Ohio’s Hocking Hills region is truly a gem! It’s one of the most-visited places in Ohio, and for good reason. Limestone caves, rock formations and waterfalls all make this one of the best places to visit in Ohio. Spring brings blooming trees and flowers, summer brings a cool escape from the heat, and fall brings colorful forests as the leaves change. But winter is truly one of the most magical times to visit and there’s plenty of fun Hocking Hills winter activities. With icefalls and frozen streams, exploring this winter wonderland has all the allure of the other seasons, but with fewer people. Keep reading for the best things to do on a Hocking Hills winter getaway!
Hocking Hills Winter Getaway
Hocking Hills in the winter is magical! From marveling at giant ice formations and snow-covered landscapes to quiet hiking trails to admiring millions of dazzling stars in the sky, there’s plenty of fun activities to keep you busy during a Hocking Hills winter getaway!
Hocking Hills Winter Hikes
Hiking at Hocking Hills State Park in the winter is something everyone should experience. A fresh blanket of snow softens the sounds of the forest and reveals fun tracks from the animals that live here. Waterfalls that flow freely in the spring and summer freeze into cool ice columns in the wintertime. With the right clothing, you’ll be toasty warm. I recommend a thermos with a hot beverage and some Yak-Trax or something similar to ensure you can stay upright on slippery trails. Hiking poles are a big help, too! Some of the best Hocking Hills hikes include:
- Old Man’s Cave
- Ash Cave
- Rock House
- Cedar Falls
- Cantwell Cliffs
Ice Skating at Lake Logan State Park
Lake Logan State Park has a 400-acre lake and is popular with fishermen and paddlers in the other months, but in the winter, it’s the perfect spot for ice skating, sledding, and ice fishing. Check with the ranger station before heading out, to make sure the ice is thick enough to allow skating. Otherwise, you can still enjoy a nice winter hike on the surrounding trails.
Sledding at Lake Hope State Park
Think sledding is just for kids? No way! Relive your best childhood memories on your Hocking Hills winter getaway with a day sledding down the hills at Lake Hope State Park. Grab a cheap sled at one of the stores in Athens or Logan before heading out to the park. Once you’ve had your fill of sledding fun, warm up with a hot drink at the Lake Hope Lodge. You can also go hiking, ice skating, or cross-country skiing here.
Cross-country Skiing at Glenlaurel Inn and Cottages
Want to burn some calories on your Hocking Hills winter getaway? At Glenlaurel Inn and Cottages, guests have access to cross-country trails through the surrounding forest. There’s no better winter workout than cross-country skiing, which means you’ll earn all the hot cocoa with extra marshmallows you can drink afterward. Reward yourself with a spa treatment or luxurious dinner at the Inn. These cute cottages, crofts, and lodge rooms are the perfect spot for a luxurious Hocking Hills winter getaway.
Stargaze at the John Glenn Astronomy Park
One of the newest attractions in the Hocking Hills region is the John Glenn Astronomy Park in Logan. The park honors Ohio native John Glenn and takes advantage of the dark skies in this part of Ohio. Without the humid haze of summer, winter is the best time for stargazing as the night skies are often crystal clear. Check their website for the current list of programs; don’t miss the chance to use some advanced technology to see the planets and stars that surround us.
Make S’mores Over a Campfire
S’mores aren’t just for camping! They’re the perfect treat after a winter excursion. Many of the state parks have barbecue grills or fire pits you can use; some even have warming huts for ice fishermen. Pack some kindling, graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows in your backpack and treat yourself to a hot snack at the end of your hike. Or, look for lodging that has a fire pit and you can enjoy a tasty dessert before you turn in for the night.
Pamper Yourself in Luxury Accommodation
There are many places to stay in Hocking Hills, including luxury accommodations that offer spa treatments and private hot tubs. Both the Inn at Cedar Falls and Glenlaurel Inn and Cottages offer luxurious spa treatments, which are the perfect treat after a day of hiking or cross-country skiing. Or, book a cabin with a hot tub where you can soak away the aches and pains of a cold winter. Winter in Ohio can seem endless sometimes; give yourself a little treat and something to look forward to!
Wine Tasting at Hocking Hills Winery
Wine is a great way to warm up! If you like wine, be sure to include this Logan winery in your Hocking Hills winter getaway plans. This family-owned and operated winery offers wine tastings daily. Choose a flight of wine to sample or buy wine by the glass or bottle. Hocking Hills Winery also offers charcuterie boards and light snacks so you’re not drinking on an empty stomach!
Beer Tasting at Brewery 33
Prefer beer over wine? Head to Brewery 33 in Logan. Enjoy 14 award-winning beer flavors or two unique soda flavors. From pilsner to IPA, there’s a flavor for everyone at Brewery 33. Sample them all with a flight of the bartender’s recommendations. While there’s no kitchen at the brewery, they sell packaged snacks and there are several great restaurants nearby.
Get Caffeinated at Coffee Emporium
Beer and wine are great, but nothing will warm you up as well as a hot cup of coffee or cocoa! Don’t miss the Coffee Emporium at the Hocking Hills Inn in Logan. This woman-owned local business features fair trade organic coffee in dozens of delicious combinations. Choose from smoothies, hot or iced coffee drinks, tea, cocoa, cider, and kombucha. They also serve breakfast and lunch and it’s a cute place to hang out on a cold winter day.
Halfway between Logan and Athens, Nelsonville is truly in the heart of the Hocking Hills. This small town is home to Hocking College and is a great little village to explore on your Hocking Hills winter getaway. Nelsonville is also home to the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway and Stuart’s Opera House, which was built in 1879. There’s a lot of historic architecture throughout the downtown area, and you can’t miss the Star Brick sidewalks, made of beautiful, decorative bricks. For shopping, head to the Starbrick Gallery or the Rocky Outdoor Gear Store, which also serves up tasty BBQ at Starbrick BBQ inside the shop.
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. Experience a Hocking Hills winter getaway with a peaceful hike, a spa day or cozied up by a fireplace in your cabin.