both sides, but swings freely as you cross the bridge. Mid-stream it provides very scenic views of the Clear Fork.

Entrance to Mohican cable bridge
Side view of the bridge
View from the middle of the bridge
Cable bridge entrance on opposite bank

Upon crossing the bridge we encountered wide and newly refurbished trails connecting Mohican Campground B (by the covered bridge) with the main Mohican campground. We had hiked this trail many years ago, but at the time it was not well maintained and was very overgrown. Deb and I both look forward to trying the refurbished trail in the future.

We then re-crossed the suspension bridge and continued on the Gorge Overlook Trail. Some hikers coming the other way warned us that the “escalators were out” on the trail. A bit of trail humor (though a few years ago we visited a trail on the island of Enoshima in Japan which did have outdoor escalators).

A pleasant and scenic portion of the trail continued along the banks of the Clear Fork.

The trail continues along the bank of the Clear Fork
View of the Clear Fork from the bank

Finally, the trail turned to the left and began the ascent of the gorge back towards the parking lot. This portion of the trail was not nearly as steep as our descent and included numerous switchbacks.

Ascending the gorge
Continuing the ascent
Just a little farther to go

We finally reached the top of the gorge, continued a short distance and arrived back at our car.

We celebrated our enjoyable hike with a stop at Wedgewing Family Restaurant (167 E 3rd St, Perrysville, OH 44864). We stopped there before for both breakfast and lunch and especially for their amazing pies.

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© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

One thought on “Mohican State Park: Gorge Overlook Trail and Swinging Bridge

  1. Great info! We went to the Gorge Overlook this summer and were intimidated by the “steep and challenging” sign, but now we’ll know what to expect and what to take to be prepared! Thanks for the recommendations and photos!

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