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Hocking Hills, Ohio is a top destination for outdoor adventures, small town charm and family fun! The area is rife with natural beauty – and there are a multitude of ways to enjoy it. To help fellow travelers discover the best of the region, we have compiled a list of the top things to do in Hocking Hills, Ohio.
With rolling hills and forested lands, Hocking Hills nature is simply spectacular. The best Hocking Hills activities are outdoors. That said, travelers can also seek out the unique attractions and entertaining experiences to enhance their trip to the region.
Hocking Hills Things To Do FAQs
Before we get to what to do in Hocking Hills, we want to cover a few of the frequently asked questions so that you can best plan your time in the region.
Where is Hocking Hills?
The Hocking Hills region is nestled in southeastern Ohio near the town of Logan. Although the area is fairly remote, it is not difficult to access. We share distances and drive times from major cities at the end of the article.
Are there Free Things To Do in Hocking Hills, Ohio?
Yes! In fact, some of the best activities are free things to do at Hocking Hills! Throughout our list, we indicate which activities are free of charge.
Are there Things To Do with Kids in Hocking Hills?
Yes! There are many things to do in Hocking Hills with kids. While our list is not specifically geared towards families, we include heaps of fun family activities.
When is the Best Time to Visit Hocking Hills, Ohio?
Hocking Hills is beautiful any time of year! Determining when the best time to go to Hocking Hills will depend on the activities you want to do.
Summer tends to have the best weather for the activities in Hocking Hills and is the time when most attractions are open. Autumn is our favorite time to visit because the fall foliage is amazing, but not all outdoor activities are possible in autumn.
Wintertime might not seem like a good time to visit, but frozen waterfalls and snow-covered landscapes can be beautiful. In the spring, wildflowers are in bloom and waterfalls are flowing…but trails are muddy and not all attractions are open yet.
How Many Days in Hocking Hills?
It is possible to see many sights and attractions on a day trip to Hocking Hills. However, there are so many things to do in the Hocking Hills region that visitors could easily plan a weekend trip or longer to the region.
We recommend spending at least two full days in the area – but a long 3-day weekend would be even better.
What are the Best Places to Stay in Hocking Hills?
Visitors are spoiled for choice when it comes to where to stay in Hocking Hills. There are luxury cabins, cool treehouse accommodations, rustic camping sites and even hotels in Hocking Hills, Ohio. We highlight our top picks at the end of the blog post.
Where Can I Get a Map of Hocking Hills, OH?
Getting around Hocking Hills can be a bit tricky. Cell reception can be dicey and not all country roads are well marked (or well lit!). If you plan on spending time in the region, we recommend using an Ohio atlas to find your way.
To help you find your way to our recommended Hocking Hills attractions, we have included a map of Hocking Hills region at the end of the blog post.
25 THINGS TO DO IN HOCKING HILLS
Now that we have covered the basics, it’s time to dive into our list of the best Hocking Hills, Ohio things to do! We include top attractions that will appeal to a range of visitors.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Hocking Hills blog post so that you can easily plan your trip to Ohio!
#1 Hike in Hocking Hills
One of the top attractions in Hocking Hills is Hocking Hills State Park – and it is completely free! The park features more than 25 miles of hiking trails that traverse the most stunningly beautiful landscapes in the region.
Trails range from short and easy walks through the woods to strenuously difficult hikes that require trekkers scamper over rocks and up steep inclines.
Because hiking ranks as one of the absolute best Hocking Hills State Park things to do, we have written a dedicated article – Hiking Hocking Hills, Ohio – that details everything you need to know!
#2 Join Ranger-Led Activities
Another one of the free and fun things to do at Hocking Hills State Park is to join one of the park rangers for an outdoor activity. Ranger-led programs range from guided hikes to naturalist chats. Find upcoming Hocking Hills State Park activities on the official park calendar.
#3 Zipline Through the Forest
Ziplining through the forest is one of the most popular Hocking Hills attractions. The best zipline in Hocking Hills is Canopy Tours. Offering a world-class ziplining adventure, Canopy Tours in Hocking Hills, Ohio offers an exhilarating experience on state-of-the-art challenge courses. Book your adventure with Canopy Tours Hocking Hills.
#4 Paddle Down the River
Spending a day paddling down the Hocking River is one of the best things to do in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Visitors have the opportunity to go canoeing, kayaking, rafting and tubing.
