Why You Need to See Cantwell Cliffs in the Hocking Hills

One of the things we love most about our home state of Ohio is its landscape, offering a lush and vibrant beauty and a variety of different sceneries depending on where you are looking. The Hocking Hills is an adventurer’s dream — mile after mile of forest is waiting to be explored! If you’re looking to challenge yourself, head to Cantwell Cliffs. Because of its remote location, not many people have braved these trails. 

If you think you are up for the hike, the beautiful sights in Hocking Hills State Park will reward you for it! Don’t forget to access our complimentary Vacation Guide for even more area excursions!

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Why Should I Plan My Visit to Cantwell Cliffs in the Hocking Hills?

Many people expect to see acres of farm land, punctuated with red barns and cozy farmhouses and while that is one of the idyllic scenes you will see, our Hocking Hills area will make you feel as if you have turned a corner into a brand new world, featuring miles of rolling hills, of landscapes filled with mature trees and green ferns, and the stunning presence of the Cantwell Cliffs, an area that will make you fall in love with Ohio all over again. Today we want to take you on a tour of its sandstone cliffs and quiet trails that lead every hiker back to the comforts waiting in our Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls vacation sanctuary, showing our favorite people that just when you think you have our state figured out, there is something to new to discover and learn.

Cantwell Cliffs History

Cantwell Cliffs is named after one of the first families to settle in the Hocking Hills, the Cantwells. Some accounts say it is specifically named after Joseph Cantwell, who went on to marry into an affluent family.

The stone formations here were created solely from the works of nature. The sandstone is soft, so over time, water has eroded the stone away to create a stunning ravine. If you had seen this area 500 years ago, it would be completely different.

About Cantwell Cliffs

The Cantwell Cliffs is known for being challenging to get to, but it is also known for being one of the most beautiful areas in the Hocking Hills State Park. The cliffs stand about 150 feet tall and overlook Buck Run. A waterfall from Buck Run flows over a portion of the cliffs to create a magical sight. Keep an eye out for the erosion caused by centuries of water flow on the reddish-brown stone. In the spring, you are even treated to spectacular wildflowers along the way.

Cantwell Cliffs is also the home of Fat Woman’s Squeeze. This walkway is part of a rugged trail near the cliffs that sends visitors through a narrow rock path. Don’t worry; most travelers are able to fit through the gap!

Getting There

The Cantwell Cliffs Loop is a 1.8-mile trail that is rated as moderate. It is one of the most difficult trails you will find in the Hocking Hills State Park, so be cautious during your journey. On this trail, you’ll see colorful wildflowers and towering trees. The forest is always calming and beautiful, and you won’t run into many people on this trail. Keep an eye out for fallen trees, steep descents, and well-worn steps. If you don’t feel like you are up to the challenge, we are more than happy to suggest some other trails for you to enjoy in the area.

What You'll Experience at Cantwell Cliffs

The simple things in life often create the biggest impact and a hike along the trails of Cantwell Cliffs will bring you a peace and serenity you may not have expected from a bit of physical exercise. Stepping into the trees and seeing the cliffs rise all around you will give you the calm you never knew you needed and the deep quiet of this secluded area, punctuated with the distant sound of the waterfall we mentioned earlier will help quiet the noises in your brain. The air feels heavier, the world seems to disappear, and if you are lucky enough to not run into other hikers seeking the same joyful thrills you have found, you may feel as if you and your fellow travelers are the only people alive in a quiet and rugged world.

What Else Is in the Hocking Hills State Park?

Hocking Hills State Park is where the magic lies in this region of Ohio, offering a natural landscape filled with lush green trees, hidden caves, and, of course, the Cantwell Cliffs, which are located about 17 miles away from Old Man’s Cave, an area we also recommend exploring if you haven’t done so already. Years of erosion have created this imposing landscape, but not as many as you might think because of the softness of the sandstone, and if you had walked this way just half a century ago, you would experience a far different landscape and much easier walk. Offering two distinctly different trails, one that takes hikers along the base of the cliffs, perhaps leaving them feeling as if you have stepped into a land of giants. The second takes visitors up concrete stairs carved into the countryside, up to where the views will take your breath away and the sight of water tumbling over those sandstone cliffs will make you believe in bigger and better things.

There are so many caves, waterfalls, and stunning formations to see in the Hocking Hills State Park! Get our complimentary Park Guide for our recommendations on things to see and do there. As locals, we know all the best spots to experience!

Putting off Reality Just a Little Longer

When your hike has completed and you step back out of the trees and cliffs to the parking lot where your rental car is waiting, you may feel a bit disoriented about your return to civilization, but because the road you are taking leads you back to your Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls serene sanctuary, you know that you can put off reality just a little longer. Reserve your favorite escape today!