Hocking Hills State Park is a hidden gem in Ohio! With tumbling waterfalls, recessed caves, picturesque rock formations, hemlock gorges, and towering cliffs, it can be hard to believe that something so magical is tucked inside of the state of Ohio.
In this complete guide to Hocking Hills State Park, I am going to share with you everything you need to know to explore this beautiful Ohio state park and its outlying forests and preserves. You’ll learn how to get there, how the park is divided, the best things to do, where to stay, the best cabins in Hocking Hills, when to go, and more!
Enjoy this first-timer’s guide to Hocking Hills State Park!
Complete Guide to Hocking Hills State Park
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Getting to Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills is located in southeast Ohio, about an hour from Columbus.
Hocking Hills State Park is divided into seven major hiking areas:
- Rock House
- Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve
- Old Man’s Cave
- Whispering Cave
- Cedar Falls
- Ash Cave
- Cantwell Cliffs
I’ve mapped each region below. ⤵️
As you can see, some of the regions are more spread out and remote than others. This is what makes Hocking Hills State Park so fun to explore!
Hocking Hills Travel Tips
I’ve been to Hocking Hills State Park about ten times, and having explored each region in the park, I am going to give you my pro travel tips so that you can have the best experience at this Ohio state park!
- There are seven major hiking areas. Most require a drive between each area.
- The park is open year-round from dawn until dusk.
- The best time to explore the park is April through October.
- Pets are allowed in Hocking Hills State Park, but not at Conkle’s Hollow.
- Visit mid-week or early in the morning for fewer crowds.
- Swimming and wading are not allowed in any of the waterfalls or creeks of Hocking Hills BUT you can swim at the beach area at Lake Logan State Park (12 miles from Old Man’s Cave) and Lake Hope State Park (22 miles from Old Man’s Cave).
Best Things to Do at Hocking Hills
1. Hike the Trails
There are seven major hiking areas. While many of the regions are connected by hiking trails, the easiest way to explore the park is by driving to each area and hiking the short trail(s) in each region.
Don’t Miss These Hiking Trails:
- Ash Cave – 0.5 miles
- Cedar Falls – 0.4 miles
- Old Man’s Cave – 1.5 miles
- Cantwell Cliffs – 0.9 miles
- Conkle’s Hollow – 1.2 miles
- Rock House – 0.8 miles
- Whispering Cave – 5.8 miles
→ READ NEXT: 7 Scenic Hiking Trails in Hocking Hills 🥾
2. Go Ziplining
Do you prefer a birdseye view of the landscapes? Zip from treetop to treetop in one of these canopy tours!
3. Paddle or Float the Hocking River
The best way to spend a hot afternoon in Ohio is on a river!
On Hocking River, you can canoe, kayak, or tube. Rentals are available if you don’t want to bring your own.
4. Go Horseback Riding
Another fun way to get around Hocking Hills is to horseback ride!
📆 Book your horseback riding tour with Hocking Hills Horse Rides.
Where to Stay in Hocking Hills
Camping at Hocking Hills is a great way to immerse yourself in the park. These are the best campgrounds in Hocking Hills:
Looking for luxury instead of camping? These are the best places to stay in Hocking Hills:
- Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls – Cozy inn just minutes from Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, and Old Man’s Cave.
- Holiday Inn Express – Chain hotel in the closest town, Logan. Less than 20 minutes from the park.
- The Lily Pad – Unique stay in a shipping container for 2 people. Just 2 miles from Old Man’s Cave.
- Rock House Cabins – Luxury cabin stay perfect for large groups. Just a 1-minute walk from the Rock House.
Some of the trails in Hocking Hills are featured in my Top Spring Hikes in the Midwest. Read it here!
When to Go to Hocking Hills
The best time to visit Hocking Hills is April through October. During these months, high temperatures range from the 60s to the 80s.
Since Hocking Hills is a popular state park, visiting in the winter would allow you to experience fewer crowds. But if you do go to Hocking Hills in the winter, be prepared for snow and cold temperatures. Bring microspikes or snowshoes with you on the trails.
Hocking Hills FAQs
Can I bring my dog to Hocking Hills?
Yes! There are lots of dog-friendly trails in Hocking Hills. You can bring your dog on any of the hiking trails except those in the nature preserve, Conkle’s Hollow.
Keep your dog on a 6-foot leash (or shorter) and keep them out of the waterways.
How can I avoid crowds in Hocking Hills?
For fewer crowds in Hocking Hills, avoid weekends, explore early to mid-week, avoid holidays, and hike early in the morning.
Is there a fee to get into Hocking Hills?
Nope! Hocking Hills is completely free to enter. In fact, all Ohio state parks are free!
→ READ NEXT: Ohio Road Trip: 8 Best Stops For Outdoor Adventure 🚗
Is Hocking Hills open year-round?
Yes! Hocking Hills State Park and its hiking areas are open all year long, including holidays.
Hocking Hills State Park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Can I swim in Hocking Hills?
No! No swimming or wading is allowed in Hocking Hills State Park. This includes waterfalls, creeks, or natural bodies of water.
If you want to swim, check out nearby Lake Logan State Park or Lake Hope State Park. They both have designated beach areas.
What are the best caves in Hocking Hills?
While there are recessed caves in the park like Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave, the best “real” cave in Hocking Hills is Rock House.
What are the best waterfalls in Hocking Hills?
Hocking Hills’ waterfalls are spectacular! The best are the Upper and Lower Falls at Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, and the falls at Ash Cave.
Are there bears in Hocking Hills?
There are bears in Hocking Hills, but sightings are rare. The entire state of Ohio only has about 50 known black bears.
→ READ NEXT: Bear Safety Tips For Hikers and Campers 🐻
What are the best cabins in Hocking Hills?
There are so many great cabins in Hocking Hills!
Cheap Cabins in Hocking Hills: Blue Rose Cabins
What are the best hiking trails in Hocking Hills?
The best hiking trails in Hocking Hills are Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and Cantwell Cliffs. For all of the best hiking trails and their descriptions, read my blog post!
→ READ NEXT: 7 Scenic Hiking Trails in Hocking Hills 🥾
Discover Your Next Adventure
Where to next? I’ve got some suggestions!
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