Hiking Hocking Hills, Ohio Best Trails and Top Tips

Hiking Hocking Hills, Ohio: Best Trails and Top Tips

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Characterized by deep gorges, streaming waterfalls, sheer cliff walls and gorgeous rock formations, Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio is truly a gem. Hiking Hocking Hills is the absolute best way to explore the astounding natural beauty of the region – and we are highlighting the top Hocking Hills State Park trails so that you can easily plan your visit.


Hiking in Hocking Hills FAQs

Before we get to the best hiking in Hocking Hills, Ohio, we want to cover a few of the frequently asked questions. If it is your first time to Hocking Hills, these FAQs will have you ready to set out on the trails when you arrive!


What is the Best Way to Explore Hocking Hills?

The marked hiking trails in Hocking Hills are the top way to explore the park. The best Hocking Hills hikes weave through the forested land to the most beautiful sights and vantage points. Walking on the paths (and it is important to stay on the paths) allows visitors to move at their own pace and experience the amazing nature at their leisure.

That said, there are other outdoor adventures – like canoeing, kayaking, ziplining and horseback riding – for visitors to explore Hocking State Forest and the region!


How Difficult are the Hiking Trails in Hocking Hills, Ohio?

The Hocking Hills hiking trails range in difficulty level from easy to strenuous. Some trails are short, paved paths, while others require steep climbs and scrambling over boulders.

On our list of the best Hocking Hills trails, we note the level of difficulty for each trek. However, anyone hiking the trails in Hocking Hills should be aware of their own personal trekking limits. 


Will Kids Enjoy Hocking Hills State Park Hiking?

Kids can most certainly have fun on the hiking trails! Hocking Hills is a very family-friendly park with trails for explorers of all ages.

When I was a kid, I loved hiking the trails at Hocking Hills. My childhood experiences of hiking in Ohio – at Hocking Hills, all around metro Columbus as well as Mohican State Park – are what spurred my love for hiking as an adult.

One note of caution: Many of the Hocking Hills best trails are elevated rim trails. The rim trails typically traverse the top of cliffs where, at some points, there are steep drops into the gorge below with no barriers.

Parents hiking with kids at Hocking Hills (or anyone for that matter) should always be aware of their surroundings and use their best judgement for which trails are appropriate for their kids.


Can I Bring My Dog on Hocking Hills Trails?

Yes! There are several Hocking Hills dog-friendly trails where you can take your furry friend along. The exceptions are hikes at nature preserves, where dogs are not permitted. On our list, we note which hikes are not Hocking Hills pet-friendly trails – all others you can feel free to bring your dog with you.

That said, on the dog-friendly trails in Hocking Hills, dogs need to be kept on a leash at all times and owners must pick up after their pups, too – so be sure to bring baggies (and take them with you!).


Are There Caves at Hocking Hills?

Yes, there are a few caves in the park that visitors are free to explore. Most of the caves in Hocking Hills are recess caves – which is a rock overhang that creates shelter. However, one of the best hiking trails in Hocking Hills leads to an actual cave – which we detail on our Best Hikes Hocking Hills list. 


Is There a Hocking Hills Waterfall Trail?

Yes! There are numerous Hocking Hills State Park waterfalls – and many trails lead to them. How much water is flowing will depend on the season and recent rainfall. We highlight on our list which of the Hocking Hill Trails have waterfalls.


Can I Swim at the Waterfalls and in the Streams?

No. While many of the best hikes at Hocking Hills pass by cool streams, tumbling waterfalls and tempting pools, stay on dry land. Swimming and wading into the water at Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio is not permitted.


Does Hocking Hills have the Best Hiking Trails Ohio? 

We think that Hocking Hills offers the best hiking trails in Ohio. With elevation changes and superb scenery, hiking in Hocking Hills State Park is unsurpassed in the Buckeye State.


