How Long Does It Take To Go Through Hocking Hills State Park?
We think you need about 2.5 days to get a good view of Hocking Hills State Park but, stick around as we share a few options for you and your brood. Let’s Get Started.
The number of days you need to visit Hocking Hills State Park depends on your interests and what you want to experience while you're there. Hocking Hills State Park is located in Southeastern Ohio about 40 minutes from Columbus, and offers a variety of outdoor activities and natural attractions, including hiking, waterfalls, caves, and scenic overlooks. Here are some factors to consider when planning your visit based on the days you have available. To watch the video version of this post click here
What If I Only Have One Day to Visit Hocking Hills State Park?
We think Hocking Hills is best viewed through hiking. If you only have one day most people will hike to Old Man’s Cave. The hike from the Visitor’s Center to Old Man’s Cave will give you the most sights to see than any other hike in Hocking Hills. As you descend into the gorge you will discover the most popular waterfall in the park, Upper Falls. The hike through the gorge provides great views of black hand sandstone which is only found in the Ohio region. Devil’s bathtub is the next water feature on this hike. You’ll also enjoy hiking through two tunnels, and over a few bridges on the way to Old Man’s Cave which was inhabited by a hunter/trapper and his two dogs. Proceed further to see the sphinx and lower falls before heading out of the gorge and back to your car. Plan on 90 minutes of hiking here. If you are looking for more than hikes stay until the end as we will share some other great attractions in Hocking Hills. After Old Man’s Cave the next hike we would recommend in one day is a toss up between Ash Cave and Cedar Falls.
Ash Cave is the largest recess cave in the eastern United States with a rich history. It was once home to native tribes as settlers discovered the cave and found a pile of ash over 100 feet long in the cave. Settlers used it as a meeting place and more recently the symphony orchestra uses it for outdoor performances. The hike is easy with the walk to the cave on a paved path. The hike out has metal steps leading out of the gorge and you can plan on 30-40 minutes of hiking Ash Cave.
Before we discuss Cedar Falls we want you to know that we have detailed hiking guides for each of these hikes at the end of the blog. Check them out below!
If you would rather see the most reliable waterfall in Hocking Hills Cedar Falls might be your next hike. We enjoyed this hike with steps leading down to the creek with a great view of black hand sandstone. The waterfall is revealed from behind trees and falls about 50 feet into the pool below. When leaving cedar falls you will discover more sandstone and steps leading out of the gorge back to the large parking lot with the total hike lasting at least 30 minutes.
If you have time all three of these hikes can be completed in one day. You’ll have to add time for driving to each location, finding parking spots, lunch, time at the visitor’s center and more. We’ll discuss what you can find at the Visitor’s Center later But,
What If I Have Two Days To Visit Hocking Hills State Park?
Two full days in Hocking Hills give you more options and more immersion into Hocking Hills State Park. Definitely hike Old Man’s Cave as mentioned above first thing in the morning but we would add the hike to Whispering Cave if you want a more challenging hike through the forest and a less busy trail after reaching lower falls. We would also hike to Ash Cave and Cedar Falls with Old Man’s Cave like we mentioned in our one day above.
On the Second day you can add 3 more areas of Hocking Hills to your hiking list. We hiked Cantwell Cliffs first. It is a more technical hike and deemed by many to be the most difficult hike in Hocking Hills. Cantwell Cliffs is in a remote section of Hocking Hills and is a more quiet trail through the forest. The landscape is exceptional with beautiful gorge views while hiking near buck run creek. Then the trail rises to the rim for the return to the parking lot. Plan on 60-90 minutes of hiking time for Cantwell Cliffs.
The next hike takes you to the only real cave in Hocking Hills and coming up later we will recommend an adventure through the treetops you don’t want to miss.
Rock House trail is rich in history and yes, there is a real cave in Hocking Hills. The cave became so popular that in the 1900s the Rock House Hotel was built on the rim to house visitors who wanted to explore the area. The trail descends into the gorge but doesn’t travel to the bottom before leading into the cave that used to be home to native people and later robbers and murderers. Also called Robber’s Roost you will want to bring a flashlight to fully explore the 200 feet long and 25 foot tall cave. The hike stays on the cliff edge and exits out of the gorge with a moderate incline back to the parking lot in this 30 minute hike.
