Outdoor enthusiasts adore hiking in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Recess cave and waterfall


Caves, cliffs, waterfalls, and woodland

The landscape of Hocking Hills State Park features rugged rocks formed by millions of years of erosion, resulting in breathtaking scenery. The moist microclimate created by melting glaciers allowed a variety of northern plants to thrive, creating lush forests of hemlocks, ferns, and other species that don’t grow elsewhere in Ohio.

Old Man’s Cave is perhaps the most famous of the hikes within the park. The 1.5-mile loop trail takes you through a rugged gorge to an incredible recess cave. In the late 1700s, a man named Richard Rowe made his home within the cave and was eventually buried there. The hike is moderately strenuous and involves some steep inclines along the way. You can complete the loop trail in about an hour.

Ash Cave is another popular route to wander through a magnificent hemlock grove to a large overhang. The one-way hike is about a half-mile of flat terrain, making it one of the best wheelchair-accessible trails in Hocking Hills. A trickling waterfall pours off the cliff above the recess cave. This easy hike takes about 40 minutes each way. From there, you can choose to return along the easy path or venture along the rim trail leading to Cedar Falls, which can also be accessed from a separate parking area and a half-mile trail. The beautiful waterfalls plummet off of the sandstone cliffs into a pristine pool. Other hikes include Whispering Cave, Conkle’s Hollow, Cantwell Cliffs, and Rock House.

Year-round recreation and unique accommodations

Snow-covered cabin

Hocking Hills is an incredible destination, regardless of the season. During the spring and summer, the forests come alive with colorful displays of wildflowers, and the autumn months offer some of the best opportunities to see the fall colors in Ohio. During the winter, the park’s many waterfalls freeze over, appearing as gorgeous natural ice sculptures.

The park remains open for hiking throughout the year, seven days a week, including holidays. Opening hours are from dawn until dusk. During the summer, you can enjoy additional outdoor recreation opportunities like kayaking and canoeing on the Hocking River. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also ride horseback, rock climb, and rappel during your trip.

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Camping is another popular pastime in the warmer months. Hocking Hills Campground offers primitive riverfront sites where you can sleep peacefully under the stars and electric RV sites where you can glamp in style. Make sure to book your campsite well in advance, as sites fill up fast. As the weather grows cooler, opt for private cabin rental where you can get cozy after a day of hiking and adventure. Options range from luxurious multi-bedroom cabins with private hot tubs to unique tree houses and yurts. Hocking Hills Lodge and Conference Center offers comfortable rooms steps away from some of the best hiking in the park. Prices start at around $169 per night.

Dave Pennells

By Dave Pennells

Dave Pennells, MS, has contributed his expertise as a career consultant and training specialist across various fields for over 15 years. At City University of Seattle, he offers personal career counseling and conducts workshops focused on practical job search techniques, resume creation, and interview skills. With a Master of Science in Counseling, Pennells specializes in career consulting, conducting career assessments, guiding career transitions, and providing outplacement services. Her professional experience spans multiple sectors, including banking, retail, airlines, non-profit organizations, and the aerospace industry. Additionally, since 2001, he has been actively involved with the Career Development Association of Australia.