It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Hocking Hills around here.
Columbus has some truly incredible parks and pieces of nature, but within a short drive, you can be transported to a wild wonderland.
The area that makes up Hocking Hills State Park was first protected back in 1910, and Ohioans and visitors have been enjoying the beauty and serenity of the place ever since. Whether it is your first visit or you’ve been going for years, planning a trip to Hocking Hills can be a little overwhelming.
There’s so much to do and see that even a weekend trip can leave you feeling like you didn’t get to see everything that the area has to offer. But with a little planning, you can have an incredible visit that will leave you counting down the days until you return. Let’s dive in!
Quick Facts About Hocking Hills?
Nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Hocking Hills State Park is the centerpiece of this beautiful region. The park features towering cliffs, waterfalls, and hemlock-shaded gorges that are perfect for a hike in every season.
Hocking Hills State Park consists of six separate areas encompassing an impressive 2,000 acres. There’s an additional nearly 10,000 acres of state forest that surround the park.
The park is open year-round to visitors, from dawn to dusk, and there are frequent events held at the park like special hikes and seasonal events. There’s so much to love about this majestic, wild place, so let’s dive in.
Where To Stay in Hocking Hills
Hocking Hills State Park is certainly a doable day trip from Columbus. But if you want the full experience, giving yourself enough time to see all of the sights and enjoy the nature, you’ll probably want to stay overnight.
Hocking Hills Park Lodge
The new lodge at Hocking Hills State Park has been under construction for a while now, but the wait will finally be over beginning November 1, 2022. There will be 81 guest rooms, an indoor and outdoor pool and spa, a restaurant, a cafe, a fitness center, a ballroom, and more. You can learn more or book your stay by visiting hockinghillsparklodge.com.
The campground at Hocking Hills State Park is located right next to Old Man’s Cave. You’ll find full hook-up sites, electric sites, and non-electric sites at the campground. Each site has a paved pad, a fire ring, and a picnic table, plus, pets are allowed.
If you are looking for a more rustic experience, you can take advantage of the park’s hike-in campsites. There are no roads to these campsites, just a 1/2 mile hike with all of your gear.
Cabins & Unique Accomodations
In addition to the cabins that are available to rent through the campground, there are also some amazing private cabins and Airbnbs you can stay at.
Whether you’re looking for a massive lodge-style retreat complete with its own private heated waterfall or a more modern stay at a stunning A-frame, the area really has some incredible accommodations.
READ MORE: The Best Cabins In Hocking Hills
The Best Places To Eat & Drink In Hocking Hills
For an exceptional dining experience, stop by Glenlaurel Inn. The restaurant at the inn offers fine dining, including a six-course Prix-fixe menu. The Scottish inn is cozy, inviting, and romantic.
If you’ve come to the hills to enjoy local libations, you’re in luck. Hocking Hills is home to several wineries and breweries and even a moonshine distillery.
Although there are some great places to eat, the area is fairly rural. Additional dining can be found in the nearby towns of Nelsonville, Logan, and Lancaster.
READ MORE: The Best Hocking Hills Restaurants
Best Things To Do in Hocking Hills
Nature Preserves and State Parks: The main feature of Hocking Hills is the great outdoors. In addition to Hocking Hills State Park, you can also visit Hocking State Forest, Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve, Lake Logan State Park, and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve. Top highlights of Hocking Hills State Park include Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House, and Cedar Falls.
Lakes: Lake Logan, located within Hocking Hills State Park, is two miles long. The lake was built in 1955 for recreational purposes and visitors can enjoy hiking, boating, and swimming.
Boating: Throughout the state park, there are various places where visitors can enjoy canoeing, kayaking and rafting.
Rock Climbing and Rappelling: Within Hocking State Forest, almost 100 acres of forest land have been set aside for rock climbing and repelling.
Air Tours: Get a different view of Hocking Hills as you soar through the sky with Hocking Hills Scenic Air Tours, which offers airplane rides with jaw-dropping visuals.
MORE: Take To The Skies For A Stunning Hocking Hills Fall Adventure
Horseback Riding: Whether you are visiting the park with your own horse, or you’d like to book a horseback riding excursion, there are plenty of trails throughout the park that you can enjoy on horseback.
Train Rides: The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway gives visitors a glimpse into the transportation and industrial history of the Hocking Hills area. It’s a great tour to take when the leaves begin to change, as the area is totally transformed.
MORE: This Train Through Hocking Valley Is The Perfect Way To Experience Fall In Ohio
Canopy Tours: Hocking Hills Canopy Tours is an outdoor zipline tour offering three different rides: a SuperZip, Nightflight, and traditional canopy tour.
Astronomy: One of the most amazing things about Hocking Hills has to be the John Glenn Astronomy Park. Named after Ohio’s own astronaut and US Senator John Glenn, the astronomy park opened back in 2018 and frequently hosts special events. Stargazing is unparalleled there, due to the low light pollution of the region.
Relax: Whether it’s a massage at Glenlaural Inn or an afternoon sweating it out in the sauna.
MORE: These Amazing Sauna Pods Are A Fantastic Way To Relax In Hocking Hills