As Ohio’s most visited state park, Hocking Hills State Park welcomes visitors to explore its 2,356-acres of stunning natural scenery. With miles of trails, rugged cliffs and caves, sandstone gorges and serene waterfalls, this southeastern Ohio park is a nature enthusiast’s dream! Keep reading to add these 8 must see Hocking Hills, Ohio attractions to your Hocking Hills bucket list.
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Must See Hocking Hills Attractions
Marveling at the breathtaking landscapes is one of the best things to do in Hocking Hills and there’s plenty of natural formations that are a must see in Hocking Hills.
Hocking Hills’ natural rock formations are carved in various compositions of Black Hand Sandstone which makes remarkable cliffs, caves and gorges throughout the region. Although the miles of trails give visitors an up-close-and personal experience with some of Ohio’s most breathtaking scenery, the trails can be a bit treacherous in some areas of the park. Trails with varying degrees of difficulty are clearly mapped in the park and there are a few paved trails for less active hikers. All Ohio State Parks have free admission and are great to explore year-round!
Here are the top 8 must see Hocking Hills attractions:
As the largest recessed cave east of the Mississippi River, the magnificent horse-shoe shaped cave rim spans 700 feet! Surrounded by a woodland forest, this peaceful natural wonder also features a beautiful runoff waterfall which cascades from its upper rim into a pool below.
Ash Cave can be accessed by a short hike along the lower paved trail (the paved trail ends within a ½ mile into a sandy region in the recessed cave). Since the Ash Cave Trail is paved, it is handicap accessible and child friendly, making it one of the best inclusive and accessible Hocking Hills sites to see.
Located in one of the most remote areas of Hocking Hills, those willing to venture to Cantwell Cliffs will be rewarded with a challenging hike and breathtaking views. Hikers will find two trails; the rim trail for striking views and vistas and the valley trail to walk amongst the towering sandstone cliffs.
One of the most unique features in the area includes a narrow passage down into the gorge. The rim trail at Cantwell Cliffs is one of the most difficult trails in Hocking Hills, so use extreme caution when hiking.
Cantwell Cliffs, Photo Courtesy of Tonya from Travel Inspired Living
Surrounded by beautiful hemlock and steep rock walls, Cedar Falls plunges 50-feet into the valley below. With the highest volume of water of all the waterfalls in Hocking County, Cedar Falls is a site to behold (rightfully so, Cedar Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Ohio).
Hikers can access the falls by descending 100 steps down into the grotto from the parking lot or hike the Buckeye Trail from either Ash Cave or Old Man’s Cave.
Old Man’s Cave
Hermit Richard Rowe once called this area home in the late 1700’s. Deriving its name from the hermit, Old Man’s Cave is the most visited area in the park. Old Man’s Cave contains five sections: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge.
Along the trail, the gorge cuts through the 150-foot-thick walls of the Black Hand sandstone, allowing visitors to peer into the earth’s subsurface. Old Man’s Cave can be accessed from several points at the main parking lot or hike the Buckeye Trail or Gorge Overlook Trail from Cedar Falls.
Upper Falls at Old Man’s Cave
One of the most unique places to see in Hocking Hills is Devil’s Bathtub. Consisting of a unique streambed and tiered waterfall between Upper Falls and Old Man’s Cave. The tub is located on a weak layer of Black Hand Sandstone and is constantly widening due to the swirling action of Old Man’s Creek.
Devil’s Bathtub can be accessed by hiking the Buckeye Trail for one mile, leaving from the Old Man’s Cave visitor’s center.
As the only true cave in the park, the corridors of the Rock House await to be explored. Sitting midway on a 150-foot Black Hand sandstone cliff, the impressive main corridor spans 200 feet long, approximately 20 feet wide and has 25-foot-high ceilings.
A series of joints has formed window-like openings making the façade of the rock to look like a house. The spectacular Rock House can be accessed from the parking lot a rugged trail with several sets of steps.
Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve
Considered one of the deepest rocky gorges in Ohio, Conkles Hollow’s sandstone cliffs rise nearly 200 feet above the valley floor. The upper rim trail offers panoramic views of spectacular scenery…as the highest trail in the area, hikers must be cautious on this extremely dangerous trail. The lower gorge trail leads hikers into the valley floor covered with lush flora and soaring cliffs rise above.
Conkles Hollow, Photo Courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Because of the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad, the Moonville Tunnel came into existence in the mid-1800’s. By the early 1900’s, the declining economy turned Moonville into a ghost town and the railway no longer passed through the tunnel. Locals believe Moonville Tunnel is haunted, with several spirits seen on various occasions lurking in the tunnel.
Finding the tunnel can be a bit challenging, once on OH-278 turn onto Hope-Moonville Road and continue along the gravel road for several miles, the parking lot will be on the left side.
Must See Hocking Hills, Ohio Attractions Map
*Note: Devil’s Bathtub is not on the map but can be accessed from the Old Man’s Cave Visitor’s Center.
Where is Hocking Hills Ohio?
The Hocking Hills region is located in southeastern Ohio. With 2,300+ acres, Hocking Hills State Park encompasses some of the most picturesque landscapes in Ohio. There are plenty of beautiful places to visit in Hocking Hills and outdoor activities like hiking, biking and kayaking are the main Hocking Hills attractions.
For restaurants, grocery stores and shops, the nearest town to Hocking Hills State Park is Logan. You’ll want to make a pit stop in Logan for all your supplies before heading to your Hocking Hills cabin or camping spot, as there’s not many amenities outside of Logan. Be sure to download a map to prior to visiting as cell reception isn’t great in Hocking Hills.
Best Time to Visit Hocking Hills
When is the best time to visit Hocking Hills? My personal opinion is anytime, as it’s truly a year-round destination! Spring brings fresh greenery and wildflowers, summer is lush and vibrant, fall is colorful and cool and winter displays beautiful scenes of snow and ice formations.
While the region sees its highest visitors spring through fall, a Hocking Hills winter getaway is great for those looking for quieter trails and less crowds. Don’t let the cold winter temperatures fool you, there’s plenty of fun Hocking Hills winter activities to keep you busy.
Hocking Hills Accommodation Options
There you have it, my favorite must see Hocking Hills locations! Whether a day trip or a weekend getaway, Hocking Hills State Park is the perfect place to enjoy Ohio’s beautiful natural landscapes!