More Ohio Trails for Hiking

While Hocking Hills hiking ranks supreme, there are other places for Ohio hiking. Mohican State Park offers a few excellent trails, along with fun water activities and several important points of interest.

We love hitting the trails in the Parks in Columbus – and even smaller towns, like Yellow Springs, offer opportunities for trekking. The Ohio’s only national park, Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland, offers more than 100 miles of trails (but we prefer the hikes at Hocking Hills SP). 

The Ohio-to-Erie Trail, which extends from Cincinnati to Cleveland, is a 320 mile multi use trail. It is one of the fun and challenging Ohio treks to complete, but we think the Hocking Hills trails are more picturesque.


What are the Hours and Admission to the Park?

The Hocking Hills State Park Hiking Trails are open 365 days a year from dawn until dusk. Visitors are not permitted in the park after dark. All trails are for Hocking Hills day hikes only. 

There is no fee to enter Hocking Hills State Park Ohio – it is absolutely free! There is also no charge for hiking any of the trails, using the toilets or parking.


When is the Best Time of Year for Hocking Hills Hiking?

The best time to visit Hocking Hills is now! The Hocking Hills best hikes are beautiful in their own way during every season. I have been fortunate to have visited in all seasons – and there are pros and cons to each.



Summertime is the most popular season for visiting the park. The trails are shaded by the towering trees, the paths are usually dry and the waterfalls are likely still flowing. On the other hand, crowds tend to be thick – so it can be difficult to find solitude on the treks.



Personally, we like autumn for Hocking Hills, Ohio hiking the best. The temperature is most suitable for long hikes and the fall leaves add stunning color to the landscape. However, after a long summer, many of the waterfalls are merely a trickle…or dry altogether.



Wintertime is an unexpectedly wonderful time to go to HHSP. Although hikers will need to be properly equipped, trekking to frozen waterfalls are a highlight of taking a Hocking Hills winter hike. Fewer people and cheaper accommodations are other top reasons for a Hocking Hills State Park winter visit. Want company for your trek? Join the annual Old Man’s Cave Winter Hike in January!



Hikers chasing waterfalls will find that the spring is the best time of year to visit. Keep in mind, however, that the Hocking Hills walking trails will likely be muddy, and some trails may require stream crossings without a bridge. Wet paths can elevate the Hocking Hills trail difficulty – and waterproof hiking boots are essential in springtime!


How Should I Plan to Hike the Best Trails at Hocking Hills?

Trails on the best Hikes, Hocking Hills, Ohio, USA

Hocking Hills State Park is comprised of seven distinct hiking areas (which we will outline in detail) and miles and miles of hiking trails.

In order to make the most of your time, we recommend planning ahead which hikes you intend to take. That said, limited parking and spontaneous adventuring can change your plans quickly, so it is best to be flexible.

On a day trip to Hocking Hills, visitors can easily hike several trails and see a variety of sights – although we think it is worth extending the trip to a couple of days or a long weekend. There are ample options for overnight accommodations and we offer a few suggestions at the end of this article.

To help you plan your trip, we have also included a helpful Hocking Hills Itinerary that focuses on hiking. In our recommended trip plan, we share the best way to hike Hocking Hills in one or two days. 


Where Can I Get a Map of Hocking Hills, OH Trails?

Visitor Center, Hocking Hills, Ohio

Thankfully, most Hocking Hills, Ohio hiking trails are well-marked and easy to follow. However, it is always a good idea to have a Hocking Hills hiking trails map for your walk through the woods.

A free Hocking Hills Park Map is available at the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center in Logan, Ohio and the Old Man’s Cave Visitors Center. The Hocking Hills Visitor Center is also a great place to get up to date information about trail conditions, park ranger advice and to learn about sponsored events. 

Additionally, we have provided a link to a Hocking Hills Trail Map for each hiking area.


What Do I Need for Hiking Hocking Hills, Ohio?