If you are up for one more hike on Day 2 Conkle’s Hollow Nature Preserve could be the most beautiful place in Hocking Hills. The Nature Preserve provides a wheelchair accessible gorge trail that leads to a more rustic hiking trail into this amazing place filled with moss, lichens, rock and an out of this world experience. Plan on 30 minutes for the gorge trail. If you want to lengthen your hike, with a more challenging course, while seeing views from above hike the rim trail, too. The hike is a loop around the gorge that is 2.1 miles in length and takes over an hour to complete.
Those are the six best hikes in Hocking Hills. What do you think your favorite hike will be in Hocking Hills? We’d love to hear your comments and questions. There is the 1 and 2 day hiking plans but you will need more time in Hocking Hills to enjoy all the area has to offer. So,
What Else Is There To Do In Hocking Hills?
We got up early and hiked these six hikes over 2 days and still had time the first day to go zip lining. We went to Hocking Hills Canopy Tours and had a blast zip lining through the trees above the Hocking River. The tour includes more than 10 zip lines of increasing length to let you ease into the experience. But your brood needs to be at least 10 years old and 70 pounds. There is no age limit but to participate in this adventure through the trees you must be less than 250 pounds and everyone is weighed before the zip line tour begins.
While we continue hiking through Hocking Hills with views from Conkle’s Hollow rim trail let’s talk about places to find food and drinks in the area.
Throughout the region there are other great ways to vacation. If you are looking for local drinks the Hocking Hills Winery and Hocking Hills Moonshine rise to the top of the list. In addition to wines, Hocking Hills winery has charcuterie boards and other light offerings. But if you are looking for more of a meal you can find many restaurants with most in Logan Ohio. We chose the Home Tavern and were not disappointed. This is a bar that we would have found in our hometown. The food was great, the beer was cold, and we had fun playing pool and watching sports. But if you are looking for coffee check out Oasis Coffee Shop on Lake Logan in the Campbell Cove RV Park. This unique caffeinated experience is showcased with an airstream trailer and outdoor patio. Speaking of Lake Logan.
What If I Have Three Or More Days In Hocking Hills State Park?
With three or more days in Hocking Hills you have more time to relax and unwind. Lake Logan State Park is a beautiful fishing lake about 10 minutes from Hocking Hills. You can actually stay on Lake Logan with a rental house or take your rv or tents to Campbell Cove Campground. Campbell Cove has full hookup rv sites, cottages, and tent sites and great customer service. The bathhouses are private with shower, sink and toilet. The activities for your brood include ping pong, an arcade, and a full playground with tether ball and a jumping pad. There is a miniature golfing course called wormburner for kids of all ages. But they don’t have a pool. Instead they have a cool swimming hole with a beach and fishing is popular at the campground on one half of the pond and also in Lake Logan. The campground also has kayaks for rent that you can take on Lake Logan, too.
Here are some more views of Old Man’s Cave while we discuss less populated hikes.
If Hocking Hills is too busy or you are looking for other hiking adventures include Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve, and Wahkeena State Nature Preserve. The park rangers at Conkle’s Hollow and other hikers we met, raved about these locations. For more details on these hikes visit the Ohio DNR website
Are you enjoying the views of Hocking Hills? If you are more of a night owl consider the John Glenn Astronomy Park. The park is open and available 24 hours a day 7 days a week except for special events. You are welcome to bring your own optics and cameras and check their schedule for special programs Friday and Saturday nights from March to November. View the night sky here in a place free of light pollution where you can see the milky way galaxy with or without a telescope.
But if you just want to explore more of Hocking Hills the Visitor’s Center at Old Man’s Cave was opened in 2019 and boasts 8,600 sq ft of interior space and a more impressive 5,000 sq feet of outdoor patios. Here you can learn more about the park, ask questions, and find good bathrooms. The visitor’s center also carves out space to tell the history of Hocking Hills and the geology the region is made of with artifacts from the area including arrowheads and a story board and maps on each area within hocking hills. Time can be spent wandering the exhibits and the gift shop. In the shop you can find t-shirts, hats, coffee mugs, stickers, magnets, and other souvenirs. If you have more time grab a coffee or other drink and spend some time on the patio enjoying the forest view.
To go deeper into planning your time in Hocking Hills read about any of the hikes now:
Here is some gear we used during our time in Hocking Hills
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