The Tar Hollow of Hocking Hills State Park takes its name from the pitch pines that grow on the rocky ridges. The sap, or pine tar, was used by the Indians to make turpentine and other medicines. The pioneers in the area continued this practice to doctor themselves and their animals; and to make lubricants for their farm machinery.
In the 1930’s, the Tar Hollow region was set aside for conservation purposes. Soon afterward, the 15 acre Pine Lake and some camping facilities were built by the WPA. The park is bordered by Tar Hollow State Forest, Ohio’s third largest State Forest. The nature lover will be drawn back, again and again, to marvel at the primeval wildness of the many acres of majestic hardwoods.
The wide variety of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians found in Tar Hollow harkens back to a time when Ohio was very young. Some of the animal species found here are rare or completely absent in other parts of Ohio.
Tar Hollow State Park is located between Laurelville and Chillicothe in Southeast Ohio. The park derives its name from the shortleaf pine trees and pitch pine trees that grow throughout the hollow. The sap from the trees were used by the Native Americans to make turpentine and other medicines.
Tar Hollow is the third largest state forest in Ohio, covering 16,120 acres. Activities at Tar Hollow State Park include camping, boating, fishing, horseback riding, backpacking and hiking. You can boat on the 15-acre Pine Lake with electric motors. The Lake is also ideal for canoes and rowboats.
Explore the Ross Hollow Hiking trail, which provides foot access to the hills of the Hollow. The 21-mile Logan Boy Scout Trail winds through both the park and the forest. A section of the Ohio Buckeye Trail also passes through the park. There is a backpack camp located at the fire town and a horse camp on the forest grounds. At the General Store, the 2-mile Pine Run mountain bike trail starts.
Tar Hollow State Park is a favorite in the spring for locals and visitors to go morel hunting. While locals will not share their hiding places, Tar Hollow hosts an annual morel weekend.
Tar Hollow covers parts of Ross, Vinton and Hocking Counties. Good highways lead into the park from all directions.