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Are Dogs Allowed In Hocking Hills?

Updated: Jan 27

You want to hike the best hikes in Hocking Hills and you want to hike as many of them as you can with your dog. Come on a tour with us of the top 6 hikes in Hocking Hills to find out which trails are pet prohibited, pet enemy, pet friendly, and pet fantastic!


Are Dogs Allowed in Hocking Hills?


Dogs are allowed in Hocking Hills State Park. Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls are the best hikes for dogs. But, Conkle's Hollow is a nature preserve and dogs are not allowed in the Preserve. Cantwell Cliffs is the most difficult trail in Hocking Hills and is only recommended for the best trail dogs. Ash Cave would be great for dogs but the stairway leading out of the Cave is a metal grate and painful to dog's paws. We wouldn't take dogs to Rock House. The stairs are difficult, the cave is dark, but if a hike isn't a hike without your pet this trail would probably be similar to Old Man's Cave in difficulty and length.


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Here is a table showing the trails in Hocking Hills and our Recommendation on whether dogs should be taken with you. When we say only the best dogs below we mean young health Retrievers, German Shephards, Malinois, and other capable breeds. Old Man's Cave is the most popular trail and their are tight trails that only the most obedient dogs should be allowed on.

Hike

Distance

Dog Friendly

Hike Difficulty

Recommendation

Old Man's Cave

1 Mile

Allowed

Easy

Well Trained Dogs Only

Whispering Cave

4.5 Miles

Allowed

Moderate

Only Best Dogs

Cedar Falls

1 Mile

Allowed

Easy

Yes

Conkle's Hollow

3.5 Miles

Prohibited

Moderate

No

Rock House

1 Mile

Allowed

Moderate

Only Best Dogs

Ash Cave

1/2Mile

Allowed

Easy

No

Cantwell Cliffs

2 Miles

Allowed

Difficult

Only Best Dogs



There are more details by hike in the rest of this post. Click or tap the YouTube Video to watch a version of this blog.




Hocking Hills is a State Park in Southeast Ohio about 40 minutes from Columbus. The park is a hidden gem in the United States filled with gorge trails, waterfalls, and scenic hikes. The region is known for the black hand sandstone that is only found in the Ohio region. On our first stop let’s find out


Are Dogs allowed at Ash Cave Trail in Hocking Hills?



Ash Cave is a must see in Hocking Hills. The Recess Cave is the largest of its kind East of the Mississippi. We wouldn’t recommend dogs on this trail, and we’ll show you why in a moment. But first let’s discuss the trail. Ash Cave is a ½ mile loop that takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. The time to complete depends on your ability, how busy the trail is and how much time you want to spend exploring Ash Cave. The trip to Ash Cave is on this accessible trail that is good for strollers and wheelchairs. Ash Cave appears as you are hiking the trail and at a distance you can see it peek through the trees. But, as you get closer you begin to realize the height and expanse of Ash Cave. Perspective is provided when you see people under the rock. If it is busy you will have a hard time stopping and recognizing the magnificence of what you are witnessing. The trail is one-way. On the other side of Ash Cave is our concern for dogs. We noticed with our labs that the metal grates on these steps were painful on their paws and we regretted bringing them on this hike. If not for the metal tread Ash Cave would be a great hike for pets.


For a full trail guide to Ash Cave Read this Post


Moving on to the second on our list and the most popular trail


Are Dogs allowed at Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills?


The trail to Old Man’s Cave includes features like the Upper Falls, Lower Falls, the Sphinx, Devil’s Bathtub and of course Old Man’s Cave. Each of these are detailed in our trail guide post. We hiked early one morning and did not compete with the number of people that usually fill these trails. The hike to Old Man’s Cave is about one mile. But, add another ½ mile to see the sphinx and lower falls. These two lengths could take you between 30 to 90 minutes depending on the traffic and trail you take. Dogs are welcome and this is a great trail to take them on. We had a low water flow day and were able to bypass an artistic bridge by hiking through the creek. One of our dogs is losing his eyesight and we didn’t want to risk him missing a step off the random concrete platforms. Old Man’s Cave was great but we hiked further to Whispering Cave and it was a mistake. The trail got much more difficult and the length was more than our labs could handle.



Before we continue with our next hike. Here are a few rules in Hocking Hills when hiking with your pet. Dogs are only allowed on the trail with a 6 foot leash or smaller. They also mention that dogs must be friendly. Let us know in the comments what you think a friendly dog means. We’d love to hear your point of view. If there is enough conversation we will add our perspective. 3. Make sure you carry pet waste bags and carry out you and your pet’s waste to a garbage can in the parking lot. Read this for a full trail guide on Old Man's Cave



There is one trail that has a real Cave so,


Are Dogs Allowed at Rock House Trail in Hocking Hills?


