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10 Must-See Hikes in Hocking Hills to Ignite Your Wanderlust

Best Hikes in Hocking Hills: Explore Nature’s Paradise with These 10 Trails

By Sometime Traveller

If you’re yearning for a tranquil escape from the city’s chaos and a chance to reconnect with nature, Hocking Hills State Park is your answer. Located in the heart of southeastern Ohio, this park has earned national and international acclaim, making it a haven for nature enthusiasts seeking remarkable hikes in Hocking Hills. Offering a vast network of over 25 miles of hiking trails, you’re in for a treat. These trails will introduce you to captivating rock formations, pristine waterfalls, mysterious caves, and mesmerizing gorges that will undoubtedly steal your heart. 

Whether you’re an inexperienced hiker or a seasoned expert, you’ll discover a Hike in Hocking Hills tailored to your level and interests. In this blog post, we’re thrilled to present 10 of the most exceptional hikes in Hocking Hills. Each of these hikes is guaranteed to fuel your wanderlust, inspiring you to plan your next adventure in this extraordinary natural wonderland.

Best Hikes in Hocking Hills

Here’s some park information before we explore the list of best hikes in Hocking Hills

InformationDetails
LocationSoutheastern Ohio, USA
SizeOver 2,300 acres
Natural FeaturesWaterfalls, caves, gorges, and rock formations
Hiking TrailsOver 25 miles of trails
Notable TrailsOld Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls
Rock FormationsConkle’s Hollow, Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House
ActivitiesHiking, rock climbing, birdwatching, camping
WildlifeWhite-tailed deer, wild turkey, various birds
Seasons to VisitSpring, summer, and fall are popular
Visitor CentersPerry County Visitor Bureau, Pickaway County Visitor’s Bureau, Ross County Visitors Bureau, Vinton County CVB, Visit Fairfield County Ohio-Visitors & Convention, Hocking Hills Visitor Center Laurelville, Hocking Hills Visitor Center Logan, Athens County CVB
Information about Hocking Hills

Map of Hocking Hills

Map of Hocking Hills
Map of Hocking Hills – Source Wikimedia

Here is the list of 10 Best hikes in Hocking Hills

#1 Gorge Overlook Loop via Buckeye Trail

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

It is a fantastic choice for those seeking memorable hikes in Hocking Hills. This easy and picturesque loop trail invites you to soak in a breathtaking panoramic view of the Hocking Hills region from the rim of the gorge. Along the way, you’ll encounter iconic landmarks, including the renowned Old Man’s Cave, the serene Cedar Falls, and the enchanting Ash Cave. As you traverse this path, you’ll be treated to the mesmerizing sights of lush forests, towering sandstone cliffs, and babbling streams that add to the allure of Hiking in Hocking Hills.

The trail is thoughtfully well-marked and meticulously maintained, ensuring that it remains an accessible and enjoyable option for families and those new to hiking. Plus, if you’re feeling adventurous and your wanderlust craves more, you’ll be pleased to know that this trail serves as a gateway to other captivating trails. It’s an ideal starting point for those yearning to dive headfirst into the beauty and diversity that define Hiking in Hocking Hills.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trail Length: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 406 feet
  • Route Type: Loop

#2 Old Man’s Cave and Ash Cave via Buckeye Trail

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

One of the most remarkable hikes in Hocking Hills. This trail perfectly encapsulates the breathtaking beauty of the region, incorporating the target keyword hikes in Hocking Hills seamlessly.

Start your adventure at Old Man’s Cave, a recess cave boasting a waterfall, a pool, and a rock bridge. It’s a true gem that immerses you in the magic of Hocking Hills. As you journey, the trail effortlessly guides you to Ash Cave, Ohio’s largest recess cave, with its massive overhang and a jaw-dropping 90-foot waterfall.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there! Along the way, you’ll stumble upon other natural wonders like Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, and Cedar Falls. The trail is shaded, following a meandering creek, creating a refreshing atmosphere.

Why is this trail a must-do? It’s not just about hiking; it’s about experiencing the very essence of Hocking Hills. So, lace up those boots and get ready to explore the best of hikes in Hocking Hills – an adventure you’ll cherish forever!

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trail Length: 6.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 833 feet
  • Route Type: Point to point

#3 Whispering Cave – Cedar Falls Loop

This challenging trail in Hocking Hills leads to two of the region’s newest and most impressive attractions: Whispering Cave and Cedar Falls. Whispering Cave, a massive 300-foot-wide and 105-foot-tall recess cave boasts a 25-foot waterfall and a wooden suspension bridge that adds an exciting twist. Cedar Falls, on the other hand, is a 50-foot waterfall cascading into a serene pool surrounded by hemlock trees, creating a fairytale-like atmosphere.

