View of recess cave with tourists walking alone a tiny stream

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Best Things To Do On A Two-Day Hocking Hills Itinerary

Mike had taken a Monday off work for a weekend getaway, but the plans were canceled (his bike was in the shop, and you can’t make a bike trip without a bike). Nonetheless, we were still eager to have an adventure, so on Saturday morning, we decided to book a night at the Hocking Hills Getaway Cabin on a last-minute whim. Sometimes, impulsive decisions turn out to be just what you need. I am thrilled to share my Hocking Hills itinerary of the top things to do during a two-day visit, it was an awesome trip.

Located in southeast Ohio, about an hour south of Columbus, is Hocking Hills State Park. Despite living only 3 hours away, this was the first I had heard of this fantastic destination for outdoor adventures. The region boasts beautiful scenery, some of the best hiking trails, fun wineries, and fantastic brew pubs with creative food. In addition, there is a diverse range of accommodations available, from inns to cabins to campgrounds. All of these factors make it the perfect destination for a weekend getaway.

Hocking Hills State Park

Nestled within the beautiful landscape of Hocking Hills, is the town of Logan and the nearby Ohio state park. Hocking Hills Park is truly a treasure in Ohio’s State Parks collection, showcasing abundant natural wonders such as towering hemlocks, deep gorges, cascading waterfalls, and captivating caves. With over 30 miles of hiking trails, visitors can relish hours of adventure and exploration amidst the awe-inspiring scenery of this remarkable park.

Your first stop should be the Visitors Center. The staff there are helpful and knowledgeable, and they provide detailed information about the park’s main attractions. They can even suggest a plan for exploring the park over a few days, especially for first-time visitors.

However, I found that the signage within the park could be clearer, which can make navigation a bit tricky at times. I recommend picking up a park map from the visitor’s center to avoid getting lost. The map is comprehensive and easy to read, highlighting all the main trails and attractions.

Rock wall with waterfalls pouring into a small pool and two people wading
Cedar Falls

One thing to note is that cell coverage can be spotty while hiking, especially in more remote areas of the park, which makes it difficult to rely on apps for directions or trail information. Instead, it’s best to ask the rangers for recommendations on connecting trails, allowing you to make loop journeys around the park and avoid backtracking. The rangers are always happy to help and can provide insider tips on the best spots to visit.

Hocking Hills State Park is a vast area split into two main sections. The northern part comprises Conkle’s Hollow, Rock House, and Cantwell Cliffs, located further north. At the same time, the southern section includes Old Man’s Cave, Whispering Cave, Cedar Falls, and Ash Cave, situated at the southernmost point. If you plan to explore the park, the visitor’s center at the parking lot for Old Man’s Cave trail is an excellent starting point.

Hiking trail with steep steps up the side of the hill
Hiking Trail Near Old Man’s Cave
Day One – Hiking Hocking Hills

A great day-one itinerary is to hike the one-way Old Man’s Cave trail (also called the Gorge Trail), starting at the upper falls. Many of the most popular short hikes are on a one-way trail that loop back around to the parking area. These are great walks if you want to see the main attractions. They are more crowded, especially on the weekend.

If you want more of a challenge and to see more remote parts of the narrow gorge, once you reach the lower falls, locate the blue blazes that mark the Grandma Gatewood Trail/Buckeye Trail and continue along the creek headed towards Cedar Falls. This trail is tricky, requiring you to scurry over some rock gardens, but if you take your time, it is very manageable. The distance from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls is just under 3 miles, making it one of the longer hikes.

At the halfway point, you will come to the Hemlock Bridge and a spur trail that leads to Whispering Cave; this is a short out and back side adventure, and if you have the energy it is worth the trip. This short hike adds about 1 mile to your journey.

View from under a small waterfall with the sky and trees in background

Along the hike, you will experience narrow gorges with walls and interesting rock formations towering over you. Your ultimate destination is Cedar Falls, a beautiful waterfall that cascades along the rocks. This is a great place to take a break before starting your return.

From Cedar Falls, you will return via the Rim Trail, an easier walk back to the visitor’s center. Along this scenic route, you will cross the south end of Rose Lake. The return hike is about 2.5 miles.

Although it has been a long day, before leaving the park, drive to Ash Cave. Here you can park and take the one-way loop trail to see one of the best recess caves in Ohio. It has a small but towering waterfall that you will circle under.

View of hiking trail through hemlocks at Hocking Hills State Park
Where to Spend the Night

The area around Hocking Hills is filled with accommodation options. Located within the park is the Hocking Hills Lodge, which offers both hotel style guest rooms and cabins right within the park. The lodge was completely rebuilt after a devastating fire burned the original lodge in 2015.

Another nearby option is the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls, which offers cabins, yurts, and cottages. It also has an on-site spa and restaurant.

But we opted to stay at the Getaway Hocking Hills, about 15 miles from the park. This is a new Getaway location, and it features the signature Getaway tiny cabins in a wooded setting. Like all Getaway experiences, it’s camping without the hassles of camping. You have a full bath, a tiny kitchen, and a comfy bed. Firewood, starters, and s’mores kits are all available without any work.

Check out my post on Getaway Beaver Creek, also located in Ohio.

Once settled in whatever accommodation you select, you should check out 58 West in Logan. A fun brewery brought to you by the same family that owns the Hocking Hills Winery. The beer was excellent, and the food was creative. It’s a short drive from the park and on the way to the Getaway Hocking Hills in Nelsonville. So easy to do enroute or by making a return trip.

Day Two – Exploring Hocking Hills Further

On day two, you have many choices. You can return to the park and explore Conkles Hollow, Rock House, and Cantwell Cliffs or try a zip-line adventure or canopy tour. Check out Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for options. Or, if you are really looking for adventure, why not a 115′ waterfall rappel? Trek Network offers a thrilling tour (Not me, I’m a card-carrying Acrophobic!).

Wine tasting glasses on a table on patio at winery

One of the top attractions in the area is the various wineries and breweries. Keep in mind this is not Napa or Sonoma, so the wines are not world-class. But it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon. Two good choices include Hocking Hills Winery and Le Petit Chevalier, both family-owned and offering enjoyable tasting experiences.

Road Side sign for Le Petite Chevalier Vineyards

Cap your day off with a good meal at TheFeed; it has a fun and creative menu. Who doesn’t want to try an appetizer called Hillbilly Hibachos?

You will find plenty to fill up a two-day itinerary in Hocking Hills area. From beautiful hiking trails to stunning waterfalls and fun wineries, Hocking Hills will definitely be a couple of days that you won’t forget. It is, without a doubt, one of the best state parks I have ever visited and certainly one I will return to over and over, now that I know it’s there.

Below are links and resources to help you plan The perfect trip

Travel Resources

  • HOTELS and are great resources for accommodations around the world. Book almost any hotel directly from these links.
    The best places to book tours and activities are Viator or Get Your Guide . From great food tours to guided hiking adventures to local walking tours, you will find great experiences to add to your travels here.
    EatWith is a great resource for authentic culinary experiences with passionate locals worldwide. Connecting travelers with hosts in over 130 countries, providing unique, intimate, and immersive experiences in private homes and exclusive venues.
    Trainline is Europe’s leading train and coach app. They work with over 210 rail and coach companies to help their customers travel to thousands of destinations across 45 countries. 

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