I’m still amazed at the number of Ohioans that have never visited Hocking Hills and there’s no better time of year to visit than now! Spending a Fall weekend in the Hills is a budget-friendly vacation without having to leave the state! Hiking is one of the area’s main attractions and the following are my favorite places in Hocking Hills to take in the great outdoors.
Ash Cave is stunning – especially in person! The short hiking trail is super safe for kids and is even handicap accessible. I read it’s the largest recess cave east of the Mississippi and that it was named for the large pile of ashes found by early settlers although no one knows where the ashes came from (Native Americans, perhaps?!).
Cedar Falls isn’t actually surrounded by cedar trees contrary to what the early settlers thought – they’re hemlock trees! No matter, the name stuck. Cedar Falls has one of the highest waterfalls in Hocking Hills and it’s worth the somewhat rugged (but quick!) hike. There was even a grist mill in the 1800’s that stood above the falls.
Old Man’s Cave, named for Richard Rowe, a hermit that used to live there in the 19th-century, is the most popular spot to visit in Hocking Hills and features numerous rock formations like the Devil’s Bathtub, Sphinx Head, Eagle Rock and Whale in the Wall. Lace up your hiking boots when you go here – there are trails to both Cedar Falls and Ash Cave from the cave!
Conkle’s Hollow has both a lower trail that goes through the gorge and a rim trail that is much more of a dangerous hike (leave the kiddos at home for this one) as it goes around and above the gorge. You’ll find waterfalls falling over the gorge’s Black Hand sandstone cliffs during your hike and the hollow is named for W.J. Conkle, who carved his name carved in the cliffs!
The ladies at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls recommended we visit the nearby Rose Lake during our stay last year and WOW!!! Rose Lake during the Fall is so beautiful, I barely edited these photos – swear! The hike to the lake was a bit off the beaten path but worth it! Definitely a hidden gem of Hocking Hills.
p.s. Also worth adding to the list, if you visit: Rock House and Cantwell Cliffs!