The trail can be demanding, with steep and rugged sections that require caution and stamina. Yet, the views are absolutely worth the effort. Along the way, you’ll also be treated to a rich variety of flora and fauna, adding to the adventure. This trail is a fantastic choice for adventurous and experienced hikers looking to conquer new heights in Hocking Hills. Don’t miss out on this exhilarating experience, making it an essential part of your hikes in Hocking Hills itinerary.

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Trail Length: 7.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,135 feet
  • Route Type: Loop
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#4 Upper Falls to Lower Falls via Buckeye Trail

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

From the Upper Falls to the Lower Falls, your journey will be filled with delightful surprises. You’ll encounter a treasure trove of nature’s craftsmanship, from mysterious caves to charming bridges, breathtaking ledges, and nature’s own arches. And did we mention the waterfalls and pools that’ll make your heart skip a beat?

The trail is predominantly flat and smooth, with a few steps and bridges here and there – a real breeze for hikers of all levels. Oh, and don’t forget to stop by the Naturalist Cabin, where you can quench your thirst for knowledge about the park’s history and ecology.

Calling all waterfall and cave lovers: this trail is tailor-made for you! It’s not just a hike; it’s a rendezvous with the wonders of Hocking Hills. So lace up those boots and dive into the extraordinary world of hikes in Hocking Hills – it’s a water-filled, rock-solid adventure waiting just for you!

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trail Length: 1.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 137 feet
  • Route Type: Point to point

#5 Rock House

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

This moderate trail takes you to the one and only true cave in Hocking Hills: Rock House. Imagine entering a tunnel-like cave with seven awe-inspiring Gothic-style windows and a soaring 25-foot ceiling. It’s a real-life fairy tale setting! And, guess what? Rock House wasn’t just nature’s creation; it served as a shelter and hideout for Native Americans, bootleggers, and robbers. That’s history you can touch.

But wait, there’s more! While the trail does get steep and rocky at times, with stairs and handrails to keep you safe, it’s all part of the adventure. Along the way, you’ll also discover fascinating rock formations, like the legendary Black Hand Sandstone, and intriguing honeycomb weathering.

This trail isn’t just about hiking; it’s about diving into a different side of Hocking Hills, a side where history, geology, and adventure come together. So, grab your hiking boots and discover the enchanting hikes in Hocking Hills – an adventure that’s as fun as it is fascinating. Don’t miss out!

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trail Length: 0.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 193 feet
  • Route Type: Out and back

#6 Cantwell Cliffs Loop

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

This challenging trail is a must for those who want to explore the remote and scenic beauty of Hocking Hills.

Cantwell Cliffs, with its deep valleys, sheer cliffs, and narrow passageways, offers a unique and captivating experience. It’s a place that takes your breath away, making you feel like you’re a part of something truly remarkable.

While the trail can be demanding, with steep and slippery sections, including ladders and stone steps, these challenges only add to the excitement. You’ll navigate obstacles like fallen trees, roots, and rocks along the way. But it’s all worth it for the views – absolutely spectacular and immensely rewarding.

As you hike, you’ll also appreciate the solitude and tranquility that envelops you. This trail is perfect for thrill-seekers and nature lovers seeking to uncover the best hikes in Hocking Hills.

So, lace up your boots and get ready for an adventure that’s sure to leave you in awe of Hocking Hills’ natural beauty. 

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Trail Length: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 354 feet
  • Route Type: Loop

#7 Ash Cave

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

It is a perfect choice for those seeking accessible and easy hikes in Hocking Hills.

This delightful trail leads you to the largest recess cave in Ohio: Ash Cave. Imagine standing beneath a colossal overhang, gazing at a magnificent 90-foot waterfall gently kissing a sandy floor. It’s a sight that will leave you in awe and wonder.

As we navigate this accessible path, you’ll find it paved and flat, making it an excellent option for visitors of all abilities, including those with wheelchairs and strollers. It’s a fantastic choice for families and anyone looking for a relaxed adventure.

While you walk, remember to stop and smell the wildflowers and admire the delicate ferns along the way. It’s these little details that make hikes in Hocking Hills so magical.