The trail to Rock House is a loop trail of 0.8 miles and 200 feet of elevation gain. Like most trails in Hocking Hills it takes a lot of steps to make the loop. About 200 steps to be more specific. Rock House is a true cave suspended on the gorge wall in black hand sandstone. The cave is 25 feet high and 200 feet long. The trail is a technical hike and not all dogs should hike on this trail where dogs are allowed. But, if you take your dogs, be mindful of the uneven steps, rocks, and roots. Also beware there are birds in the cave that may be a little too friendly. Take a strong flashlight with you to see the cave floor as it is uneven and difficult to navigate in the dark. Keep a tight grip on your dog’s leash to make sure if your dog bolts after the birds that they don’t escape. Here is a full trail guide to Rock House



We did not take our dogs to Rock House and were happy we left them back at the RV. If you are looking for a great campground and full hookup RV resort close to Hocking Hills check out our post on Campbell Cove in Logan Ohio on Lake Logan. The park has a lot of activities for kids, is dog friendly with dog waste stations, and has great sites for all camping setups from tents to cottages to big rigs.




Next up is the most difficult of the hikes on our list.


Are Dogs Allowed at Cantwell Cliffs in Hocking Hills?


Ok, we’re just going to come out and say it. Unless you have a Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd or similar, Cantwell Cliffs is not for your dog. However, this trail is amazing. The rock formations like what you see here and the technical nature of the trail combined with its length through the forest is a must hike in Hocking Hills. We hiked the gorge trail to the rim trail and it took about 1.5 hours. Enjoy hiking the trail and noticing all the improvements made by the civilian conservation corps in the 1930s. We have more details on their work and what gear you should take with you on this hike in our trail guide post. Cantwell Cliffs are as high as 150 feet from rim to Buck Run Creek. The forest is filled with tall hardwoods and pines and blanketed with ferns and wildflowers providing beautiful views at every turn.



Every good hiking video needs a dad joke: How do fleas travel from place to place? By itch-hiking! Read more about Cantwell Cliffs here.


This next trail includes a handicapped accessible paved gorge trail that takes you through some of the best forest in the area.


Are Dogs Allowed at Conkle’s Hollow in Hocking Hills?


Conkle’s Hollow Nature Preserve is reserved space in Hocking Hills for the Trees, Plants, and wildlife that call the Preserve home. The trails are included to show us what the preserve is doing to maintain this habitat. You’ll notice this habitat is a little healthier than other hikes on the list. There are two trails in the preserve. The out and back Gorge trail is paved for about a ½ mile and then proceeds into a more technical trail back to the beginning of the gorge and a waterfall not to be missed. Pay attention on the trail to the forest and rock formations. These views are only available on the gorge trail. Plan about a ½ hour to hike the gorge trail.



The Rim is much more difficult and starts with a series of steps. The rest of the hike is mainly on the rim edge and is a 2.1 mile loop and takes over an hour to complete. It is a very technical hike and has a level of danger that is deadly. People have fallen off the rim into the gorge to their death. But the rim has spectacular views of the forest from above and looking down into the gorge is a completely different experience. As Conkle’s Hollow is a nature preserve dogs are strictly prohibited and will not be allowed to protect the wildlife and habitat.



Each of these trails are very popular and enjoyable, But dogs need to be well behaved for you to have an enjoyable hike. The trails are technical, narrow in places, and at times difficult for humans to hike. If your dog will distract you from your hike, leave them at home to prevent injury to yourself or others. Read more about hiking Conkle's Hollow here


Now for our favorite dog friendly hike in Hocking Hills


Are Dogs Allowed at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills?


The big deal about Cedar Falls is the Waterfall. Dogs are welcome at Cedar Falls and this is the best hike for dogs. The steps were designed by an architect in 1997 and were built in a way to reduce the strain and effort to hikers and we’re sure pets benefit, too. We found the trail to be perfect for dogs and paws and the waterfall provides a stunning view and a place to sit and relax before proceeding up the hill and back to the parking lot. The trail is a ½ mile loop and takes 30 minutes to enjoy. The waterfall is 50 feet in height and is part of Queer Creek that flows through Hocking Hills. This is the most reliable of the waterfalls in Hocking Hills and was the site of a grist mill in the 1800s. But the name is funny, too. Early settlers mistook the Hemlock trees for Cedars and the name Cedar Falls was born and is still in use today.



Read More Details about Hiking Cedar Falls here.


Are Dogs Allowed in Hocking Hills?


Dogs are allowed in Hocking Hills State Park. Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls are the best hikes for dogs. But, Conkle's Hollow is a nature preserve and dogs are not allowed in the Preserve. Cantwell Cliffs is the most difficult trail in Hocking Hills and is only recommended for the best trail dogs. Ash Cave would be great for dogs but the stairway leading out of the Cave is a metal grate and painful to dog's paws. We wouldn't take dogs to Rock House. The stairs are difficult, the cave is dark, but if a hike isn't a hike without your pet this trail would probably be similar to Old Man's Cave in difficulty and length.




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