13 Things To Do In Hocking Hills: Unique & Fun Activities

February 10, 2024
An example of things to do and activities in Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills State Park is located in southeastern Ohio and is home to one of the state’s largest recreation areas filled with unique sandstone cliffs, deep shady gorges, and dreamy waterfalls. This state park and the surrounding area offer year round activities and things to do for people of all ages.

There is no entrance fee to this gorgeous area and parking is free. Hocking Hills is a delightful destination for hiking, miscellaneous outdoor activities, and unique experiences. We really enjoy coming here because it is so different from the geography of most other midwestern states!

We’ll talk about all of these things here. Use this guide as an inspiration to plan out all of your Hocking Hills activities!

Hiking

The most popular thing to do in Hocking Hills State Park is hiking. There are over 55 miles of trails to explore throughout the 10,000+ acres of forest that make up this state park. These trails take you through towering cliffs, up close to waterfalls, next to small streams, and among the lush trees and undergrowth. Here are some of our favorite areas of the park with associated hikes and must-see natural features!

Ash Cave

Ash Cave which is a popular Hocking Hills activity

The loop trail to get to Ash Cave is only a half mile long total but it does involve climbing back up at least 100 stairs. Ash Cave is a huge, overreaching natural cavern is horseshoe shaped and features a small, wispy waterfall plummeting down from the overhang above.

There is a short out and back wheelchair accessible trail from the parking lot to the waterfall! There are picnic benches as well as fire pits underneath the overhang too.

Old Man’s Cave

Old Man’s Cave is located roughly in the heart of Hocking Hills State Park. This area includes a handful of really cool features: Upper, Middle, and Lower Falls, Upper and Lower Gorge, and Old Man’ Cave.

Waterfall in Old Man's Cave

A well maintained, one way loop is about 1.5 miles long starting close to the main parking lot at Upper Falls. There are numerous points of interest to check out along the way. The sides of the gorge itself and the scattered, large boulders are stunning.

Old Man’s Cave sits just above a small, meandering waterfall. Just a bit beyond the cave is Lower Falls, which you can enjoy up close from a sandy beach across the shallow pool of water sitting at its base.

You can choose to extend this hike another 1.5 miles to Whispering Cave.

Author Note: It’s important to note that a lot of the trails within Hocking Hills are one-way only. If it is a one way trail, it is obviously noted by multiple signs.

Conkle’s Hollow

Conkle's Hollow thing to do in Hocking Hills, Ohio

The Gorge Trail is a 1.2 mile out and back hike along a path that is paved almost the entire way. The delicate Conkles Hollow Falls awaits you at the end of the trail, at the start of one of the deepest gorges in the state. The falls can dry up during peak summer but the hike is still worth completing in order to appreciate the unique landscape.

The East and West Rim Trail is a one way, 2.1 mile loop that guides you along the rim of Conkle’s Gorge. Step out onto the steep outcroppings (watching your step!) for some stunning views of the surrounding forest tree tops and a top down view of the gorge.

Cantwell Cliffs

This is the most remote area of Hocking Hills located in the northernmost region of the park. Because of its remoteness, its trails tend to be the least crowded, especially on weekdays. Explore the narrow box canyon from in and above via the roughly two mile trail system.

The trails are slightly more rugged than those in other areas of the park but have some of the most striking cliffs in all of Hocking Hills. Designated by color, the red trail takes you along the rim while the yellow trail leads you into the canyon itself. Both trails connect to each other so most people combine both hikes into one.

The passageway known as the ‘Fat Woman’s Squeeze’ acts as the entrance to both trails and descends over 150 feet to the gorge’s floor and into one of the largest recess caves in Hocking Hills. It’s massive and makes other visitors farther ahead appear rather small!

The greenery of the area is akin to that seen in the forests of the PNW. Buck Run (the creek that created this deep gorge) keeps the area lush and provides the water for Big Spring Hollow Falls which cascades down over 100 feet!

Rock House

Rock House is the only true cave located in Hocking Hills. The main corridor of the cavern is 200 feet in length with 25 foot high ceilings. Time and the elements have carved out the “windows” along the corridor, sandstone support columns, and the arched ceiling.

Rock House in Hocking Hills

This was a really interesting area of the park because it has been a home and shelter to different groups of people for thousands of years. There is archeological evidence of Native Americans using small recesses in the rocks as ovens. Research has also indicated that water troughs were carved into the cave’s floors to collect and store rainwater.

The trail from the parking lot to Rock House and back is only one mile and definitely worth a stop!

Unique Things To Do Near Hocking Hills…Besides Hiking

Even though hiking brings a large amount of people to the state park, this isn’t the only thing to do. What else is there to do in Hocking Hills? Well, there is a wide range of activities to do in and around this area, everything from biking to spas to the arts and lots of fun things to do in between.

Glass Blowing

Visit the Ohio Glass Museum located in Lancaster, Ohio. It’s a 25 minute drive outside of the park and is a great option for a rainy day or break from strenuous activity. Check out their exhibits and watch their artists demonstrate the art of glass blowing.

The Jack Pine Studio is a three minute drive from Old Man’s Cave. Enjoy their beautiful creations or take a one-on-one class to get a taste of what glass art is all about. Currently classes range from $55-$370 per session.

Rest And Relaxation

Book an appointment to unwind after a full day of activity by checking out two local and unique spa experiences at either Hocking Hills Serenity Salt Cave or Hocking Hills Sauna Pods. Both businesses allow for individual or group bookings.

We enjoyed our experience at the Sauna Pods after a ten mile hike from Old Man Cave to Ash Cave and back! Pierce and I booked a private one hour session in their barrel shaped cedar sauna. We loved the full floor to ceiling window that looks out into the forest. It was a really nice way to relax our muscles, especially because the day had been quite chilly. We especially appreciate how clean the sauna was…no one wants to relax in a dirty looking room!