Canoeing Hocking Hills, Ohio
Canoeing in Hocking Hills, Ohio is a fantastic outdoor adventure. Hocking Hills canoe options range in length – but most trips are half-day adventures on the water.
Kayaking Hocking Hills, Ohio
Kayaking in Hocking Hills, Ohio is another fun way to get out on the water for a half day of fun! Paddlers can opt for a single or tandem kayak for navigating the river.
For larger groups and families that want to paddle together, rafting is the best option. While the Hocking River does not have whitewater rapids, rafting down the river can still be a fun adventure.
Forget paddling and let the river carry you downstream while floating in a tube! Tubing in Hocking Hills will take longer than paddling, but it can be a lot more relaxing, too.
Book in Advance
Hocking Hills Adventures offers numerous river trips for tubing, rafting, kayaking and canoeing at Hocking Hills – including a unique moonlit tour. Because of the popularity of river trips, you will want to book your adventure in advance online!
#5 Climb on the Rocks
Top characteristics of Hocking Hills are the sheer cliff walls and unique rock formations. With these natural wonders, rock climbing has become one of the top Hocking Hills, Ohio things to do!
While rock climbing within Hocking Hills State Park is off limits (and getting caught will land you a hefty fine), there are 99 acres of land in Hocking Hills State Forest that is designated a rappelling and climbing area.
Visitors can also book a tour with High Rock Adventures for rappelling, climbing, rock challenges and eco tours with professional guides.
#6 Saddle Up for Horseback Riding Hocking Hills
Horseback riding in Hocking Hills is a great way to experience the beauty of the area in a supremely unique way. Several regional ranches provide guided trail tours, all-day cookout adventures and the opportunity to care for the horses.
#7 Pedal around Hocking Hills
Mountain biking is one of the fun things to do in Hocking Hills for cycling enthusiasts. Bicyclists can hop on one of the dedicated trails for biking in Hocking Hills to discover the region on two wheels.
In Hocking Hills State Park, there are two looping mountain biking trails. Both trails are two miles, with one rated moderate and the other classified as difficult. Find more info on the MTB Project website.
Regionally, mountain bikers will also find trails at Lake Hope State Park, at Tar Hollow State Park and in Athens on the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway.
#8 Go Fishing at Hocking Hills
With an abundance of rivers and lakes, fishing is definitely one of the fun things to do in Hocking Hills, OH. Anglers can cast a line in the Hocking River or one of the area lakes – like Lake Logan, Rose Lake or Lake Hope.
A fishing license is required to fish in Hocking Hills rivers and lakes; you can get one online at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website.
Travelers without their own gear can book a fishing trip in Hocking Hills with Ohio Belly Boat Fishing.
#9 Gaze Up at the Night Sky at the John Glenn Astronomy Park
One of the cool things to do in Hocking Hills State Park at night is to go star gazing. While there are many places to sit back and enjoy the night sky, the John Glenn Astronomy Park offers informational programs and telescopes for viewing.
The Astronomy Park is void of light pollution, making it possible to see stars, constellations and planets on clear nights. During the daytime, visitors can look at the sun through telescopes with special filters.
There is no charge to go to the astronomy park or participate in the programs; it’s one of the free things to do in Hocking Hills!
#10 Drive the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway
The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway – formally State Route 374 – is a fabulous driving route through Hocking Hills State Park that passes by the area’s top hiking trail attractions and historic sights.
The 21-mile road extends south from Route 33 to Ohio State Route 56. It traverses some of the most gorgeous landscapes in the region.
Find details and information about the route in this printable PDF.
More Things To Do: Hocking Hills, Ohio
We have highlighted the best outdoor Hocking Hills things to do, but there more area attractions we want to share! These are great things to do in Hocking Hills if it rains or if you need a day of rest from outdoor activities.
#11 Seek Out Haunted Hocking Hills, Ohio
Fans of paranormal activity and creepy ghost stories can delve into the spookier side of Hocking Hills by seeking out the area’s most haunted places.
The book Haunted Hocking Hills explains the folklore, legends and ghosts of the region. Families with children can opt for the kids’ version of the book that is a little less scary and includes activities, too.
#12 Shopping in Hocking Hills
One of the fabulous things about the Hocking Hills region is that there are an array of incredible local products, handmade goods and treasured antiques.
Go shopping at the locally owned stores on Main Street in Logan or antiquing at Hocking Hills Market in Rockbridge. Both destinations feature a treasure trove of interesting finds.
