Why should you visit Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio? Because the towering cliffs, waterfalls, and deep gorges this park offers will captivate anyone who enjoys the outdoors. And it’s an affordable option for families. The park itself is free.
When most people think of Ohio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, or Columbus likely comes to mind. I didn’t fancy any of the cities. I wanted to do something off the beaten track that Ohio is not well-known for. When I researched Ohio, I stumbled across cabins and treehouses near or within Hocking Hills State Park. I’m a massive fan of cabins (aka glamping), so I was intrigued.
Let me acquaint you with Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio.
We flew into Columbus, Ohio, on Southwest Airlines. Tickets are inexpensive—$ 200 per person round trip from Orlando. We stayed at Cassady’s Hill Top Cabins in the Trail Cabin. It was $110 per night. I can’t say enough good things about this place.
First, all the cabins are secluded. They are not on top of each other, so you have total privacy. Our cabin was more significant than we needed. Heck, it sleeps 8! A fire pit stocked with wood, a hot tub on the balcony, and deer roaming the area, and we were all set. Now, if you read some of the reviews online, you might think otherwise. I honestly think people have exaggerated, and in one case, dramatically. I’m not going to quote them because we had an enjoyable experience, but I will say this. These are not luxury cabins; they are rustic and charming. Most importantly, they are clean and have all the amenities you need. We will return for sure.
If you want to stay in a treehouse, check out these options—treehouses designed by Kevin Mooney and Pete Nelson. Animal Planet and The Discovery Channel filmed one of the treehouses’ buildings, and it was on a show called Tree House Masters. If you need luxury, it’s available; prepare to spend a whole lot more.
Cabins In Hocking Hills State Park
If you want to stay directly in the park, there are many affordable options to chose from here:
Things To Do At Hocking Hills State Park
Like many parks, Hocking Hills State Park offers fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, and tubing on The Hocking River. Coming from Florida, we skipped these activities because we get to do this all the time year-round. Many companies choose from just Google Hocking Hills River, and many options will come up.
Old Man’s Cave
One of six major hiking trails, Old Man’s Cave is a must. Old Man’s Cave features many unique bridges and scenic views. Old Man’s Cave is considered the heart of Hocking Hills State Park.
By far the most scenic of the routes, in my opinion. Just take a look at the bridge and the old trees. Very mystical.
Located at the east end of the Old Man’s Cave trail. It’s a quick walk to the Upper Falls, and accessing the base is easy. Like all the water bodies in this area, the waterfall in the summer can be thin. Don’t expect the gushing falls you may see in some of the iconic photos. You can also get married at the base of the Upper Falls!
One more major hiking trail in Hocking Hills State Park. Easy to hike to and worth the effort. I would describe this fall as a good old-fashioned watering hole. While all signs say not to take a dip, everyone does, and everyone goes under the waterfall.
Ash Cave is in the southernmost part of Hocking Hills State Park. This is a horseshoe-shaped cave. It measures 700 feet from end to end and is 100 feet deep.
Technically the only real cave. Rock House is a tunnel-like corridor up a 150-foot cliff. Inside this cave, you will find many carvings in the rock. And, there’s a really cool bridge you need to cross to get to the base of the Rock House. The cavern features natural cut-outs that look like windows.
Hocking Hills State Park, Courtesy Photo
Located on the Northern side and seventeen miles north of Old Man’s Cave, these cliffs are remote and less visited than many other trails. Said to be the most picturesque in Hocking County, these are worth the effort.
Map of Hocking Hills State Park
Other Things To Do Near Hocking Hills State Park
Conkle’s Hollow is situated off S.R. 374 and is considered one of the deepest gauges in Ohio. Named after W.J. Conkle, who carved his name on the wall in 1797. Conkles Hollow is a state of nature preserve.
This trip was sorely needed for us. We are always on the run. By far, one of the most relaxing vacations we have had in a while. We walked a couple of hours a day, checking out the park making various trails. Then, we headed back to the cabin to take advantage of the hot tub, followed by a fire. I know some of you might think, heck, you can do this anywhere. True, but who knew it would be so picturesque in Ohio?
There is a Flea Market that is open Friday through Sunday year-round—located in Rockbridge. It’s worth checking out if you are looking for hand-made local goods or produce. Or, if you are looking for a gun, this is your place.
A commercial shopping center is located about 10 minutes out of the park that hosts the usual suspects like Wally World. You can buy anything and everything here.
What you need to know:
All trails are open from dawn to dusk all year long. But here is the best part. All the trails are free, as is the parking!
If you are in the Mid-West, drive to Hocking Hills!
If you are not in the Mid-West, fly into Columbus airport and rent a car.
This whole area is low-key and laid back; you don’t need fancy clothes.
You will need bug spray, especially at night.
There are not many restaurants. Consider taking advantage of the grill – we did!
Cell service is hard to come by, which has pros and cons. Good from the standpoint that you will be off the grid. Bad in the sense that you must find a spot if you must connect.
This is the Mid-West folks. Don’t expect city-slicker amenities. Enjoy the charm.
I had low expectations for Ohio, and it superseded my expectations. We may repeat this trip in the winter with snow. Or, we make another trip with friends and the sprogs. Much like Tennessee, there is so much to see and do here. It’s all good old-fashioned outdoor activity. I suspect most people don’t realize Hocking Hills State Park offers up as much as it does, and that’s a shame.
Without a shadow of a doubt, this park is as beautiful as many of the more well-known ones. If you need a chilling weekend or a place to explore with sprogs, Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio, should be on your radar.
Lastly, everything in the area is priced moderately, making it an excellent choice for families. Rent a cabin, pack up the car, and go. You will not regret it.
Nikki Webster is a travel writer who covers how to travel while grinding a day job and travel without breaking the bank, hotels, cruising, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. She is particularly fond of Florida and writes extensively about the state. She flies around 60,000 miles per year and has visited 54 countries, 50 states, and six continents. You can read all about her travels at www.britonthemove.com.