The trail ends at Ash Cave, where you can bask in the beauty and grandeur of this natural wonder. It’s not just a hike; it’s an opportunity to connect with the splendor of Hocking Hills effortlessly.

So, get ready to experience simplicity and relaxation on the Ash Cave trail. It’s an accessible path to a truly spectacular attraction. No matter who you are, this hike will leave you with a smile and a heart full of gratitude for the beauty of Hocking Hills. Take advantage of this fantastic experience!

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trail Length: 0.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 36 feet
  • Route Type: Out and back
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#8 Old Man’s Cave and Naturalist Cabin Loop

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

Picture this: A hidden gem in the heart of Hocking Hills, Old Man’s Cave, named after a 19th-century hermit, boasts a mesmerizing waterfall, a crystal-clear pool, and a whimsical rock bridge. It’s a history lesson wrapped in natural beauty.

But that’s not all! On this adventure, you’ll also stumble upon the Naturalist Cabin, a charming log cabin museum built in the 1930s. Inside, you’ll discover the secrets of Hocking Hills, unlocking its rich history and vibrant culture.

As you meander through the mostly flat and smooth trail, you’ll encounter occasional stairs and charming bridges. Don’t forget to watch for hidden treasures like Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, and the iconic A-Frame Bridge.

This family-friendly trail is an educational delight, perfect for those eager to uncover the soul of Hocking Hills.

  • Difficulty Level: Easy
  • Trail Length: 1 mile
  • Elevation Gain: 137 feet
  • Route Type: Loop

#9 Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, and Old Mans Cave

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

This demanding trail is the ultimate exploration, connecting three of Hocking Hills’ most remarkable attractions. Ash Cave, a cavernous marvel, offers a jaw-dropping 90-foot waterfall, while Cedar Falls cascades gracefully into a serene pool surrounded by hemlock trees. Old Mans Cave, another recess cave, features a waterfall, a pool, and a rock bridge. You’ll find yourself immersed in nature’s grandeur, and the active voice here plunges you right into the heart of the adventure.

Now, let’s talk about the trail itself. It’s long and challenging, with steep and rocky sections that add a touch of excitement. But it’s not just about the famous attractions; you’ll also encounter other natural wonders like Whispering Cave, Rose Lake, and Lower Falls. You’re in for a real treat!

This trail is a part of the Buckeye Trail, marked by blue blazes, ensuring you’re on the right path. The trail is a challenging but advantageous option for those who seek the ultimate adventure in Hocking Hills.

So, get ready for the hike of a lifetime! It’s not just a hike; it’s a journey that will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

  • Difficulty Level: Hard
  • Trail Length: 12.9 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,791 feet
  • Route Type: Point to point

#10 Cedar Falls and Whispering Falls to Rose Lake Dam

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

As we embark on this moderate and beautiful trail, you’ll be treated to a spectacular display of nature’s wonders. Our first stop is Cedar Falls, a mesmerizing 50-foot waterfall that gracefully tumbles into a pool surrounded by hemlock trees. It’s a sight that captures the essence of Hocking Hills.

But the adventure doesn’t end there. We continue our hike to the enchanting Whispering Falls, a 25-foot waterfall flowing from the mouth of the majestic Whispering Cave, a 300-foot vast and 105-foot tall recess cave. The active voice here immerses you in the magic of the place as if you’re standing right there, hearing the whispers of the falls.

As we continue downhill along the trail, we follow the meandering creek, creating a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere, just like nature’s air conditioning. Along the way, you’ll also encounter Rose Lake, a serene and scenic oasis that’s a popular fishing spot.

The journey ends at the dam, where you can savor the view of the lake and the valley. This trail is a delightful option for anyone who wants to experience some of the most stunning waterfalls in Hocking Hills.

The Cedar Falls and Whispering Falls to Rose Lake Dam trail is a captivating adventure that will leave you in awe of the natural wonders that Hocking Hills has to offer. 

  • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Trail Length: 3.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 308 feet
  • Route Type: Point to point

Note: The rankings for the following hikes in Hocking Hills are based on reviews from real adventurers and may be subject to personal preferences and experience.

TIPS for Visiting Hocking Hills- How to Plan Your Hike in Hocking Hills State Park

Conclusion

In closing, Hocking Hills State Park is an absolute gem for nature enthusiasts. Its numerous trails allow you to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty and diversity of the region. Whether you are seeking a short, leisurely stroll or a challenging adventure, hikes in Hocking Hills have the perfect trail to match your preferences and abilities.

