Hocking Hills State Park is a real gem in Ohio, a short drive from Logan. It sits next to Hocking State Forest and the Ash Cave Recreation area and is very popular with tourists and locals who want to get back to nature and enjoy some spectacular scenery.
The park itself is spread over 2,356 acres, with a further 17 acres of the Hocking Hills Reservoir. It isn’t the biggest as far as national parks go, but it’s among one of the most spectacular.
Highlights of Hocking Hills State Park include Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs and Rock House. Each has a different character and shows off the area in a different light. Anyone staying here should see as many of them as possible. From the interior depths of the Rock House to the dramatic waterfalls of Ash Cave, they are all worth seeing.
The Formation of Hocking Hills State Park
It is believed that Ohio was once under an ocean, part of what is now the Atlantic. The currents deposited silt and dirt, which eventually formed the sandstone we see today. The sea receded and the rock formed as it dried out. A hard outer layer, the crust formed first, which then protected a softer, inner layer underneath.
During the last ice age, the area was ravaged by glaciers which carved out some of the dramatic landscape. Water from these glaciers found its way into fissures in the rock and scooped up the soft later of rock to form caves, grottoes and tunnels that still stand today.
The type of sandstone found at Hocking Hills State Park, is referred to as Black Hand Sandstone. Early explorers found an ancient black hand print on the edge of a cliff in the area, so named the rock after it.
Amenities at Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park has plenty to do all year-round, from hiking, biking, camping, Canopy Tours, fishing, swimming, archery and picnicking. There are of course many trails to hike of varying difficulty levels. They include:
- Old Man’s Cave – 1 mile
- Ash Cave Gorge – ¼ mile
- Ash Cave Rim – ½ mile
- Cedar Falls – ½ mile
- Rock House – 1 mile
- Cantwell Cliffs – 1 mile
- Conkle’s Hollow – 1 mile
- Conkle’s Hollow Rim – 2½ miles
- Buckeye Trail: Cedar Falls – 6 miles
There are also two mountain biking trails:
- Purple Trail Loop – 2 Miles
- Orange Trail Loop – 2 miles
Hocking Hills State Park is a superb place to spend time contemplating nature, exploring the features and hiking through the wilderness. With no shortage of places to stay in Hocking Hills and plenty of things to do, it makes for a perfect vacation spot or weekend getaway.