Hike the Hocking Hills: A Guide
The Hocking Hills region of Ohio is a hiker's absolute paradise. The region is home to miles and miles of hiking trails ranging from easy, breezy walks to more challenging treks. There are trails to suit all levels of ability, so no matter if you’re a beginner or a seasoned professional - you’ll find something to enjoy! The Hocking Hills region is well known for its natural beauty, and the hiking trails are a great way to experience it up close and personal.
Here are four trails with beautiful scenery located near our Eco-Luxe Vacation properties:
Ash Cave is one of the largest recess caves east of the Mississippi and is located in Hocking
Hills State Park. This horseshoe-shaped cave has a rim that spans 700 feet and is open on one side with a waterfall. The trail is a one-way system but wheelchair accessible up to a series of steps. It is approximately a 1/2 mile long and takes about 40 minutes to hike. Hikers trek a wheelchair-accessible, asphalt trail through a beautiful gorge lined with stately hemlocks and cliff walls. Halfway, there is a recess cave and a seasonal waterfall. After reaching the cave/waterfall area, hikers (barring wheelchair-users) must continue on the one-way trail system and up a series of steps to the rim trail, which leads (if turning right) back along the rim to the parking lot (or 2.3 miles to Cedar Falls if turning left). The path is marked with signs.
Cedar Falls is the largest waterfall by volume in Hocking County, with water plunging 50 feet.
It is also the most photographed waterfall in Ohio. The path is approximately a 1/2 mile long and relatively strenuous with steps. It is an approximate 40-minute one-way trail system with a waterfall, bridges, and unique rock formations. Halfway, hikers can take in the beauty of a seasonal waterfall reached by hiking a rugged trail down steps and along a dirt path. After getting to the cave/waterfall area, hikers continue along the one-way trail system through beautiful rock formations, a boardwalk, and up a series of steps. The trail is marked with signs, and there are flushable toilets at the restroom in the parking lot.
Fun Fact: The name Cedar Falls is an inaccuracy resulting from mistaken identity. Early settlers to the area misidentified the stately hemlock trees as cedar trees, but the name Cedar Falls has been used ever since.
Old Man’s Cave
Old Man's Cave is a gorge that runs through the Blackhand sandstone. It comprises the Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and Lower Gorge. This one-way loop trail is approximately 1 to 1.5 miles long and begins at the kiosk at Upper Falls. From there, you can take two differing exits: Exit 1 is at Old Man's Cave and is 1 mile long, taking about 60 minutes. This exit ends at the Naturalist Cabin and Visitor Center. Exit 2 is past Old Man's Cave, following a steep incline with an elevation change at the winding stairway, also exiting at the Naturalist Cabin and Visitor Center. This exit is 1.5 miles long and takes about 1.5 hours. Some other options for this trail include a wheelchair/stroller-accessible trail that runs from the Park/Camp office past the visitor center to Lodge Road. It is a little more than a half-mile in length and includes a ramp and observation deck at Upper Falls. For a more strenuous extended walk, hikers can take the BLUE TRAIL to Lower Falls, past Rose Lake, the Cedar Falls A-Frame Bridge, and then continue to Cedar Falls, which is three more miles one way.
This trail may not be suitable for young children or pets.
Whispering Cave/Hemlock Trail
The Whispering Cave/Hemlock Trail is one of the seven major hiking trails of Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio. The trail is a five-mile loop with a swinging bridge and one waterfall. Hikers are advised to plan the whole 5-mile hike as it is a one-way loop and cannot turn around. You can start the trail in two ways: 1) You can start at the Visitor Center. There are steps at the Visitor Center near the kiosk. Halfway to Cedar Falls, you can catch the Purple Trail marked by a sign. 2) You can start at Upper Falls near that kiosk, also. Follow the blue Trail markers and signs 1 1/2 miles to the Whispering Cave (Purple Trail - is marked with a sign). It will loop around 1-way to Whispering Cave and back to the Visitor Center. This trail may not be suitable for young children or pets as well.
Whether you're looking for a short, easy hike or a longer, more challenging trek, the Hocking Hills region has a hiking trail for you. So lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails! And if you’re looking for a place to stay, know that we’d love to host you at one of our Eco-Luxe Vacation properties!