Before setting off on your trek, you need to be prepared with a few essentials for your hikes in Hocking Hills. Although the trails range in difficulty level, we recommend the following items for all of the best hikes in Hocking Hills State Park. 


Walking Shoes for the Best Trails Hocking Hills

Comfortable walking shoes are a necessity! On our recent hiking trip, I wore my lightweight sneakers and Kris wore his Merrell Trail Glove shoes, both of which worked great for the best places to hike in Hocking Hills (and are great travel shoes in general!).

Trekkers taking longer hikes – or battling wet trails – may need a better hiking shoe, like this Columbia Hiking Boot for women.


Drinking Water for Hikes in Hocking Hills, OH

Bring plenty of water on the trails! There are limited places to refill water bottles, so we recommend bringing enough drinking water for all of the hikes you plan on taking in one day.

When hiking, we like to bring our water in refillable Kleen Kanteens. If you are bringing your dog on the hikes, remember to take extra water and a bowl.


Hiking Trails Hocking Hills Snacks (or a Picnic)

Be sure to bring along some trail fuel for the best hiking trails in Hocking Hill Ohio! Granola bars, trail mix and apples are our go-to snacks for trail walking. Just be sure to pack out whatever you pack in – and that includes apple cores and orange peels.

For a longer day of hiking, it’s a good idea to pack a picnic lunch – as there are very few restaurants near the trails. If you made a last minute decision to visit the park and didn’t pack anything ahead of time, Grandma Faye’s is a good place to pick up supplies. MAP.

We also recommend bringing along hand sanitizer if you plan on eating on the trails. There is no running water at the vault toilets and there are several high-touch areas (like railings) along the hikes.


Hiking Poles for Hocking Hills Ohio Trails

While hiking poles are not necessary, they certainly making hiking at Hocking Hills easier! With steep inclines and root- and rock-laden paths, having a pair of hiking poles can help steady you on your trek. We recommend collapsible hiking poles that you can stow in your backpack when you are not using them on the trail.



The hiking trails in Hocking Hills State Park lead to incredible vistas, tumbling waterfalls and gigantic caves. Bring binoculars with you on your trek to better see all the details!


Travel Camera

Hocking Hills State Park is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ohio…and if you are anything like us, you will be snapping tons of photos during your hikes!

Rather than using our phones, we use a real camera to fully capture all that beauty. For all our travels, we use a budget DSLR travel camera – the Canon Rebel with an everyday 18-135mm lens. Still not sure which camera is right for you? Read all of our Top Reasons to Buy a Travel Camera.


Day Pack for Best Trails Hocking Hills

A convenient day bag is essential for Hocking Hills hikes. We like to wear lightweight backpacks, where we can carry our water bottles, camera, binoculars, car keys, Hocking Hills hiking map and other everyday travel items.

For all-day treks – like when we were hiking in Glacier National Park – I also wore a fanny pack, which kept everything at my fingertips (with no need to take off my entire backpack every time I needed something). Read all our advice in this article on The Best Day Bags for Travel.


Hiking Hocking Hills: 7 Best Trails in Hocking Hills, Ohio

Now that we have covered what you need to know to hike at Hocking, it’s time to lace up your shoes and hit the trails! For each hiking area, we highlight the best trails, top sights and pertinent information – like trail length, a link to Hocking Hills map and on-site facilities.

Save, Pin or Bookmark our Hocking Hills Hiking Guide so that you can use it to plan your Vacation to Ohio!



#1 Old Man’s Cave Hocking Hills

View of Old Man's Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Old Man’s Cave Map: Directions to Parking
  • Old Man’s Cave Trail Map Hocking Hills: Trails
  • Loop Trail Distance: 1.5 miles
  • Loop Trail Time: 1-1.5 hours
  • Loop Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate with some stairs and incline
  • Bathrooms: Flush toilets at Visitor’s Center

Regarded as one of the best hikes in Hocking Hills, the trail to Old Man’s Cave is a must-do!

Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills is a massive recess cave that was named for a hermit that lived in the cave in the late 1700s. The Old Man’s Cave trail can be completed in a loop or included as part of a longer trek.


The Best Old Man’s Cave Hiking Route

View of Hocking Hills Upper Falls, Ohio, USA

Begin the Old Man’s Cave Loop Trail hike at Hocking Hills Upper Falls – one of the most photographed waterfalls in Hocking Hills. The small cascade streams over a rock ledge under a picturesque bridge into a pool of water.

From the falls, follow the Blue trail (also called the Gorge Trail, but formally called Grandma Gateway Trail). Hikers cross a stone bridge over Devil’s Bathtub – a swirling waterfall that churns into a rock basin.

The trail continues through a rock tunnel to the namesake Old Man’s Cave – a Hocking Hills must-see sight. However, before crossing over to explore the cave, continue on the trail to the Lower Falls. Cross over the arched bridge and complete the loop. Stay on the lower trail to go through Old Man’s Cave (instead of on top of it), where you can explore before heading back toward the parking lot and Hocking Hills Visitor Center.


Optional Spur Trail to Broken Rock Falls

At the Lower Falls, energetic hikers can complete the spur trail to Broken Rock Falls, a moderately strenuous hike (due to the 90-plus stairs required to reach it!). The tumbling waterfalls flows through a crevice of broken rocks.



#2 Hemlock Bridge and Whispering Cave

View from inside Whispering Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Map of Hocking Hills State Park Whispering Cave: Directions to Parking
  • Whispering Cave Trail Map: Trails
  • Loop Trail Distance: 5 miles
  • Loop Trail Time: 2.5-3 hours
  • Loop Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Bathrooms: Flush toilets at Visitor’s Center

Much less crowded than Old Man’s Cave, Whispering Cave is a 300-foot-wide recess cave that features a trickling 100-foot-long waterfall over the top of the rock cave.

From the inside of the cave looking out, hikers have a fantastic view of the valley and can visibly see how the water has carved the landscape.


The Whispering Cave Trail Route

View of the Hemlock Bridge, Hocking Hills, Ohio, USA

The Whispering Cave loop trail begins at the Upper Falls – just as the Old Man’s Cave Loop does. Trekkers follow the Blue trail (also called the Gorge Trail or Grandma Gateway Trail) past the Old Man’s Cave and the Lower Falls.

Continue following the trail along Old Man’s Creek to Hemlock Bridge. Cross the swinging rope bridge (which will test your balance) over Old Man’s Creek. Hike through the forest and up a gradual incline (taking note of the honeycomb rock formations) to a sheer cliff rock wall. Follow the trail to the left and around a bend to the Whispering Cave.

To complete the loop, trekkers need to backtrack to the cliff wall – and then continue straight on the trail that leads back to the Visitor Center. 



#3 Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills

View of Cedar Falls, Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Cedar Falls Hocking Hills State Park Map: Directions to Parking
  • Cedar Falls Hocking Hills State Park Trail Map: Trails
  • Loop Trail Distance: 0.5 mile
  • Loop Trail Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Loop Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate with stairs
  • Bathrooms: Flush Toilets at the parking lot

Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills is one of the best areas to explore in the park. The misnamed waterfall (the trees surrounding it are hemlock, not cedar), is the largest waterfall in Hocking Hills by volume.

The waters of Queer Creek have beautifully carved the black hand sandstone rock at the falls, creating a split waterfall where the water slides down the rockface in two streams.


Cedar Falls Trail Hocking Hills Route

The half-mile loop trail at Cedar Falls is a short but moderate hike – mostly due to the numerous steps. From the parking lot, visitors descend into the forest and cross over a bridge. At about the halfway point in the hike, trekkers reach Cedar Falls.

We recommend taking the short detour down to the edge of the pool to admire the waterfall before continuing on the path and climbing back up to the parking area.


