Complete Guide to Hiking in Hocking Hills Trails

If you happen to visit Ohio, then you should make an effort to see the natural beauties of Hocking Hills State Park. Hocking Hills provides wonderful opportunities for campers, hikers, and backpackers.

As of this post’s writing, Hocking Hills State Park housed 7 trails:

  • Ash Cave.
  • Old Man’s Cave.
  • Rock House.
  • Conkle’s Hollow.
  • Cedar Falls.
  • Cantwell Cliffs.
  • Hemlock Trail.

By themselves, the trails aren’t particularly long or challenging. However, there are a number of important points that you should keep in mind before stepping onto a Hocking Hills trail.

Ash Cave

  • Hours:8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: Approximately 1/2 miles.
  • Pets permitted: Yes, on a leash.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: Yes, up until the cave entrance.

Ash Cave is among the more accessible trails in Hocking Hills. The trail takes only about half an hour to cover, and it isn’t too challenging all in all. Along the trail, you will meet a magnificent cascading waterfall together with a wide recess cave. 

This trail is a particularly good choice for those groups that have members in a wheelchair or stroller – there is a paved sidewalk in the lower section up until the entrance to the cave.

Old Man’s Cave

  • Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: Approximately 1 mile.
  • Pets permitted: Yes, on a leash.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: Yes, up until Lodge Road.

Old Man’s Cave is perhaps the most popular trail in the Hocking Hills. This is thanks to its diverse surroundings featuring unique rock formations, bridges with breathtaking views, and, of course, a recess cave.

Old Man’s Cave is 1 mile long and takes around an hour to cover. Via the trail near the A-frame bridge, you may also access the Ash Cave and Cedar Falls trail. This auxiliary trail is about 6 miles long towards Ash Cave, and because it is not serviced by buses, it offers quite a challenging journey.

Starting at the park/camp office and up until Lodge Road, there is about half a mile long wheelchair-accessible trail as well. This trail portion doesn’t incorporate all the beauties of Old Man’s Cave, but it does offer some spectacular views from the observation deck at Upper Falls.

Rock House

  • Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: Approximately 1/2 miles.
  • Pets permitted: Yes, on a leash.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: No.

Rock House is one of the more remote trails in the Hocking Hills. It has numerous steep steps and rock formations, so you should keep an eye on children and pets. Keep in mind that this trail is not wheelchair-accessible as well. 

Rock House is roughly 1/2 miles long and usually takes 45 minutes to cover. At the entrance to the trail stands a building – the once-popular resort inn The Rock House. Up next comes a huge number of rock formations, cliffs, and a cave that used to house Native Americans.

Conkle’s Hollow

  • Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: 2-1/2 miles in the upper trail, 1 mile in the lower trail.
  • Pets permitted: No.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: Yes, but only in the lower Gorge Trail.

Conkle’s Hollow is the longest and perhaps the most challenging trail in the Hocking Hills. This trail is a nature preserve and offers the most diverse views in the state park too.

Conkle’s Hollow consists of the upper Rim Trail and lower Gorge Trail. The lower trail is about 1 mile long and is wheelchair-friendly, though the bridges can be tricky to pass. The upper trail is 2-1/2 miles long and offers the best views, but it is challenging and is not recommended for children.

With a total length of 3-1/2 miles, Conkle’s Hollow takes about 3 hours to complete. Note that the trail is the only Hocking Hills trail that doesn’t allow pets.

Cedar Falls

  • Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: Approximately 1/2 miles.
  • Pets permitted: Yes, on a leash.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: No.

Cedar Falls is home to some of the largest waterfalls in the state park. The falls are crowned by the remnants of a gristmill built in the mid-19th century.

This trail is moderately challenging and takes about 40 minutes to complete. It has no wheelchair-friendly areas, but it does allow pets on a leash. Despite its moderate difficulty, Cedar Falls requires extra care with children and pets – the trail is laden with grottos, slippery rocks, and high cliffs.

Cantwell Cliffs

  • Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: Approximately 1/2 miles.
  • Pets permitted: Yes, on a leash.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: No.

Cantwell Cliffs aren’t the best place for children and pets because of its steep cliffs. Although there are no restrictions on pet or children’s entrance, it’s quite a dangerous trail. Cliffs, inclines, steps, rocks – all this makes for a disaster recipe for careless hikers.

The highlight of Cantwell Cliffs is the so-called Squeeze – a narrow passage that gives visitors access to the bottom of the gorge. This passage is not the most pleasant to pass through from noon to 3 PM because it gets really crowded.

Around 1/2 miles long, Cantwell Cliff takes about 40 minutes to complete.

Hemlock Trail

  • Hours: 8 AM – 5 PM, year-round.
  • Length: Approximately 1-1/2 miles.
  • Pets permitted: Yes, on a leash.
  • Wheelchair accessibility: No.

Hemlock Trail is a rather recent addition to the Hocking Hills State Park. Aside from being new itself, it also introduces a number of first-time attractions to the state park, such as the swinging bridge over Old Man’s Creek.

Additionally, Hemlock Trail houses the Whispering Cave, the second largest cave in the state park.

Hemlock Trail is 1-1/2 miles long and takes about 2 hours to complete. Via the swinging bridge, you may enter the Old Man’s Cave’s Gorge Trail. 

All in all, Hemlock Trail isn’t the most challenging trail in the park and is a good place to visit with pets and children. But be careful when crossing the swinging bridge!

Key Points To Remember About Hocking Hills Trails

As a conclusion, here are a few key points to remember when hiking on all trails in Hocking Hills:

  • Swimming is not allowed in natural bodies of water, except for the designated beach area at Lake Hope State Park and Lake Logan.
  • Hocking Hills State Park and hiking trails are free to enter.
  • Visitors are required to stay on the designated trails.
  • Pets are allowed (except for Conkle’s Hollow) on a leash with a max length of 6 feet.
  • Trails are open year-round from dusk to dawn, even on holidays.
  • Snacks, souvenirs, gifts, and beverages may be bought from Grandma Fayes up the street from the park.

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