Hocking Hills State Park
8/14/17 to 8/18/17
Monday 8/14/17 I've heard how beautiful Hocking Hills State Park was and although it's not too far from home we have never been there. So because we were pretty close we decided to spend a few days here. The drive from Natural Bridge State Park to Hocking Hills was about 200 miles but there aren't too many main roads in this area of Ohio. Our GPS took us on a very interesting ride today. It's pretty nerve-racking towing a 32-foot trailer on curvy back country roads. It was a relief to finally get to our campground. We booked four nights at a KOA near Logan, Ohio. Hocking Hills State Park does have a campground but the dates I wanted weren't available. KOA's are always a nice place to stay but because of all the amenities, they are usually more expensive. This place has a pool, clubhouse, snack bar, pizza shop, ice cream shop, planned activities for kids and other things we don't need. Once we got the trailer set up we drove into Logan to get gas, eat and do a little grocery shipping. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and researching what we wanted to do for the next three days.
Tuesday 8/15/17 Hocking Hills State Park is famous for cascading waterfalls, breathtaking cliffs, deep recess caves, rock outcrops, deep cool gorges and forestland as far as the eye can see. There are six major areas to see in Hocking Hills. Old Mans Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs and Conkle's Hollow. We hope to see them all in the three days we are here. Today we started with Old Mans Cave. When I checked the map there is a visitors center near Old Mans Cave. From there a trail heads down to Old Mans Cave and continues to Cedar Falls. We can see two in one day! I had no idea what to expect when we started walking to Old Mans Cave. There's a lot of people that visit this area and the walkways and trails are very worn but mostly in good shape. It's a short walk down to Old Mans Cave and once we got there it was amazing. I never knew there were cliffs and gorges like this in Ohio. Once we were done exploring Old Mans Cave we continued on the trail. The trail runs along the creek, over rocks and through the forest to Lower Falls and then to Cedar Falls. There was so much to see in this section of the trail. After Cedar Falls the trail follows the top part of the gorge. This part was actually a little boring because it was just a wide path through the woods. We were never close enough to the gorge to look down into it. Although if you look at the pictures below you'll see that at one point I had to use my superhuman strength to remove a couple trees that were blocking the trail. Once we got back near the visitors center we continued on to the Upper Falls. This was a great hike with lots to see and explore. Although none of the falls were spectacular because of the dry weather in the area. We spent most of the day here and walked a total of 7.9 miles.
Wednesday 8/16/17 Since we've been hiking the last seven days we decided to try something different today. We found a zip line in the area. The Hocking Hills Canopy Tours advertise the first "World Class" zip line adventure in Ohio. Although we've done this twice before, it just never gets old. I checked the reviews on this place and everyone seemed to like it. We actually stopped here yesterday to check it out and made reservations for the "The X-TOUR" at 9:10 AM. It was three hours long and used a combination of towers and trees. There were 11 zip lines that zip above rolling hills, take you into a recessed cave and across the Hocking River twice. The experience was first class. They even had UTVs to transport us between towers. We had a group of nine people and yes we were the oldest in the group. We had a great time.
We finished up with the zip line tour around noon so we headed to another short hike along Cantwell Cliffs. This was number three of six sites we wanted to see in Hocking Hills. We took a short three-mile hike around and through the cliffs. It started out pretty nice but we just kept going down, down and down to the creek bed. Once we got to the bottom there was a mile walk along the creek and then nothing but up, up and up back to the parking lot. We thought about stopping at another place but we were hot and worn out so we headed back to the trailer for the remainder of the day.
Thursday 8/17/17 Today marks three months on the road! We already saw three of the six landmarks in Hocking Hills so today our goal is to see the other three. The first place we stopped was Rock House. Rock house is a tunnel-like corridor situated midway up a 150-foot sandstone cliff. It has a 25-foot high ceiling, the main corridor is 200 feet long and 20 to 30 feet wide. There is a mile long trail leading from the parking lot, down to the cave, up to the top of the ridge and then back to the parking lot. Lots of steep steps and rocks to get around. One thing we both agreed on is that we would not want to bring young kids on any of the trails. There's just too many places where you could slip and get hurt.
After Rock House, we headed to Conkle's Hollow. It's a huge rocky gorge, considered one of the deepest in Ohio. The valley floor looks like it could be a scene from Jurassic Park. It's covered by ferns and wildflowers, hemlock, birch and other hardwood trees. The growth is so thick in places that little or no sunlight reaches the deep valley floor. It's a beautiful place. Conkle's Hollow has two different trails that we hiked. There was a one-mile paved path that runs through the middle of the gorge. And a 2.5 mile rim trail that runs along the top of the gorge. The trail that runs along the top is a very dangerous trail with 100 to 200 foot drop offs. We ran into a couple with two kids that told us they turned around and were heading back because they thought it was too dangerous.
The last place we had to visit was Ash Cave. Ash Cave is the largest, most impressive recess cave in the state. The horseshoe-shaped cave measures 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet high. Quite a site and just a quarter mile walk from the parking lot. Once you walk to the cave there are some wooden steps that take you to the top and you can continue on a trail back down to the parking lot. Total walking mileage was 6.5 miles today.
Friday 8/18/17 Hocking Hills is a great place to spend a couple of days. If I were to visit again it would probably be in the spring when there would be more water flowing. We didn't get a chance to see the spectacular waterfalls or go canoeing.
Today we packed up the trailer and are heading to Millersburg, Ohio.
Questions or comments? Contact us today.