Optional Longer Hike

What we love about the hiking trails in Hocking Hills is that many of them are interconnected, which provides hikers the opportunity to adventure beyond the main sights. The Cedar Falls trail is well-connected with two other Hocking Hills hikes. From the trail at Cedar Falls, hikers can connect to the Grandma Gatewood Trail and the Gorge Overlook Trail (both of which we describe in detail later).



#4 Ash Cave Hocking Hills Ohio

View looking into Ash Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Map of Hocking HIlls, OH Ash Cave: Directions to Parking
  • Ash Cave Trail Map: Trails
  • Loop Trail Distance: 0.5 mile
  • Loop Trail Time: 30-45 minutes
  • Loop Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate with some stairs
  • Bathrooms: Vault toilets at parking lot

Ash Cave is one of the most popular places to hike in Hocking Hills. An easy walk leads to the 700-feet-wide and 100-feet-deep Ash Cave Gorge. A trickling waterfall streams down over the top ledge of the cave. Near the parking lot, the 80-foot-tall Ash Cave Lookout Tower is open for visitors to climb (when the weather permits). At the top of the historic fire lookout, visitors have incredible 360-degree views of the landscape.


Ash Cave Hiking Trail Loop Route

Walking across Ash Cave, Hocking, Ohio, USA

The Ash Cave Trail begins as a paved ADA accessible route through a gorge surrounded by a forest of hemlock and beech trees. It’s one of the easiest trails in Hocking Hills. The short, flat trail quickly takes visitors past a small recess cave (where there is sometimes a waterfall) to the main sight: Ash Cave.

Spend some time in awe of the gigantic recess cave; there will likely be other hikers around that will help give perspective of the enormity of it.

Continue to the far side of the cave and take the stairs up to the rim trail. Once at the top, it is a gently sloping downhill trail back to the parking area.


BONUS TRAIL: Grandma Gatewood Trail (and Gorge Overlook)

  • Hocking Hills Map for Grandma Gatewood: Directions to Parking
  • Grandma Gatewood Trail Map: Trails
  • One-Way Trail Distance: 6 miles (12 miles round trip)
  • One-Way Trail Time: 2.5-3 hours
  • Loop Trail Difficulty: Moderate
  • Bathrooms: Flush toilets at Old Man’s Cave Visitor’s Center and Cedar Falls; vault toilets at Ash Cave

The Grandma Gatewood Trail is one of the best ways to discover the park on a longer hike. The trail is marked in Blue – but it is also called the Gorge Trail and is part of the longer 1400-mile Buckeye Trail. The trail connects the first four Hocking Hills trails on our list: Old Man’s Cave, Whispering Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. Read more about the legendary Grandma Gatewood.


Grandma Gatewood Trail Hocking Hills Route

View along the Grandma Gatewood Trail, Hocking Hills, Ohio, USA

The Grandma Gatewood hiking trail is an out-and-back trek that begins at Old Man’s Cave and ends at Ash Cave. It is marked on some maps at the Buckeye Trail Hocking Hills Trek. 

Note: This is an out-and-back hike, but hikers in a group with two or more cars can create a one-way 6-mile total trek from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave by parking a car at both trailheads.

From Old Man’s Cave, the trail follows Old Man’s Creek. This is the most heavily trafficked section of the trail. Once the trail turns away at the Hemlock Swinging Bridge (now following Queer Creek toward Cedar Falls), there are fewer crowds and hikers are immersed in astounding beauty.

That said, it is the most rugged part of the hike. It is sometimes unclear where the path is, so be sure to look for the blue marks on trees. Parts of the trail are strenuous and requires climbing over rocks.

Past Cedar Falls, the trail flattens out and is less strenuous the rest of the way to Ash Cave.

On the return trek, hikers can retrace their footsteps from beginning to end – or hop on one of the other trails, like the Whispering Cave return trail or the Gorge Overlook Trail at Cedar Falls.


