Conquer the swinging bridge and ladder on this 2-mile Ohio trail
Mohican State Park is the perfect park for families looking to enjoy waterfalls, nature, and hiking! However, Mohican State Park trails can often be busy, especially on weekends, and local officials realized the need to open a new trail. The problem was solved by revitalizing and reopening a circa-1930s Civilian Conservation Corps trail that begins at the Gorge Overlook. The Gorge Overlook Trail at Mohican State Park combines both history and adventure.
I recently conquered the Gorge Overlook Trail with my mother-in-law and my 7-year-old daughter, proving that while this trail is rated difficult, it is really more about fitness level! If you’re planning to visit Mohican State Park with your family, I’d consider the ages of your children and their ability to listen to you! Our daughter has been hiking since she was a tot and I knew that she would follow my commands about staying on the trail, keeping away from the edge, and so on. If you’re traveling with kids, you should also check out my Family Adventure Guide to Mohican State Park.
Gorge Overlook Trail
Arriving at Mohican State Park, you’ll want to follow signs for the Gorge Overlook. If possible, park in the first parking lot that you see, but it’s fine to drive to the east parking lot if it’s full.
If you want the easiest version of the trail (if there is such a thing), make sure to descend into the gorge from the first overlook (western side of the gorge). Either direction you go, you’ll have a steep climb, but I appreciated climbing the ladder UP instead of having to descend the ladder.
Tip: Wear good footwear with plenty of tread! I wear an Adidas Trail Running shoe (similar).
The western descent is a zig-zag, full of plenty of switchbacks to help make it easier. The reward is a cool spot by the Clear Fork Mohican River and a bit of flat terrain.
While hiking through the gorge, look for the remaining foundations of two Civilian Conservation Corps shelter houses.
Soon enough you’ll find one of the highlights of the Gorge Overlook Trail – the newly installed cable bridge.
The swinging bridge was so fun for our daughter! She really gave her mama a scare by jumping on it over and over again. #neededamotionsicknesspill
If you cross the bridge, the trail leads back to the campground at Mohican State Park, so have a look at the bridge and enjoy a crossing, but then come back to the original trail and continue.
Quickly after the swinging bridge, the trail begins the ascent up the gorge. I’ve heard that some of the stairs here are the original CCC stairs from the 1930s. Then it’s time for another highlight of the trail – the ladder. Yes, at this point, the trail became too steep for stairs, it could only be conquered with a ladder.
After ascending the ladder, there’s still quite a bit of hill to go. Thank goodness this is a shaded hike because we were already sweaty!
Returning back to the Mohican Gorge Overlook, I found my mother’s heart bursting with pride for my little girl. She accomplished a hiking trail rated “difficult,” something I didn’t expect for a few more years. We were extremely thankful for the park benches nearby to rest our sweat-drenched bodies and reflect on our shared experience.
I hope you get the chance to try the Gorge Overlook Trail! I hope to visit again soon with my husband and other children!
What is your favorite hike at Mohican State Park? Will you try the Gorge Overlook Trail?
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