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LOUDONVILLE -- Bicycling and mountain biking have become the latest major attractions in the Loudonville-Mohican area.
The popular vacation destination, which offers thousands of campsites at the Mohican State Park, Pleasant Hill Lake Park, and a number of private campgrounds, along with more luxurious lodging at resorts and bed-and-breakfast establishments, and is widely regarded as the Canoe Capital of the Eastern United States, has seen a growing amount of bicycling activity over the past decade.
The biking craze in Southern Ashland County began when a team of local property owners, a local economic development group, and volunteers built a nearly three-mile bike path connecting the Mohican State Park Class A Campground with Loudonville. Focal point of the bike path is a bicycle and foot bridge built in 2009 by a combination of local funds and a Transportation Enhancement Grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation spanning the two sides of the Black Fork in Loudonvilles Riverside Park.
Evolving simultaneously, and again spurred by volunteer leadership and much sweat equity, was the impressive Mohican Mountain Bike Trail, a 24.5-mile loop single trail that crosses both the Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest. Trailheads are at the Mohican State Park Class A Campground, on Ohio 3 just south of Loudonville, and in the middle of state forest, near the west park entrance off of Ohio 97 on Mohican Park Road No. 51.
The Mohican Mountain Bike Trail, and other trails in the area, are used as the route for the Mohican 100 MTB Race, a major mountain biking race each spring. This years race is June 1. Last year over 700 bikers started the grueling race, which begins with a 300-foot, straight-ahead vertical climb from Loudonvilles Central Park to the top of Maple Heights on the west end of the town.
The area also hosts the Mohican 100 Ultramarathon, an extreme distance running event, which will run June 16-18 this summer..
In addition to camping, canoeing, ziplining on the new Tree Frog Canopy Tours, swimming and boating, hiking and horseback riding, and sightseeing in some of Ohios most beautiful countryside, the area is the scene of many special events through the entire year,
The Loudonville-Mohican Chamber of Commerce hosts a number of special events each year, including the the Mohican Arts and Crafts Festival May 25; the Mohican Antique Festival, July 5-6, the 13th annual Loudonville Car Show, July 6, the Mohican Traditions Festival, which incorporates the old Loudonville Sidewalk Sales, Aug. 16-17; Holiday Shop Hop Dec. 6-7; and the Mohican Winterfest, scheduled for the second weekend in January, 2014.
Ashland, the county seat of Ashland County, also welcomes visitors with several special summer events, such as the Ashland BalloonFest June 27-30; Ashland Chautauqua July 9-13; and the Dream, Cruise and Car Show, July 13 in downtown Ashland..
The Wolf Creek/Pine Run Grist Mill, just south of Loudonville, has several special activities, including Pioneer Days May 25-26; the International Wine Festival June 8; the Colonial Soldiers Reenactment Weekend August 24-25; and the OctoberFest Sept. 28.
Grand-daddy of events in the Mohican area is the Great Mohican Indian Pow Wow, now in its 29th year, scheduled for two weekends, July 12-14 and Sept. 20-22.
The area offers two fairs, the Ashland County Fair, Sept. 15-21, and Loudonville Free Street Fair, its 125th anniversary edition, Oct. 1-5.
Other special festivals in Ashland County include Mohican Wildlife Weekend April 26-28; the Jeromesville Summer Festival July 27; the Seventh Annual Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale August 8-10; the Mohican Bluegrass Festival at the Mohican Wilderness Campground south of Loudonville Sept. 12-14; Log Cabin Days at Hochstetler Milling in McKay Sept. 13-14; the Ohio Heritage Days Festival (the 37th) at Malabar Farm State Park Sept. 28-29; the Jeromesville Sycamore Festival Oct. 5; Fall Foliage Drive-it-Yourself Tour around Loudonville Oct. 11-13; and the Mohican 5K Fun Run Oct. 13.