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- Ash Cave
- Cedar Falls
- Rock House
- Olde Dutch
- Bit Of Country Cabins
We drove from the Cleveland area (3 hours) and arrived at Hocking Hills at noon. We had a picnic lunch at the parking by Ash Cave (there are bathrooms and lots of picnic tables) and did the short, 0.7 mile loop trail to the cave. They have the trails one-way now, but the trail to get there is paved and you can go back the same way if you have mobility issues. Once you get to the cave, there might be a seasonal waterfall and a staircase that takes you up to the return trail. Very neat area – the “cave” is huge. Ash Cave is the furthest spot we went to, but it had rained that morning so we wanted to go there first in hopes of the seasonal waterfall being present. It was, and I would try to time up your visit when it’s recently rained. The other waterfalls usually have at least some flow.
We drove to the nearby Cedar Falls parking lot and did the 0.75 mile loop trail. This one has some rocks and stairs to navigate but overall is very easy. The falls are much larger than pictures indicate and part of the trail goes along the creek – very enjoyable.
We were staying about 20 minutes east of the park, and pretty much all the food options are up in Logan, so we drove up to Rock House next. We parked at the upper lot and did the 1 mile loop (which ends at the lower lot, short walk between the lots). Rock House is really neat – our kids loved exploring the area and it’s the truest cave-like setting in the area.
Picked up dinner from Olde Dutch (good, hearty meals) and ate at our cabin. Stayed at Bit o Country – more on the rustic side when compared with the new, more-luxurious cabins that are all over the area but very clean and suited our needs just fine.
- Upper Falls
- Lower Falls
We took our time in the morning and got to Old Man’s Cave (aka the visitor center) around 10. If you’re visiting during a busy time, get there as early as you can as it’s the most popular part of the park. There are a lot of spaces but not much was open when we arrived and the lot was full by noon.
It’s the most popular for good reason – there are several waterfalls, bridges, and stone staircases that go through the gorge. I’d say it’s the most beautiful place in Ohio. You can do about a 1-mile loop from Upper to Lower falls in the gorge (one-way traffic as of this writing) and back along the “exit” trail up top, but there are several areas where you can start and/or jump in. You can also extend it by going to Broken Rock Falls, a short side-trail by Lower Falls. Upper and Lower Falls are on opposite ends but both are must-sees – don’t skip either.
We would have done Broken Rock Falls and gone to Conkle’s Hollow but one of our children fell and banged up their leg so we called it a day and drove home.
Old Man’s cave, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls are within minutes of each other and are best done together. Conkle’s Hollow (2 – 2.5 mile hike, great overlooks in autumn) is a few miles north of Old Man’s Cave, and Rock House is about 5 miles further from there. Another area nearby to explore is Rockbridge State Nature Preserve – there’s a 2.75 mile RT hike out to the largest natural bridge in the state. That’s very close to Logan.
You could see and do all of these in 1 long day, but I think 2 days is ideal. You could also hike the Buckeye Trail from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave, but that’s 6 miles one-way and you’d have to stage 2 cars unless you want to do 12 miles.
Overall, Hocking Hills is a very beautiful and enjoyable area for any age. You’ll get lots of other people for that reason but it shouldn’t deter you from going – just try to avoid the middle part of the day.
Traveled in March 2021