Hiking refreshes the body and the soul. It clears the mind and helps us look at things from a different perspective. It is also, of course, excellent exercise for beginning and seasoned hikers alike. If you are looking for a trail to get your blood flowing and help you shed your worries, check out these top four hikes around the Hocking Hills!
Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park combines six parks in one. There are nine main hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, with some that are wheelchair accessible. The most popular is Old Man’s Cave trail, an intermediate one-mile hike along stunning waterfalls and gorges. More adventurous hikers can use this trail as the starting point for the six-mile trek to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. After a day on the trails, set up camp right in the park or soothe your tired legs in the hot tub of one of Old Man’s Cave Chalets’s rental cabins.
Clear Creek Metro Park
Clear Creek Metro Park, also in the Hocking Hills region, is a secluded paradise that is home to many species of plants, rare birds, and other wildlife. There are nine marked trails between 0.3 and 2.5 miles in length. Because of the park’s steep and rough terrain, most of these hikes tend toward intermediate-to-difficult, so this is a good choice for experienced hikers.
Zaleski State Forest
Zaleski State Forest is the second largest state forest in Ohio (right behind the 63,000-acre Shawnee State Forest). Not for amateurs, the 23.5-mile Zaleski State Forest Backpack Trail features picturesque views, interpretive history stops, and primitive camping facilities. Plan to spend about three days or do the 10.5-mile day trip along the south loop.
Burr Oak State Park
Where, you say? Burr Oak State Park, nestled on the edge of the Wayne National Forest, is a hidden treasure. It has seven easy-to-intermediate hiking trail ranging up to 7.5 miles, as well as a 7-mile backpack trail that forms a portion of the 18-mile Buckeye Trail. The nearby Burr Oak Lake allows boating, fishing, and swimming, and overnight visitors can camp or rent one of two camper cabins.
What are you waiting for? Lace up those hiking boots and get out there!