Hocking Hills is one of Ohio’s most visited attractions. Rightfully so, with stunning natural landscapes, winding country roads, local shops, delicious dining and friendly locals. Although most visitors flock to the area during the warmer months for outdoor adventures, the winter season is also a great time to visit Hocking Hills. Here are 10 Hocking Hills winter activities to enjoy the magic of the frosty season!
1. Take A Hike:
Hocking Hills is the most visited state park in Ohio. With miles of trails (more than 300 miles!), stunning natural landscapes to explore like Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Rock House, Conkle’s Hollow and many other natural formations, taking a hike is the perfect way to become one with nature. For a winter hike, make sure to bundle up, wear appropriate footwear (water-proof hiking boots), take a small backpack for water, snacks, tissues, camera gear, etc. and be cautious of slippery ice/frozen spots and stay on the marked paths. I personally love hiking in the cold, with the crisp winter air and a thin blanket of snow that seems to make the surrounding nature even more magical!
2. Star Gaze:
There’s nothing better than looking up to a clear sky full of twinkling stars! In Hocking Hills, you will have wide open spaces and less light-pollution to enjoy the celestial views! In fact, Hocking Hills has the darkest night sky in Ohio, making for the perfect location for star gazing! Throw on your winter layers, grab a blanket, make a thermos of hot chocolate or hot cider and enjoy the beauty of nature in the stillness of the night!
Image Courtesy of www.focusst.org
3. Make a bonfire and roast S’mores:
Throw some logs into a fire pit and create a warm and inviting bonfire. Sitting next to a crackling fire with the cool crisp winter air is a great way to warm up and enjoy the great outdoors. No bonfire is complete without S’mores! Grab some marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars to create a delectable fireside snack! Not too keen on building a fire outdoors in the winter? Snuggle beside an indoor fireplace for a warm and toasty evening.
4. Enjoy a soak in a hot tub:
Enjoy a soak in a hot tub with the cool night air surrounding you. Many cabins in the region have hot tubs for guests to enjoy. Make it extra romantic and grab a bottle of wine or champagne and toast to the winter season!
5. Eat your way through Hocking Hills:
Hocking Hills has become quite the foodie haven. From homemade comfort foods of the region to upscale gourmet dining, foodie’s will love the up-and-coming food scene! Read more about the food scene, here.
6. Sip on local wines at Hocking Hills Winery:
Since opening its doors in 2015, the Hocking Hills Winery has become the local hotspot! Serving locals and visitors alike with eleven types of wine, wine samples, frosty wine slushies (sample both flavors, then mix them together, trust me!) and live weekend entertainment; the winery seems to be the perfect spot to meet locals and sip on delicious Ohio wines!
7. Visit Nelsonville:
Nelsonville is a charming town with historic Star Brick sidewalks which lead you through the quaint Public Square. Lined with historical buildings that are being renovated my local businesses, visitors can feel the revitalization that is occurring in Nelsonville. With the central business district listed on the national Register of Historic Places, locals are proud of their heritage and excited to have visitors explore the newly renovated town square. Visitors will find locally owned and operated businesses such as FullBrooks Café, Rocky Outdoor Gear, Rhapsody, Nelsonville Emporium and Stuart’s Opera House along with several up-and-coming shops, brewery and restaurants. Train enthusiasts all of ages will love to take a ride on one of the historic trains along the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Outdoor enthusiasts can take advantage of Nelsonville’s prime location nearby Wayne National Forest, the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway and Hocking Hills State Park.
8. Pamper yourself with a Spa Day:
Whether a day of pampering for yourself, a girlfriend’s getaway or a couple’s retreat, a spa day is the perfect way to relax and unwind. The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls offers massage therapy and a full range of spa services to rejuvenate your senses!
9. Classes and Workshops:
As a lifelong learner, I’m always looking for classes and workshops that will teach me something new. Whether interested in learning a new recipe, making art projects such as stained glass, hand-blown glass or ceramic pottery, or interested in the flora and fauna of the region, there is a class or workshop for you. Check out Hocking College’s leisure learning program for day or series classes, or visit www.explorehockinghills.com for more learning programs.
I had a wonderful time making pottery at the Nelsonville Emporium! It was my first attempt at “throwing clay” and I thoroughly enjoyed it, thanks to Jennifer’s (the owner) kind assistance!
With dozens of local artists and artisans finding inspiration from the natural beauty of the region, visitors will find numerous specialty shops filled with handmade crafts and artwork, flea markets, antique shops and boutique stores to fulfill all your shopping needs!
A visit to Hocking Hills is great any time of the year, but there just seems to be some frosty magic in the air during the wintertime. Whether enjoying a peaceful (and sometimes solitary) hike, pampering yourself with a spa day, sampling delicious Ohio wines, eating your way through the up-and-coming foodie haven or just snuggling with your sweetheart by the fireplace in your cabin, there are plenty of ways to enjoy an Ohio winter in the gorgeous destination of Hocking Hills!
To plan your Hocking Hills winter getaway, please visit www.explorehockinghills.com.
A special thanks to the Hocking Hills Tourism Association! I was an invited guest of the Hocking Hills Tourism Association. As always on Ohio Girl Travels, all opinions are my own!