Mount Vernon Trails
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Best Trails near Mount Vernon, Ohio

Mount Vernon and the surrounding areas of Knox County have a number of excellent hiking and biking trails for you to enjoy. In this article, we discuss three of our favorites. If you have questions about the various trials in our area, give us a call. We'll be glad to help. (Note: Location refers to the trailhead closest to Woodland Legacy.)

Kokosing Gap Trail

  • Location: Phillips Park
  • Length: Approx. 14.0 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance from us: 8.0 miles

The Kokosing Gap Trail is a paved rail-trail that starts in Mount Vernon, runs through Gambier and Howard, and ends in Danville. This former Pennsylvania Railroad line is a great way to explore the Knox County countryside.

In the Mount Vernon area, the trail passes by the Kokosing River and over two restored railroad trestles. Around Gambier, the trail runs by the Brown Family Environmental Center at Kenyon College. The Gambier trailhead is a great place to take a break and explore the beautifully restored train cars nearby (a 1940-era locomotive and a 1924 caboose). In the Howard area, you'll pass through a stone passage and by impressive mill towers. There's also a well-maintained playground that kids will enjoy in the Howard area. Past Howard, the trail then winds through the scenic fields and pastures of surrounding farms. Once you reach Danville, you'll find a picnic area at the Trail Drive parking lot if you want to relax before heading back. 

Most of the Kokosing Gap Trail is paved asphalt, with a few areas made up of wooden boardwalks. Elevation gain is around 320 feet. The trail can be used for hiking, biking, and cross-country skiing. For the most part the trail is wheelchair accessible; however, some sections are rather steep and can be a problem. The best time to hike or bike this trail is from March through October. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed.

Heart of Ohio Trail

  • Location: South Main Street
  • Length: 15.7 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance from us: 7.1 miles

The Heart of Ohio Trail is a rail-trail that begins in Mount Vernon and ends in Centerburg, Ohio. It's a 15.7 mile section of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail.

In Mount Vernon, the trail starts at the Cleveland, Akron, and Columbus Railroad Depot, which was built in 1907. It then passes by 250-acre Ariel Foundation Park and, just outside of town, a dragstrip. The trail then winds through open farmlands and quiet wooded areas, and much of the trail parallels Dry Creek. During the spring and summer months, wildflowers will be in bloom, and you're likely to see a variety of bird species. You'll pass over a number of bridges as you cross back-and-forth over the creek. As you head toward Centerburg, you'll gradually gain elevation, and the high point of the trail is actually in Centerburg.

The Heart of Ohio Trail is well-maintained paved asphalt and around 6-feet wide. The trail can be used for hiking and biking. Elevation gain is a little over 400 feet, with grades of 5% or less. Most of the trail is easily accessible by wheelchair. Dogs are welcome, but must be leashed. Be sure to keep an eye out for traffic when you start the trail in Mount Vernon and end it in Centerburg. Both areas can be busy, at times.

Mohican Valley Trail

  • Location: Danville, Ohio
  • Length: 4.8 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Distance from us: 21.7 miles

Mohican Valley Trail is another rail-trail that is a section of the Ohio-to-Erie Trail. While it's a little outside Mount Vernon, it's a beautiful Knox County trail that's definitely worth exploring.

Mohican Valley Trail starts in Danville, Ohio and runs for just under five miles to Brinkhaven, Ohio (Gann, Ohio). It's a converted right-of-way of the Penn Central Railroad. It's an unusual trail in that it allows for horses and horse-and-buggies. The current trail is a 10-foot wide asphalt trail that was constructed by combining a bike trail and a horse trail that ran parallel to one other.

What makes the Mohican Valley Trail special is that it runs through the Bridge of Dreams, the third longest covered bridge in the United States. Bridge of Dreams is 370-feet long and crosses the Mohican River, offering fantastic views of the river and the surrounding countryside. Also, if you're interested in birding, this is definitely a trail you want to explore. A variety of bird species can be found near the trail, including Baltimore orioles, rose-breasted grosbeaks, and great-crested flycatchers.

Much of Mohican Valley Trail is paved asphalt, and it has a minimal elevation (about 120 feet). (There is a slight climb near Tiger Valley Road in Danville.) Mohican Valley Trail is used by hikers, bikers, horseback riders, and horse-and-buggy folks. In the winter, the trail is open to cross-country skiing. A word of warning: Keep an eye out for horse droppings along the trail. Also, since horses are common on Mohican Valley Trail, it's probably best to leave the dog at home for this hike.