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Is Hocking Hills Worth Going To?

Updated: Jan 27

Did you know people used to live in the caves in Hocking Hills State Park? Here are 10 facts about Hocking Hills State Park that you can share to get excited about the area and the hikes that will help you discover the facts for yourself. Before you read further...


Is Hocking Hills Worth Going to?


With six regions throughout Hocking Hills this state park is an adventure. The history from indigenous days to modern day symphonies make your hikes a historical step through time. Hocking Hills is full of history and geology for you and your kids to get excited about. From waterfalls and grist mills, to piles of ashes, black hand sandstone, and caves known to house robbers and thieves Hocking Hills is more than just a beautiful walk in the woods. The Civilian Conservation Corps and State Park stewards have built and maintained a beautiful place for recreation and preservation that we can all enjoy. Now,


Here are 10 facts about Hocking Hills State Park that you can share to get excited about the area and the hikes that will help you discover the facts for yourself. Let’s Get Started. Click here for the video version of this blog:



Cedar Falls Hike


The Cedar Falls Hike has three facts worth sharing. The hike is one of the easiest in the park. At only ½ mile most families can hike this with very little effort or preparation. We even like this hike for dogs. As you hike take notice of the forest and surrounding trees including Hemlock, Beech, Oak Sycamore, Tulip, White Pine and Maple. But we didn’t mention Cedar. The trees and timber industry were important to the region. Additionally, people came to the region for coal, iron ore, and flint which is used to create sparks and fire.



How did Cedar Falls Get It's Name?


Early settlers looking to benefit off of Hocking Hills rich resources saw all these “cedars” and gave it the name Cedar Falls. Unfortunately, most of the trees they saw were Hemlocks and the name will probably incorrectly identify the area forever.


Number 2: Grist Mill


Later we’ll talk about the caves and the people that once lived there but, as we look at Ceder Falls we come to number 2 in our list. Cedar Falls is the most reliable waterfall in the region. So, reliable in fact a grist mill was constructed and in use during the 1800s. Grist mills are used to grind grain like corn and wheat into flour. The grist mill is no longer here but the waterfall remains.


Number 3: Democracy Steps For Cedar Falls 1997


Number 3 on our list is that the steps at Cedar Falls are special. To make the hike easier Architect Akio Hizume designed new steps in 1997. As you leave Cedar Falls you won’t know but, he used his experience in math and architecture to build steps in a way to make it easier to ascend and descend on the trail. The steps are called “Democracy Steps for Cedar Falls 1997” and he used the word “Democracy” as his intent of the design was to make the trail easier for everyone. The length of the steps were set so that you change your leading foot unconsciously to balance the strain between both legs. But the most hidden feature of these steps is that they were built with recycled materials that allow for drainage without erosion and will most likely be in good condition for years to come and their probably the best steps you’ll discover in Hocking Hills. For more on Cedar Falls read this post



Ash Cave Hike


Another easy hike brings us to number 4 on our list.


How Did Ash Cave Get It's Name?


Ash Cave got its name in a very simple way. In the 1800s settlers came to the land and discovered the cave. When they walked in they noticed a length of ashes, long and wide, almost 100 feet long, 30 feet wide and 3 feet deep inside the cave. They named the area Ash Cave due to this feature. What do you think people were doing with that large pile of ash and the fires that created it? According to the park, the cave was used by native americans. An excavation and study of the ashes discovered various materials for fire, animal bones, arrows, pottery, and other items. There are more assumptions of why the ash pile was so high, long and deep. But, this was a perfect natural shelter and could be assumed a great place to handle the activities of life including preparing food, storing items, sleeping, and more.


Feel free to pin the photo below to your favorite board on Pinterest.




Ash Cave is the easiest hike in Hocking Hills. Ash Cave is a ½ mile loop and takes about 30 minutes to explore. As you look at Ash Cave you may wonder



How Tall is Ash Cave?


The expanse of the shelter is larger than life and our 5th fact. The U-shaped cave is 700 feet wide from end to end and 90 feet tall. So, Ash Cave is over 2 football fields in length. From the front lip of the overhang to the back of the cave is about 100 feet. Ash Cave is the largest recess cave in the entire Eastern United States. If you slow down you’ll notice boulders on the ground. If you think a little more those came from somewhere, probably from above. Now, people every day trust that while they’re hiking under Ash Cave a boulder won’t fall on them. Just something to think about as you explore the cave. Read more about Ash Cave here


Old Man's Cave Hike


Number 6 comes from the most popular hike in the park. Old Man’s Cave is so popular it has the largest parking lot, which fills up quickly and is also the location of the Hocking Hills Visitor’s Center.


How Did Old Man's Cave Get It's Name?


Old Man’s Cave got it’s name because an old man actually lived here. Richard Rowe, a hermit, lived in the recess cave during the early 1800s. A marker provides additional details that he discovered the area with his two hound dogs while he was hunting. He loved the area so much he and his hounds spent the remainder of their lives here living in the cave and surrounding area.


What is the Most Popular Waterfall in Hocking Hills?