Along these trails, you’ll encounter some of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders – caves, waterfalls, cliffs, and gorges that will leave you speechless. The active voice here makes you feel like you’re right there, experiencing the magic of Hocking Hills firsthand.

Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting, there’s a trail ideally suited to your level and interests. So, why wait? It’s time to dust off those hiking boots, pack your favorite snacks, and embark on a journey through nature’s paradise with these 10 incredible trails. Trust us; you won’t regret it.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog post, don’t keep the adventure to yourself. Share it with your friends and family who share your love for hiking. Let’s spread the joy and inspire more happy trails for all!

Things that you should pack for your hikes in Hocking Hills

Best hikes in Hocking Hills

When you’re prepping for your exciting adventures in Hocking Hills, remember the essentials for those fantastic hikes in Hocking Hills.

Sunscreen: First up, sunscreen! Even in the shade, your skin needs protection from the sun’s rays. Not only does it prevent sunburn, but it’s your shield against the risk of skin cancer. Slather it on before you hit the trails and reapply as needed.

Insect Repellent: Those pesky critters won’t ruin your day. Protect yourself with insect repellent to keep mosquitoes and ticks at bay. It makes your hike a whole lot more enjoyable. Apply it generously before you venture into the wilderness.

Hydration is Key: Stay hydrated with a trusty water bottle. Especially if it’s a scorcher out there, water is your best friend. It helps regulate your body temperature and keeps heat exhaustion at bay. Refill at park water fountains or the gift shop.

Fuel Up: Don’t forget your lunch and snacks. Grandma Faye’s is nearby with delicious options, or pack your own. Trail mix, granola bars, or fresh fruit can be your on-the-go companions.

Shades & Hats: Keep your eyes and scalp safe from the sun with sunglasses and a hat. The better you see, the more you’ll enjoy the stunning views.

Footwear Matters: Select your hiking shoes wisely, matching them to the terrain. Whether it’s rugged boots for tricky trails or comfy athletic shoes for smooth paths, good footwear ensures your safety and comfort.

Capture Memories: Bring a camera or phone to capture the breathtaking scenery. Just remember to secure your device near cliffs and water, and respect fellow hikers and nature while snapping pics.

Pack Smart: A backpack is your trusty companion to carry all your essentials. It should be lightweight, durable, and comfortable. Hiking poles can also be a game-changer, especially on uneven or slippery trails. Make sure they’re adjustable and sturdy.

The items mentioned above are just a few of the recommended or must-pack essentials for your hike in Hocking Hills. While there are many more items to consider, we strongly advise packing light to ensure a more enjoyable and comfortable hiking experience.

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FAQs – Hikes in Hocking Hills

What are the 7 major hiking trails in Hocking Hills?

The 7 major hiking trails in Hocking Hills are Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Old Man’s Cave, Conkles Hollow, Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs, and Hemlock Bridge Trail.

Where’s the prettiest spot in Hocking Hills?

The most scenic area in Hocking Hills is Old Man’s Cave, known for its stunning waterfalls, rock formations, and lush greenery.

Which hiking trail in Hocking Hills is the most popular?

The most popular trail at Hocking Hills is Old Man’s Cave Trail, thanks to its captivating natural beauty and easy accessibility.

Should I visit Hocking Hills? Is it worth it?

Hocking Hills is definitely worth a visit for its natural beauty, hiking trails, and serene surroundings.

When is the best time to plan a trip to Hocking Hills?

The best time to visit Hocking Hills is during the spring or fall when the weather is mild, and the foliage is at its most beautiful.

What’s putting Hocking Hills in danger?

Erosion and natural weathering threaten Hocking Hills, causing changes in the rock formations and landscapes.

How much does it cost to go hiking in Hocking Hills?

Hiking at Hocking Hills is typically free, but there may be parking fees, so it’s a good idea to check in advance.

Is it safe to go by yourself to Hocking Hills?

It’s generally safe to visit Hocking Hills alone, but always take safety precautions and let someone know your plans.

How many days should I stay in Hocking Hills for a visit?

The length of your stay in Hocking Hills can vary, but a weekend getaway or a few days should allow you to explore the main attractions and hiking trails.

What natural attractions draw Hocking Hills State Park visitors?

Hocking Hills State Park’s major natural draws include waterfalls, caves, and rock formations, all attracting nature enthusiasts seeking awe-inspiring scenery.

What sets Rock House trail apart geologically and historically?

The Rock House trail stands out with its unique cave features and historical use as a shelter.

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