I stumbled upon Hocking Hills while looking at the beautiful wallpaper suggested by windows 10. I googled the place and found it to be really interesting and gorgeous. That was it!!
Indianapolis to Hocking Hills
It always takes at least an hour to mobilize and get out the door for a trip in the morning no matter what is already packed ahead of time. We left at 5:00 am in the morning for my first Hiking experience in the United States. Yay!!
After driving for around 3 hours, it was time to feed our starving tummies with some food and we took a halt at Rest area near Somerford township to have sumptuous Indian breakfast(Idli and sambar) prepared by my crew and me.
In another one hour, we reached the Hocking Hill’s visitors center and got the trail guide and maps for the hiking route.
Old Man’s Cave
The place is named for Richard Rowe, a hermit that used to live there in the 19th-century and this is the most popular spot to visit in Hocking Hills.
I would recommend getting there early because it gets crowded as the day goes on. With destinations such as the upper falls, Devils bathtub, lower falls, lower gorge, upper gorge, there is beauty throughout every step of the trail. If you are in the area for a day trip only, this is where you will be able to see the most.
There are trails to both Cedar Falls and Ash Cave from the cave!
Trail Miles: 1+
This is the most photographed and highest waterfalls in Hocking Hills.
This is probably my favorite area of the Hocking Hills because of the scenery: forests, a gorge, caves, and even waterfalls. The falls are at their peak in the spring. Cedar Falls isn’t actually surrounded by cedar trees contrary to what the early settlers thought – they’re hemlock trees but the name has been used ever since.
We took Gorge Overlook Trail(2.9 miles) that led us to Rose Lake overlook. We had a best of our time sitting amidst the water.
Trail Miles: .5+
Ash Cave gets its name from the piles of ashes that were sitting in the cave when it was “discovered.” It is presumed that Native Americans lived in this cave for some time and the ashes were built up from their frequent fires.
The most popular hike in Hocking Hills is to Ash Cave, a giant recess cave with a small waterfall tumbling over it. The short hiking trail is super safe for kids and is even handicap accessible.
To get to the cave from the main parking lot, you walk through a narrow gorge filled with hemlock and beech trees that suddenly opens up into the cave – it’s quite impressive!
Can you spot the teeny tiny person in this photo? Gives you an idea of how huge this cave really is!
Trail Miles: .25 Mile
The Rock House is the only true cave in the Hocking Hills state park, this grand tunnel-like corridor is situated midway up a 150-foot cliff. Stone stairs allow you to access the cave. I just loved the echo our voices could create inside the cave as well as the relative darkness to sneak around.
Trail Miles: 1.6
Cantwell Cliff is the farthest removed from the cluster of attractions to the south and as a result doesn’t see quite so many visitors. This hike offers best of the two worlds. The high rim trails offer far reaching vistas of breathtaking beauty, while the valley trail makes the visitor feel diminutive when walking at the base of the cliff. If you can visit during the week in the off-season, there is a good chance you can have this site all to yourself.
After all of that hiking, we were ready to relax for the evening at Columbus which was at a distance of around 60 miles. We had pizza and pasta in the dinner and headed to the colorful downtown of Columbus.
Columbus is famous for rather a lot; firstly for having one of the largest universities and famous football schools in North America, as well as being home to one of the country’s top zoos.
I really liked the use of colors in everything in the Columbus downtown 🙂
Facts and Tips
- Pack as much food, water, etc as you think you will need and then add more. The closest full-service store is a Walmart and it is over 30 minutes away from the region.
- Stay on the trails! Check the map for the distance before starting off any trail. Be mindful of the distance you are traveling as for most of the trails, you have to come back through the same path again.
- Toilets are few and far between and they are usually in the form of Portapotties or drop toilets. Bring plenty of hand sanitizer.
- Hocking Hills is beautiful in winter, too due to ice formation at various places.
- There are a variety of campsites in Hocking Hills State Park, and many visitors choose to pitch a tent or bring a camper van for the weekend.
- Cabin rentals can be found throughout the county, many within a few miles’ drive from the best hiking trails. Most will come fully equipped with a kitchen and barbecue or fire pit, and the good ones will have a hot tub out on the back porch so you can properly unwind and enjoy the nature.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking shoes and discover these scenic hikes in Hocking Hills.
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