For a classic country store experience, stop by Grandma Faye’s – it’s one of the best things to do at Hocking Hills for souvenirs, sandwiches, fudge and camping supplies.
#13 Get a Spa Treatment at Cedar Falls
If your trip to Hocking Hills is for a little rest and relaxation, then consider getting a rejuvenating spa treatment at the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls.
The boutique spa, which is situated in splendid nature, offers luxurious spa treatments. Get a Pawpaw Facial (a local seasonal fruit) or – if you are looking for romantic things to do in Hocking Hills, OH – get the Couples’ Massage.
#14 Visit Museums in Hocking Hills
For stuff to do in Hocking Hills that is both interesting and educational, go to one of the area museums.
Pencil Sharpener Museum
A personal collection of more than 3,400 pencil sharpeners, the tiny Pencil Sharpener Museum is quirky, nostalgic and fun! Plus, it is one of the things to do in Hocking Hills in winter because it is open year-round (and it’s free!).
Ohio Glass Museum
Visiting the Ohio Glass Museum is one of the cool things to do in the Hocking Hills area. In addition to the glassworks exhibits, visitors can watch a glassblower create works of art on site.
Columbus Washboard Factory
Manufacturing quality washboards since 1895, the Columbus Washboard Company operates in a historic brick building. They offer factory tours showcasing the tools used to make the washboards.
Hocking Hills Historical Society and Museum Complex
Open on weekends from spring until autumn, the Hocking Hills Historical Society is comprised of a complex of buildings dedicated to sharing local history.
#15 Pan for Gold at the Hocking Hills Gem Mine
Looking for unique things to do in Hocking Hills? Look no further than the Gem Mine! Part of the Hocking Hills KOA Campground, the Gem Mine and Gold Rush attraction can provide hours of fun.
Grab a bucket and search for gemstones, arrowheads and even shark teeth – or take it up a notch and try the Gold Panning Experience. Gem mining in Hocking Hills is available daily from April until September. Check the website for pricing details.
#16 Spend an Afternoon at the Petting Zoo
The petting zoo at Fox’s High Rock Farm is one of the kid-favorite Hocking Hills family activities. Visitors can play with the pigs, pet the goats and help feed the farm animals.
There is a small fee for the petting zoo and feedings, but it is incredibly affordable – and a fun activity to include on a budget trip.
#17 Play Putt Putt at Rempel’s Grove
Another one of the fun things to do around Hocking Hills for families, playing Putt Putt Golf at Rempel’s Grove is fun for kids and adults, alike!
Somewhat challenging, the putt putt golf course in Hocking Hills is an 18-hole course that features a waterfall, cave and flowers. Additionally, there is an on-site ice cream shop and small petting zoo.
#18 Sip and Swirl at the Hocking Hills Winery
Sipping and swirling locally produced wine is one of the fun things to do at Hocking Hills, OH. The family-run Hocking Hills Winery has created a casual space that is ideal for gathering, tasting and enjoying.
Whether sampling the wine, buying a bottle or savoring a wine slushie, visitors are invited to get comfortable while listening to live music and reveling in the atmosphere. Guests can nosh on charcuterie boards, order from nearby local restaurants or bring their own food. Get more details on their website.
#19 Hop Aboard a Train
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville is one of the cool things to do near Hocking Hills, Ohio. The railroad was built in the mid-1800s to connect the region to the capital city of Columbus.
Today, visitors can hop aboard the historic trains for a scenic 2-hour ride. In addition to the regularly scheduled rides, Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers special holiday events and on-board dinner rides, too. Find out more!
#20 Walk through the Moonville Tunnel
Located in the Zaleski State Forest, Moonville Tunnel is one of the intriguing attractions near Hocking Hills. The Moonville Tunnel, which is said to be haunted, was built in the mid-1800s to accommodate a railroad line.
Because trains no longer traverse the route, the railroad tracks have been transformed into a walking path. The multiuse Moonville Tunnel Rail Trail extends 16 miles in total, but many hikers walk a 1-mile out-and-back section through the tunnel.
#21 Spend Time at Lake Hope State Park
Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts should plan to spend time at Lake Hope State Park – it’s one of the top things to do around Hocking Hills State Park!
Lake Hope State Park is more rustic (and tends to be less crowded) than Hocking Hills State Park. The park is situated on land once used for mining and industry – and some remnants of the past remain (like the historic Hope Blast Furnace).