Optional 6-Mile Grandma Gatewood Trail Loop via Gorge Overlook Trail

Fishing at Rose Lake, Hocking Hills, Ohio

Hikers looking for a shorter, loop trail can connect the Grandma Gatewood Trail to the Gorge Overlook Trail for a looping 6-mile hike. We highly recommend this route as one of the Best of Hocking Hills hikes!

This route starts at Old Man’s Cave and continues to Cedar Falls (which we think is the best part of the Grandma Gatewood trail). At Cedar Falls, jump onto the Hocking Hills Gorge Overlook Trail.

The wide, flat Gorge Overlook Trail leads to Rose Lake (and there are trails along the shoreline if you want to explore more) and crosses Rose Dam. Beyond the lake, the trail follows the edge of the cliff, crosses an A-Frame bridge and leads back to the Visitor Center at Old Man’s Cave.



#5 Conkles Hollow Hocking Hills, Ohio

View from the rim trail at Conkles Hollow Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Conkles Hollow Hocking Hills Map: Directions for Parking
  • Conkles Hollow Trail Map: Trails
  • Gorge Trail Distance: 1.5 miles roundtrip
  • Gorge Trail Time: 45 minutes – 1 hours
  • Gorge Trail Difficulty: Easy
  • Rim Trail Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Rim Trail Time: 1.5-2 hours
  • Rim Trail Difficulty: Moderate with stairs and steep cliffs
  • Bathrooms: Vault toilets at the Parking Lot Across the Street
  • No Dogs Permitted on the Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve Trails

Conkles Hollow is a State Nature Preserve that offers breathtaking scenery and two outstanding trails: the Gorge Trail and the Rim Trail. Top features are rugged terrain, a waterfall and incredible viewpoints.


Conkles Hollow Gorge Trail Route

View from the Conkles Hollow Gorge Trail, Ohio, USA

The Conkles Hollow trail through the gorge is one of the most beautiful in all of Hocking Hills. The narrow gorge boasts 200-foot-tall cliff walls and thick vegetation.

From the parking lot, the paved trail (which is wheelchair accessible) leads deep into the ravine, passing small caves and slump rocks. At the end of the paved trail, hikers can continue on a dirt trail through pristine forest to a streaming waterfall. The last section to the waterfall is not to be missed!


Conkles Hollow Rim Trail Route

View from Conkles Hollow Rim Trail, Ohio, USA

The Rim Trail at Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve is challenging, but well worth the effort. Highlights are the great scenic viewpoints – both into the gorge and across the treetops.

The trail veers off to the right at the beginning of the Gorge Trail. After climbing several flights of stairs, the trail follows the top of the gorge, hugging the rim of the towering cliffs with natural rocky outcrops providing fantastic vistas.

As the path loops around to the opposite side of the gorge, there are fewer views, but hikers feel completely enveloped in the forest. 



#6 Rock House Trail Hocking Hills

View inside Rock House, Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Rock House in Hocking Hills: Directions for Parking
  • Rock House Hocking Hills Hiking Trail Map: Trails 
  • Loop Trail Distance: 1 mile
  • Loop Trail Time: 1 hour (including time for exploring the cave)
  • Loop Trail Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Bathrooms: Vault Toilets at both parking lots

Rock House is one of the best things to see in Hocking Hills – and it is easily accessible by trail. The natural cave was created by erosion. Throughout the years, it has been used by Native Americans and even robbers (or so the story goes!).

The Rock House cave stretches 200 feet and has a 25-foot-tall ceiling. Visitors are free to explore the interior of the cave, which is illuminated by sunlight that filters through the ‘windows.’ (But we still recommend bringing a flashlight, as the floors are uneven in places.)


Rock House Hiking Trail Route

View out of the Rock House Trail, Hocking, Ohio

There are two trailheads at Rock House (one at each parking lot) – both of which lead to the Rock House Cave. We prefer the trail that begins at the second parking lot and offers an easy, downward sloping trail. 