The 1-mile hike to Old Man’s Cave is popular for a reason. From the beginning the trail amazes hikers and it only gets better after that. Upper Falls is the first waypoint which reveals a wonderful surprise and number 7 on our list. The bridge you were just on is actually above the upper falls and this is one of the more photographed spots in Hocking Hills. The bridge above the falls and the pool below surrounded by black hand sandstone make it a unique feature of Hocking Hills. But that’s just the beginning as there is another waterfall after old man’s cave. But to get there you get to hike past Devil’s Bathtub which is a cool water feature made better by its memorable name. improvements have been made to the trail like this cool new step bridge to resemble skipping stones. And then this tunnel takes you back to the past leading you to a bridge and Old Man’s Cave. But there’s more as just a short walk away is Lower Falls. The whole experience of Old Man’s Cave and the waterfalls is 1.5 miles and about an hour to 90 minutes. To learn more about Hiking to Old Man's Cave Read this blog post.


The next stop on our list is Conkle’s Hollow Nature Preserve.


Conkle's Hollow Nature Preserve


Number 8 is the black hand sandstone that makes this region possible. We think Conkle's Hollow is one of the best hikes in Hocking Hills. The forest walk frames the sandstone beautifully.


What is Black Hand Sandstone?


Sand from the rising Appalachian Mountains was deposited here by water over millions of years all the while pressure was being imposed on the sand. Over time the sand has been compacted and stuck together to create hard rock. More recently water has flowed through the region and still does to create the gorges and reveal the stone. This water flowing through Conkle's Hollow and the other hikes in the area continue the erosion process today. The Conkle's Hollow gorge trail is 1.5 miles and takes about a half hour to complete the rim trail is longer and you should plan on at least an hour. up for adventure the rim trail is 2.1 miles and takes about an hour and a half to complete. Read More about Conkle's Hollow Here.


If you are still reading stay until the end as we have a bonus number 11 fact for you but first


Rock House Trail


Number 9 continues to showcase the people that inhabited the area.


Who Lived In Hocking Hills?


Rock House was home to native Americans. Multiple tribes called the Hocking Hills area home including nomadic hunters, the Adena Culture, Fort Ancient Indians and the Wyandot, Delaware and Shawnee Tribes. You can find their presence at Rock House. This is a short but technical hike that is less than a mile but has over 200 stets. In the cave there are ovens carved in the wall and water pits in the floor, built by the inhabitants to prepare food and store fresh water. But Pioneers started to settle the region in the early 1800s and the Rock House became known as robbers roost as it housed criminals and bandits hiding from the law. Seeing an opportunity, Levi Friend in the 1830s constructed a hotel where the picnic pavilion is now. The establishment included 16 rooms, a ballroom, post office, and stable. Many of the inscriptions on the Rock House walls are from people who stayed at the hotel. Prohibition may have caused the demise of the hotel and the eventual demolition of the building in the 1920s. To learn more about hiking to Rock House read this post


Cantwell Cliffs


Number 10 and maybe most important is within all the trails and facilities in Hocking Hills and why we have access to all these great experiences. Here we will share with you Cantwell Cliffs. This trail takes a little over an hour to complete and has beautiful forest views in the gorge and on the rim for you to enjoy.


How Did the Civilian Conservation Corps Improve Hocking Hills?


The Civilian Conservation Corps improved much of the Hocking Hills trails. The CCC was created by the United States and President Roosevelt during the depression in 1933. The program was used to improve public lands countrywide and Hocking Hills was a beneficiary. Hundreds of men worked the area and constructed trails, bridges, buildings, parking, and planted trees throughout the park. Company 526 worked on Cantwell Cliffs. The payroll money earned by the CCC was generally forwarded home to the corpsman's families which stimulated the economy and brought the country back out of despair. World War II essentially ended the CCC as these men transitioned into military service. Click here to read more about Cantwell Cliffs


Who Takes Care of the State Park Today?


Today the park is managed by the Ohio DNR. Hocking Hills State Park was created in 1924. Under the park’s care is over 25 miles of hiking trails and about a dozen waterfalls. The park is fragmented meaning it’s not one piece of land like most parks. Through the Hocking Hills region there is over 2,300 acres under State Park control. In addition to hiking, people can horseback ride, zip line, rock climb and rappelling, take off-road tours, and to learn more about Hocking Hills read one of these posts next!




For examples of the gear we took on our hike check out these links below for more details.


Teton Sports Hydration Pack Video Review: https://youtu.be/KEBrYwp8RQk

Amazon Link: 2021 model https://amzn.to/3SnKcGR

Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E hydration backpack Video Review for younger hikers: https://youtu.be/WbRgZr6C20g


Merrell Moab II Men's Hiking Shoes: https://amzn.to/3Ardw8k


The First Aid Kit we carry: https://amzn.to/3Lcvu2h

Trekking Poles: https://amzn.to/3DHj54L

Tactical Flashlights: https://amzn.to/3QLY25T


Here are dad joke books for great gifts: Dad Jokes Around the Campfire: https://amzn.to/3JinFJ2 600 Funniest Dad Jokes: https://amzn.to/3EPGv7D To view any product mentioned by us in our videos, click this link: https://www.amazon.com/shop/campbrood As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.


Hocking Hills isn't perfect. To learn about why people hate Hocking Hills read this post next: 5 Things You'll Hate About Hocking Hills State Park? (campbrood.com)




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