Water activities on Lake Hope are a big summertime draw, but hiking and biking trails, fishing, hunting and camping are other top reasons to check out the park.
#22 Take in the Panoramic Views from Jacob’s Ladder
Within the Christmas Rocks State Nature Preserve is a fabulous rock formation – called Jacob’s Ladder – and hiking to the top of it is one of the best things to do in Hocking Hills area. The 4.5-mile looping hike is a moderate trek, but worth it for the views.
The park is also popular with birdwatchers and plant lovers – as there are a few unique and endangered plant species within the park.
#23 Explore the Campus at Ohio University in Athens
Tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in Athens, Ohio University boasts the most beautiful college campus in all of Ohio. Marked with historic red brick buildings and cobblestone streets, the gorgeous campus is centered on the idyllic College Green.
Visiting the college is one of the top things to do near Hocking Hills State Park. Top attractions in Athens include walking around campus, The Ridges (and Kennedy Art Museum) and Uptown (where you can watch a movie at the historic Athena Cinema, eat a meal at Casa Nueva or have a fresh craft beer at Jackie O’s).
#24 Step Back in Time in Chillicothe, Ohio
Another one of the things to do near Hocking Hills is to visit the historic City of Chillicothe. The first capital of the State of Ohio, Chillicothe is shrouded in history.
To reasons to visit Chillicothe are the Adena Mansion, the Native American earthworks and the antique shops in downtown Chillicothe. Read our post on all the Best Things To Do in Chillicothe to prepare for your visit!
#25 Partake in the Events in Hocking Hills
There are community activities in Hocking Hills throughout the year – and visitors can plan their trip around the fun events! We are highlighting just a few of the top Hocking Hills events that you might want to attend.
Maple Tapping Festival
Learn about maple tapping…and then taste the sweet product! The Maple Tapping Festival takes place in March…and there are always plenty of pancakes!
Hippie Fest Hocking Hills
The groovy Hippie Fest is an annual event in Hocking Hills that takes place over a weekend in the summertime. In addition to local vendors and artists, the festival includes live music and a car show (where there are certain to be vintage VWs!).
Indian Run Hocking Hills
The Hocking Hills Indian Run in the autumn is one of the top activities at Hocking Hills. Participants can sign up for different length runs. The racecourse takes runners on trails through Hocking Hills State Park.
Christmas in Ash Cave
In December, stroll to Ash Cave by candlelight and then enjoy carolers and merriment by a bonfire. Guests can help decorate trees and kids can visit with Santa.
Top Tips for Your Trip to Hocking Hills
Now that you know all of the best things to do around Hocking Hills, let’s chat about the details – such as how to get there, where to stay, what to eat and things to pack.
How To Get There: Directions to Hocking Hills State Park
Getting to Hocking Hills is fairly easy from the major nearby cities. To help answer the question, “How far is Hocking Hills from me?”, we highlight the distance and drive time from the nearby cities to Hocking Hills State Park.
Columbus to Hocking Hills: The best route to get from Columbus, Ohio to Hocking Hills is Route 33. The distance is about 60 miles and will take a little more than an hour.
Cincinnati to Hocking Hills: The distance to Hocking Hills, Ohio from Cincinnati is about 135 miles and it takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to make the drive.
Cleveland to Hocking Hills: Cleveland is about 200 miles from Hocking Hills and the drive takes about 3 hours.
Athens, Ohio to Hocking Hills: The best route from Athens to Hocking Hills State Park is via Route 56. The 30-mile drive takes about 40 minutes.
Chillicothe to Hocking Hills: Chillicothe is about 35 miles from Hocking Hills and the drive takes about 45 minutes.
Indianapolis to Hocking Hills: Visitors coming from Indianapolis, Indiana have a 230-mile drive that will take close to 3.5 hours to complete.
Pittsburgh to Hocking Hills: It is 190 miles from Pittsburgh to Hocking Hills and the drive takes about 3.5 hours.
Use this link to Google Maps for directions to Hocking Hills, Ohio from your location!
Where to Stay in Hocking Hills
There are so many fantastic things to do at Hocking Hills that we recommend staying a few days! Visitors have ample choices in lodging at Hocking Hills. We are highlighting a few of the top choices for places to stay in the region.
Camping at Hocking Hills
Campers with a tent can choose from several area campgrounds – including both state campgrounds and privately owned land.