At the point where the two trails merge, hikers take stairs down into a valley. After just a short walk – and a few more stairs – Rock House will be on your left. The cave is not marked so it is easy to miss. There are just a few paths that lead up into the cave through narrow openings.

After exploring the cave, continue in the same direction, across a bridge and back up the inclined path to the parking lot. Hikers that parked at the second parking lot need to pass through the first lot and continue to the second.



#7 Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills

Trail through Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills, Ohio

  • Hocking Hills Cantwell Cliffs Map: Directions for Parking
  • Cantwell Cliffs Trail Map: Trails
  • Rim Loop Trail Distance: 1-mile
  • Rim Loop Trail Time: 1-1.5 hours
  • Rim Loop Trail Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Bathrooms: Vault toilets at parking lot

Cantwell Cliffs offers the most rugged trails in the Hocking Hills Park system – which is great for hikers who like to explore and discover. Uneven steps, narrow passages, fallen trees and slick spots make this trail more demanding than others at Hocking. While the strenuous hike puts off some hikers, trekkers who hike Cantwell Cliffs are rewarded with some of the best nature in the region.


Cantwell Cliffs Trail Route

Overview of Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills, Ohio, USA

We personally like the looping rim hike at Cantwell Cliffs, which partially enters the gorge and then features a steep incline out to the rim.

From the trailhead, hikers quickly come to the area’s signature feature: Fat Woman’s Squeeze – a narrow and steep passage through slump rocks. Keeping to the right, you pass through rocky terrain – with an option to make it a short hike by using the connector trail to climb out to the rim or continue further and climbing up to the rim via stairs.


Optional Gorge Route

Many hikers opt to take the Gorge Trail at Cantwell Cliffs that descends deeper by taking a left at the trail split after Fat Woman’s Squeeze. The route can still be completed in a loop by connecting with the Rim Trail. Top features of the gorge hike are a cave and a seasonal waterfall!

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More Top Places to Hike in Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills, Ohio things to do

We have featured the top hikes in Hocking Hills – but there are two more trails that we want to mention for visitors who have time to add more hikes to their trip plan.


Big Spring Hollow Falls

An out-and-back 1.2-mile roundtrip hike, Big Spring Hollow is one of the lesser-visited Hocking Hills hikes. The highlight of the hike is one of the tallest waterfalls in the park – but it only flows in the spring and after rain…which means it can be a muddy trek to get there.

The trailhead is not marked; use this link to Google Maps for parking – then go across the street, cross the bridge and turn right to find the trail. The trail is also used by horses and the area is frequently used by rock climbers.


Rockbridge State Nature Preserve

MAP. Rock Bridge – a 100-foot-long natural arch bridge – is one of the cool things to see in Hocking Hills, Ohio. It is one of the largest natural bridges in the state. In total, there are about 3 miles of moderately difficult hiking trails at the Rock Bridge Nature Preserve. In addition to the natural bridge, after rain and in the spring, there is a waterfall, too. Dogs are not permitted on the trails.


Hocking Hills Hiking Trip Plan

Sunlight spilling into Ash Cave, Hocking Hills, Ohio, USA

Now that you know the best hiking Hocking Hills has to offer, we want to show you how you can plan your time on the trails. We are sharing sample itinerary for one day in Hocking Hills and a 2-day Hocking Hills weekend hiking adventure.


1-Day Hocking Hills Itinerary

On a day trip to Hocking Hills, you will want to have a good plan to see the best of the park. 

First-time visitors will want to see the highlights. We recommend spending the entire day hiking the Grandma Gatewood Trail and the adjoining best hiking trails in Hocking Hills. Before setting off, pick up a map of Hocking Hills State Park at the Visitor Center.