We haven’t tried this next spot but it seems like an interesting experience. Hocking Hills Serenity Salt Cave offers a calming experience in their handcrafted salt cave built of Himalayan salt boulders. Halotherapy, done in a salt room like the one provided here, claims to provide benefits for a number of physical and emotional conditions. Whether or not you believe in the benefits of Halotherapy, it at least looks like a really cozy place to unwind and loosen up.

Zip Lining

A really fun attraction that brings people to Hocking Hills is ziplining. Providing experiences for the past 17 years, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours offers a handful of different zip line adventures. Most of their tours last a couple of hours and take you high into the canopy of the surrounding forests. They offer a different, sky-high perspective of the area’s natural features.

This company offers a tour that is specifically designed for kids and another that is shorter and less expensive than their other options.

Get Out Onto The Water

There are a lot of bodies of water within a 45 minutes drive of Hocking Hills, including Lake Logan, Lake Hope, Dow Lake, and the Hocking River. You can choose from a wide range of things to do at any of these locations.

The Hocking River

Adventure Pro River Trips is located in Nelsonville, Ohio. They offer kayak, canoe, and tube trips along the Hocking River. Any of these can partake in the three mile tour, however only kayakers and canoes can travel further to complete their six and eight mile routes. Adventure Pro River Trips provides boat and tube rentals or transport for your own equipment. All activities are unguided.

Hocking Hills Adventures is located right in Logan, Ohio. With the same equipment availability as Adventure Pro, their trips are on the shorter side topping out at 2-3 miles long. Both places have comparable rental prices per boat and/or tube however since trips through Adventure Pro are longer, we think they are a slightly better deal. Hocking Hills Adventures, however, may be more appealing to a family with younger children given the shorter distance!

Lake Logan is a 400 acre lake located just south of the town of Logan and surrounded by Lake Logan State Park. Activities include swimming, boating, and fishing. During the fall and winter, there are hunting opportunities as well as ice skating and ice fishing as the weather allows.

You can rent boats (canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, pontoon boats, and pedal boats) from the Lake Logan Marina or bring your own. Boats up to 10 horsepower are allowed on the lake. You will often see people paddling and sailing too!

On the northern shore of Lake Logan there is a large public beach where swimming is permitted.

  • Website: https://www.lakeloganmarina.com/
  • Address: 30443 Lake Logan Rd, Logan, OH 43138

The Boathouse at Strouds Run sits just east of Athens, Ohio on Dow Lake. This long, branching lake is a 45 minute drive from Hocking Hills. The Boathouse is open for rentals from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Feed Hummingbirds

A really unique, and free, thing to do near Hocking Hills is to attend the Hungry Hummers program at Lake Hope State Park. During the summer, the state park’s nature center hosts a two hour experience during which you will learn about the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and get the chance to hand feed.

A small hummingbird

Hungry Hummers is open to the public Thursdays-Sundays from 1pm-3pm. All ages are welcome, however, the experience is best for everyone, including the hummingbirds, if kids are of an age to be able to sit still.

Learn about their habitat and how to attract them to your home. The nature center also has a number of hanging feeders that attract a number of hummingbirds to enjoy!

  • Address: 27331 State Route 278, McArthur, Ohio 45651

Horseback Riding

A fun, alternative way to see the geography and landscape of this area is on horseback. There are a number of stables around Hocking Hills, all with relatively competitive rates. Spotted Horse Ranch offers a handful of different trail ride options on their 35 miles of privately owned trails. Ride on one of their Appaloosa horses on a one or two hour ride. They also offer group rates and private rates.

Food

After taking part in all of the Hocking Hills activities, I’m sure you’ll be looking for a place to eat. We have two suggestions, both of which are located in Logan, Ohio. The first is a casual Mexican restaurant owned by a woman who grew up in Yucatan, Mexico. Maya Burrito Co is a super casual place that is great for lunch or dinner. They serve burritos, bowls, salads, tacos, and nachos.

Another restaurant to check out is Millstone BBQ. They serve delicious, really hearty southern comfort BBQ and smoke their meats on site.

Lodging

Two unique lodging options within Hocking Hills are the Inn & Spa At Cedar Falls and Hocking Hills Treehouse Cabins. The first option offers a ton of different vacation rental options including yurts, cabins, and geodomes. What is a geodome you may ask (I didn’t know either!)? It’s a spherical structure with a cozy interior and a large viewing window that allows you to take in the sights from your bed!

The different rentals are scattered throughout the area in and around Hocking Hills. Their spa is centrally located and offers massages, facials, mud wraps, cupping, and more.

Hocking Hills Treehouse Cabins offers four different charming wood treehouse cabins that are nestled into a secluded fifteen acre property. Each treehouse is unique and comes with a kitchen and cooking items, a full bath, and a wood burning hot tub on an elevated balcony. Another plus is that these treehouses are pet friendly! It is honestly a perfect getaway!

Wrapping Up

Most people associate Hocking Hills with hiking however there is so much more to do. There are so many outdoor activities, animal encounters, and water fun to be had. If you want to relax, well there are plenty of options too.

We hope you enjoyed this list of things to do in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Now get out there and have some fun!

Don't Miss

Old structure in a ghost town near Las Vegas

16 Ghost Towns Near Las Vegas: Exploring Deserted Gems

Nevada’s landscape is peppered with echoes of the Wild West,
One of the best travel trailers under 3,500 lbs

11 Best Travel Trailers & Campers Under 3,500 lbs

If you don’t have a large tow vehicle or simply