The Altenbrauch Farm, which is both primitive and peaceful, gets great reviews from campers. Check rates and availability for your trip!
Cabin Rentals Hocking Hills
Staying in one of the cabins in Hocking Hills, Ohio is a superb way to experience the region. Visitors will find that there are numerous cabins for rent in Hocking Hills – but they fill up quickly in the summer and autumn, so it is best to book ahead.
Pine Creek Horseman’s Camp Hocking Hills Cabins are luxury cabins that are equipped with modern conveniences and hot tubs. Check availability and rates for your trip!
Treehouses in Hocking Hills
Travelers seeking unique accommodations in Hocking Hills can opt to stay in a luxury treehouse! While not a budget option, staying in the treetops can be a fun experience. Check out these Treehouses.
Hocking Hills Hotels
Visitors who want to stay in a hotel in Hocking Hills have several options. There are several hotels located in Logan, Ohio on Route 33. Check for availability on Booking.com.
That said, there is a boutique hotel in Hocking Hills State Park, The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls. The hotel offers both cozy cottages and comfortable yurts. Additionally, they have an on-site restaurant and spa. Check for availability!
The Best Places to Eat in Hocking Hills
On your trip to Hocking Hills you will surely need some sustenance – and there are numerous Hocking Hills restaurants where you can get your fill.
Dining in Hocking Hills State Park
There are only a few restaurants in Hocking Hills State Park where you can grab a bite to eat between hikes or after you hit the trails.
Grandma Faye’s Grocery
A charming grocery, Grandma Faye’s is a great place to stop for deli sandwiches. You can also pick up necessities for cooking over a campfire (or on a charcoal grill) – which we think is one of the rustic, fun things to do in Hocking Hills, Ohio.
A meal at Kindred Spirits is an experience in fine dining in Hocking Hills. The restaurant is part of the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls and they excel at serving exceptional fare in a quaint ambiance. Reservations are recommended!
Eating at Restaurants in Logan, Ohio
Visitors will find many more Hocking Hills dining options in Logan – and we are highlighting a few of the top picks!
Milestone Southern Smoked BBQ
Featuring deliciously smoked meats that are slow cooked for 15+ hours, Milestone is a favorite local spot for spot-on barbecue.
Olde Dutch specializes in homestyle fare served a la carte and at the all-you-can-eat buffet – just be sure to save room for pie!
Guests at Hungry Buffalo can order classic American eats – like a bison burger, cheese curds and fried pickles – and then throw axes after the meal.
Hailed by many as The Best Pizza in Town, Pizza Crossing offers a menu of pizza, pasta, salad and subs.
What You Will Need for Your Trip to Hocking Hills
Comfortable Trail Shoes
Hiking through the lush forests and pristine nature ranks as one of the best things to do in Hocking Hills region (so be sure to read our Hocking Hills Hiking article!). When you hit the trails, you need proper footwear!
The Hocking Hills region is stunningly beautiful! Rather than trying to capture the beauty of it with your phone, upgrade to a real camera that will take excellent photos. We use a budget travel camera – a Canon Rebel with an 18-135mm lens for our trips.
Day Pack for Hiking Hocking Hills
Don’t forget to take a day pack on your Hocking Hills trip! We like to use a lightweight backpack to carry our daytime essentials. A backpack is comfortable for hiking and easy to tote around. Read more of our tips in our blog post, The Best Day Pack for Travelers.
Hocking Hills Attractions Map
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Map of Hocking Hills.
We Want To Know: What are your favorite things to do in Hocking Hills? Give us your best tips and advice in the comments!
More Top Destinations to Visit
We love traveling to beautiful places in the United States and overseas – and we have several travel guides to help fellow travelers plan their trips.
Growing up in Ohio, I know some of the best places to go for outstanding nature and cool cities.
- Find out what to see in Yellow Springs, Ohio and Mohican State Park
- Get our tips for things to do in Louisville, KY (including the best Craft Beer in Louisville!)
- Check out Sights in Covington, KY (and Newport, KY, too!)
- We also have you covered for what to do in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Cincinnati
More Places to Hike in the USA
We have always loved hiking – and we have guides to places to hike across the USA!
- Get the details for the Best Hikes in Columbus, OH
- Learn about Hiking in Phoenix, AZ
- Read our tips on Hiking Glacier National Park as well as our complete guide to Montana!
- Use our guide to the Columbia River Gorge near Portland, Oregon as well as our Top Oregon Coast Hikes
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