Start at Old Man’s Cave, swing by Whispering Cave and continue to Cedar Falls. After Cedar Falls, circle back around to Old Man’s Cave via the Gorge Overlook Trail that passes by Rose Lake. Plan on about 4 hours to complete the 6 mile loop.

Next, drive to Ash Cave, where you can spend about an hour hiking into the cave, exploring and hiking back out via the rim trail.

If time allows in your Hocking Hills One Day Itinerary – and you still have energy – choose one more hike, either Rock House or Conkles Hollow.


2-Day Hocking Hills Hiking Itinerary

As hikes are one of the Hocking Hills best things to do, we recommend filling two complete days with hiking.

Start your Hocking Hills adventure on State Route 374, the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway. Make your first stop at Cantwell Cliffs (it’s best to tackle this hike with strong legs!). Next, take the hike to Rock House – and stick around for a picnic lunch (either in the cave or at the picnic tables at the top). Then go to Conkles Hollow – and complete both the gorge hike and the rim trail. These three hikes should take about 4 to 5 hours (including drive time between them).

If you want to get one more hike in, swing around the corner from Conkles Hollow to Big Spring Hollow.

On Day 2, use our above outline for Hocking Hills in One Day. If, at the end of hiking Grandma Gatewood and the Gorge Overlook, you still want to squeeze in one more hike, we recommend heading over to Rockbridge State Nature Preserve.


Final Tips for Hiking at Hocking Hills

Trail over a bridge, Hiking Hocking Hills in Ohio

We have covered everything you need to know for Hocking Hills hiking – but we have just a few final tips for your trip to the park.


More Things To Do at Hocking Hills

Hiking is our favorite thing to do in Hocking Hills, but there are numerous ways to spend time in and around the park.

Outdoor adventures, shopping, and family fun activities are just a few of the activities for visitors. Plus, there are opportunities for wildlife spotting and fishing (with a permit) and hunting nearby (but not inside the park).

Top Tip: Use our advice for the Best Things To Do in Hocking Hills!


Where To Stay in Hocking Hills

Visitors have several options when it comes to lodging in and around the park – but we want to highlight a few of the top accommodations. Use our tips for Booking the Best Accommodations for advice on finding affordable rates on excellent places to stay.


Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls

Situated in the heart of Hocking Hills, the Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls has both cozy cottages and comfortable yurts where guests can relax after a long day of hiking in the woods.

The spa offers a full range of luxurious treatments – including couples’ massages for a romantic weekend. The on-site restaurant is one of the best in the region and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check rates and availability for your stay!


Pine Creek Horseman’s Camp Hocking Hills Cabins and Camping

Nestled in the rolling hills near top attractions, Pine Creek Horseman’s Camp offers luxury cabins and camping sites, too. Cabins are equipped with modern conveniences and even hot tubs. Check availability and rates for your trip!


Hocking Hills Map of Trails

We provided a link to a Hocking Hills Trails Map for each of the best hikes in the park. However, this map will help visitors better understand where the trails are in relation to each other. 

You can also use this link to Google Maps for an online, interactive map of Hocking Hills trailheads and hiking areas. Just note that the actual hiking trails in Hocking Hills are not marked on Google Maps. 

Hocking Hills Hiking Map by JetSettingFools.com

Start planning your trip to Ohio! Search for the lowest airfares, the best accommodations and fun things to do…then start packing!  Want more travel planning tips? Head over to our Travel Planning page for more information and tips on traveling – and for country-specific information, take a look at our Travel Guides page!


We Want To Know: What are your favorite trails? Do you have any tips for hiking Hocking Hills trails?


More Top US Destinations: Midwestern City Trips

Looking to visit more Top US Destinations for outdoor adventures and city exploration? We share tons of tips and advice in all our travel guides, including some of the Best Underrated Destinations! We love traveling around the Midwest and have detailed guides to help you discover the best of the region!


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Hiking Hocking Hills, Ohio Trails