Conkle’s Hollow is one of many hiking and natural attractions in and around Hocking Hills. The others include Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave, Rock House, Cedar Falls and Cantwell Cliffs and form the backbone of the tourist industry in the area.
Each area is connected by a series of hiking trails making it entirely possible to hike from one to the other in a day. While hiking up to Cantwell Cliffs and back from the others in a day may be a challenge, it’s one that can be conquered with enough time and energy.
There are two trails that run through Conkle’s Hollow. One is an accessible trail that runs through the valley floor from one end to the other. This trail is flat, maintained and wheelchair friendly. The other follows the cliff rim around Conkle’s Hollow and is more of a challenge. It is also the one that offers the most spectacular views. Some of the best scenery anywhere in Ohio.
Conkle’s Hollow is a geological formation carved from the local sandstone by glaciers and water. The gorge is widely regarded as the deepest in Ohio and is 200 feet high and 300 wide in places. The area is surrounded by forest and wilderness, making it a perfect escape from the world for a while.
Conkle’s Hollow is named after an early graffiti artist who carved his name, W.JH. Conkle and the date 1797 into the rock on the west wall of the gorge. Since that time is has always been known as such. It was turned into a nature preserve during the 20th century and now forms part of Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve.
Local legend says that the hollow is also haunted by the ghosts of Native American thieves who used to rob settlers and hide their ill-gotten gains in caves along the wall of Conkle’s Hollow. They apparently used a pair of trees to climb halfway up a wall and hide their loot in a cave.
They chopped one of the trees down so nobody else could get at the price, but a storm took the other one down a short time later, preventing the recovery of the goods. Some of the thieves who operated out of the area were caught and hanged in the hollow. It is these specters who are said to patrol the gorge.
Legend aside, Conkle’s Hollow is an amazing and inspiring place to visit while you’re in Hocking Hills. It offers accessible hiking, or challenging hiking depending on what you’re looking for. It also offers some of the most spectacular vistas around, so make sure it’s on your list while you’re here!