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Best Hikes in the Hocking Hills

A trip to the Hocking Hills means hiking opportunities that range from family-friendly excursions to longer treks that cover more miles.

A trip to the Hocking Hills offers hiking opportunities that take travelers to some of the area’s most famous features. These six routes range from trails you can take with the little ones to longer hikes that will allow you to rack up more miles. Along the way you’ll find incredible overlooks, deep gorges, rushing waterfalls, caves and more of what makes this area of Ohio unique. You can find a full map of the park here.

Cantwell Cliffs (Upper and Lower Trails):  Cantwell Cliffs, located in the northern reaches of Hocking Hills, offers one of the more difficult hikes but proves to be less busy than other areas of the park. The 0.9-mile rim hike offers a challenge with climbs and descents but works well for the more daring hiker. The shorter loop, which goes through the valley, is a 1-mile trip and good for all skill levels. State Route 374, Rockbridge 43149 >> Trail Map

Ash Cave in the Hocking Hills (photo by Laura Watilo Blake)
Ash Cave Gorge Trail: Ash Cave Gorge Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Hocking Hills State Park thanks to its large recess cave measuring 700 feet wide and 100 feet tall. The half-mile rim trail offers a view from the top, but the most common approach is via the Gorge Trail, which is a quarter-mile-long jaunt through hardwood forest on a paved path. The cave gets its namesake from the large piles of ash early white settlers discovered there, which designated that Native Americans used it for shelter. State Route 56, South Bloomingville 43152 >> Read More | Trail Map

Old Man’s Cave (photo by Jim Vickers)
Old Man’s Cave Trail:
Old Man’s Cave Trail is one of the most popular trails in Hocking Hills State Park. Most people stick to the approximately mile-long portion that runs through the center of the gorge and is accessible from the Old Man’s Cave parking area, but the complete out-and-back trail stretches 5.3 miles and connects with Cedar Falls parking area at its eastern end. 19852 St. Rte. 664, Logan 43138 >> Trail Map

Conkles Hollow (photo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources)
Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve (Gorge and Rim Trails): Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve is one of the most popular areas in the park. The area is home to one of the deepest gorges in the state. The Lower Gorge Trail is offers a path for hikers of all abilities. Visitors can expect an abundance of woodland wildflowers and ferns along the pathway that follows a shallow yet steady stream along the length of the trail. The Rim Trail provides a beautiful bird’s eye view of the greenery — hikers can see nearly 4 miles through the valley when standing at the overlook. 24858 Big Pine Rd., Rockbridge 43149 >> Read More | Gorge Trail Map  Rim Trail Map
Grandma Gatewood Trail
Grandma Gatewood Trail: This 6-mile route is named after Ohioan and outdoorswoman Emma Rowena Gatewood. In 1955, she became the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail solo and in one season. Her namesake trail in the Hocking Hills stretches from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave and follows the Buckeye Trail. Along the way, hikers encounter Devil’s Bathtub, a swirling pool of water near Old Man’s Cave, multiple waterfalls and an old fire tower. At 12 miles out and back total, it’s on the longer side, but you can always drop a second car off at one end of the route. Start at Old Man’s Cave (19852 St. Rte. 664, Logan) or Ash Cave (state Route 56, just west of state Route 374, South Bloomingville). >> Read More | Trail Map

Whispering Cave (photo by Jim Vickers)
Whispering Cave/Hemlock Bridge Trail: The Hemlock Bridge Trail was added to Hocking Hills State Park in 2015 and leads hikers on a mile-long path back to the secluded Whispering Cave. The hollow of the recess of the cave spans almost 300 feet, and a waterfall trickles from its 105-foot-high upper rim. Whispering Cave is the second-largest recess cave in the state park, behind only Ash Cave. 20160 St. Rte. 664, Logan 43138 >> Read More | Trail Map

More Hocking Hills: Where to Stay in the Hocking Hills | Outdoor Adventures in the Hocking Hills | Most Scenic Spots in the Hocking Hills | Stargazing in the Hocking Hills | Spa Offerings in the Hocking Hills

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