Hocking Hills State Park has more than 25 miles of trails available for your hiking pleasure. From wheelchair accessible walkways to rugged paths, there is a hiking trail for everyone in Hocking Hills. Trails offer everything from breathtaking cliff edges to recessed caves to expansive open meadows. There are six major areas in Hocking Hills that offer opportunities for hiking this fall: Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Cedar Falls, Conkle’s Hollow, Old Man’s Cave and Rock House. Read on for more information about these diverse areas and their Hocking Hills trails.
Ash Cave offers the southernmost trails in the Hocking Hills State Park. There is a lower Ash Cave trail that is handicap accessible and about a quarter-mile long. This paved sidewalk trail travels alongside the Ash Cave Gorge and ends at the recess cave. The upper Ash Cave trail, referred to as the Ash Cave Rim, is a more rugged half-mile trail. Look for the tumbling waterfall that freezes from top to bottom in the winter season.
Cantwell Cliffs is the northernmost Hocking Hills trail and best known for its amazing overlooks. This one-mile trail goes through winding narrow passages, steep inclines and a mysterious rock shelter. Although this trail is kid and pet friendly, it is important to keep pets on leash and kids away from cliff areas. Maintain the little ones safety by directing their attention to the unique passages and wildflowers along the Cantwell Cliffs trail.
For an enchanted, half-mile hike full of beautiful scenery and captivating wildlife, we suggest Cedar Falls. Cedar Falls is probably the most popular of all Hocking Hills trails. It features huge hemlocks, a picturesque waterfall and dramatic cliffs. Keep an eye out for snapping turtles in the pool beneath the falls or just below the cliff edge.
Conkle’s Hollow is a wonderful trail for the adventurous. The lower trail offers a paved, mile-long journey for wheelchairs and children featuring enormous hemlocks, rock formations, cliffs and a meandering stream. The upper 2.5-mile Conkle’s Hollow Rim trail leads to a waterfall and outstanding views of the gorge. Caution on the upper trail is advised.
Old Man’s Cave
The Old Man’s Cave trail has a plethora of interesting sites to discover. Watch out for Devil’s Bathtub, a churning tub of water spilling into the creek below; Sphinx Head, a rock formation taking the form of a sphinx head; and Old Man’s Cave, the cave aptly named for an early settler who is said to be buried in one of the recess caves of the area.
Fabled to have once been the home of Indians, bandits and thieves, Rock House beckons the imagination to run wild with tales of adventure. Look for small recesses in the back wall of the cliff face that might have been used as baking ovens and troughs on the floor said to collect rain water. The half-mile trail of Rock House provides breathtaking views and a scenic jungle atmosphere.
You can hike directly to these Hocking Hills trails and their mazes of gorges, waterfalls and recessed hollows from the front door of the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls. A quiet retreat awaits you when you return. Enjoy a unique dining experience in our Kindred Spirits restaurant. Quench your thirst for adventure on the Hocking Hills trails and your appetite for fine cuisine at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls.
Photo courtesy of Morgan Paul.