Hiking in Hocking Hills is a fantastic way to spend a day in Ohio. This State Park offers natural beauty and seclusion plus some of the best hiking in the state. It’s a popular weekend or day trip from Columbus, so if you’re visiting the area, it shouldn’t be too hard to squeeze in.
What’s different in 2020? All areas of Hocking Hills State Park have been re-opened as of July 2, 2020. When you visit now, you’ll notice that all trails are one-way only.
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Hocking Hills State Park – Logan, Ohio
Location: 19852 State Route 664, Logan, Ohio 43138
Hocking Hills State Park is located in Logan, Ohio in the southeastern part of the state. It’s a beautiful wooded, rural area that’s within driving distance of many nearby cities.
Approximate driving times from nearby cities to Hocking Hills State Park:
- Columbus, Ohio – 1 hour
- Dayton, Ohio – 2 hours
- Cincinnati, Ohio – 2 hours 15 minutes
- Cleveland, Ohio – 3 hours
- Charleston, West Virginia – 2 hours
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania– 3 hours 15 minutes
Hiking in Hocking Hills
As with most of the park’s visitors, we were there to do some hiking. The park offers numerous trails with something for everyone — easy strolls, moderate, wooded paths, and vigorous hikes for those who are a bit more experienced.
Things to keep in mind when hiking in Hocking Hills State Park:
- There are 7 main areas for hiking
- Trails are open year-round from dawn to dusk
- All trails are now one-way only to allow for social distancing
Hocking Hills Hiking Trails
Once inside Hocking Hills State Park, you’ll find 7 main areas for hiking.
1. Ash Cave
Ash Cave is a large recess cave located at the southern end of Hocking Hills State Park. The rim of this U-shaped cave is over 700 ft wide and features a beautiful waterfall. There are 2 trails to choose from at this location.
- Ash Cave Gorge: This is an easy 1/4 mile path that leads into the cave and is handicapped accessible.
- Ash Cave Rim: This is a slightly more difficult, but still very moderate, path that takes you around the upper rim of the cave. This trail is about 1/2 mile long.
2. Cedar Falls
Cedar Falls is a large 50 ft waterfall that has the largest volume of water of any of the falls in the park. You can take a 3-mile hike from Cedar Falls to Old Mans’ Cave or a 3-mile hike from Cedar Falls south to Ash Cave.
3. Old Man’s Cave
Old Man’s Cave one of the most popular Hocking Hills trails and therefore parking can be busy on popular weekends. Thankfully we visited on a weekday and had no problem. From here you can take the Grandma Gatewood Trail which connects to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave.
It’s a 6-mile trail end to end one way. The Old Man’s Cave trail is about 1 mile long. If you’re in this area, check out the Devil’s Bathtub to view a cool natural whirlpool!
Pro Tip: If you will be bringing the kids to visit Hocking Hills State Park, bring their rain boots. They’ll enjoy splashing in the puddles and creeks and you’ll enjoy not listening to them complain about wet shoes for the rest of the day!
4. Conkle’s Hollow
Conkle’s Hollow has been a State Nature Preserve since 1977. It offers cliffs that rise about 200 feet above the ground. The gorge is as narrow as 100 feet in some places and is one of the deepest in Ohio.
This area is incredibly shady because of the abundance of trees, so it’s great if you want to stay out of the hot midday sun. There are 2 trails at the Conkle’s Hollow Nature Preserve:
- Conkle’s Hollow: This is an easy paved 1/2 mile trail (1 mile total in and back) into the Conkle’s Hollow Gorge. This trail is accessible to wheelchairs and strollers so it’s great for the whole family.
- Conkle’s Hollow Rim: This is a difficult 2 1/2 mile trail around the rim of the gorge. This trail is not for anyone who has a fear of heights! It’s narrow and has steep drop-offs in some places. I wouldn’t recommend this for kids either. It was pretty muddy the day we did this trail which added an element of difficulty.
5. Rock House
Rock House is unique as it is the only true cave in Hocking Hills State Park. It has tunnel-like paths that were created by water leaking through cracks in the sandstone. The Rock House Trail is an easy 1/2 mile long. While you are there, look for small recesses in the back walls — these are believed to have been used as cooking ovens by the Native Americans.
6. Cantwell Cliffs
Cantwell Cliffs is one of the most remote areas of the park, located on the far north side. There is a 1-mile trail that is fairly difficult with many steep dropoffs and narrow passages. While you are there see if you can squeeze through the narrow stairway dubbed “Fat Woman’s Squeeze”! There’s also a shorter, easier path through the valley of the cliffs.
7. Whispering Cave/Hemlock Bridge Trail
Hemlock Bridge Trail and Whispering Cave Trail are the newest hiking areas in Hocking Hills State Park. Whispering Cave includes a 300-foot wide recess cave and a 100+ foot waterfall.
Keep Exploring: Looking for more great hiking in Ohio? Check out Cuyahoga Valley National Park just outside of Cleveland.
Other Activities in Hocking Hills State Park
In addition to hiking, you’ll find plenty of other fun outdoor activities at Hocking Hills State Park!
- Horseback riding
- Canoeing and kayaking
- Rock climbing
Accommodations Near Hocking Hills State Park
There are lots of accommodations in and near Hocking Hills. You’ll find everything from luxury cabins to camping.
Luxury Inns and Cabins:
Hotels and Motels:
Apartments, Cabins, and Private Homes:
- Hocking Hills Rusty Loft (apartment)
- Cozy Log Cabin (private cabin)
- Rock House (3 bedroom cabin, sleeps 8)
- White Tail Cabin (3 bedroom cabin, sleeps 8)
- Hocking Hills Vacation Home (6 bedroom home, sleeps 18)
Hiking in Hocking Hills is a must-do activity when visiting Ohio. It’s a beautiful area that offers fun and recreation for the whole family and is a Buckeye State favorite.
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This Post Has 16 Comments
I actually live right here in the Hocking Hills. It is spectacular. There is a Hemlock tree that only grows here. No place else can support it. Indigenous to the Hills. There are Hopewell mounds here on 180 going to Laurelville. Mound Crossing. 4 mounds right there. Twin mounds. Half circle mound. Then a large mound may have taken 500 years to build. Enjoy.
You’re lucky to live in such a beautiful place! Thanks for your comment.
Are dogs allowed on the trails?
Dogs are allowed on some trails. Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, and Cantwell Cliffs are a few of the dog friendly trails.
We SO want to go here. (Especially since I have a son named Logan!)
That’s perfect! 🙂 You will enjoy it so much!
I have been wanting to visit Hocking Hills! It looks like a beautiful place to hike, and I’ve heard it’s great for rock climbing as well!
I’ve only done hiking there…I think I would be too intimidated to try rock climbing!!
We just went to Hocking Hills State Park earlier this month! I enjoyed reading about your experiences there and comparing them to my own experiences. I especially agree with your tip to bring rainboots for any children hiking the trails with you. I sure wish we had brought waterproof footwear for our kids! Haha.
Yes – I have no desire to hike with kids who have wet feet!!
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This is great! I just found out I’m going to SouthEast Ohio next week, so I’m definitely going to stop at Hocking Hills on the way home!
Great! I think you will enjoy it – such a beautiful area!
Thanks for this most wonderful blast from the past! I visited all of these areas many times and in all seasons when I lived in Athens County in the late 1980s and early 90s, by far the most beautiful part of Ohio. I hope that Ohioans are doing all they can to ensure that all of these areas stay preserved.
It is beautiful, isn’t it! I didn’t even feel like I was still in Ohio when I was there.
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