About Hocking Hills State Park
What makes Hocking Hills State Park such a unique park?
Hocking Hills State Park offers a unique mix of caves, waterfalls, and gorgeous hiking trails not found anywhere else in the state. The massive 700-foot Ash Cave is just one of many large caves found in the area, and the waterfalls located within Hocking Hills are some of Ohio’s best. The region features plentiful camping and lodging options including cabins, treehouses, yurts, and unique Airbnbs.
7 Facts about Hocking Hills State Park
- Hocking Hills State Park was created in 1915.
- The region’s Black Hand Sandstone got its name when settlers in the area discovered a black handprint on the sandstone.
- Ash Cave was named after a large ash pile discovered at the cave left behind by Native Americans living in the area.
- Yes, someone did live under Old Man’s Cave and his body is buried somewhere near the cave.
- Cedar Falls was named when settlers mistook the nearby hemlock trees as cedar trees.
- Hocking Hills is home to over 25 miles of hiking trails.
- Hocking Hills features close to a dozen waterfalls in the area with many of them flowing year-round.
A Brief History Lesson on Hocking Hills
A large glacier, known as the Wisconsinan Glacier, covered much of Ohio over 12,000 years ago. Years of glacier melt and changing seasons carved through the Hocking Hills region and shaped the landscape leaving behind numerous cliffs, caves, overhangs, gorges, and waterfalls. The Blackhand sandstone found within the park got its name from early settlers when they discovered a black handprint painted on the sandstone within the region.
The area where Old Man’s Cave is located was introduced as a State Park in 1915 and was named after the nearby Hocking River. Hocking Hills State Park features over 25 miles of hiking trails that pass by the park’s waterfalls, cliffs, caves, and gorges. The popular locations within the park include Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, and Whispering Cave. Nearby geological attractions include Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House Cave, Airplane Rock, and 21 Horse Cave to name just a few.
Park Contact Information
- In case of an emergency: Dial 911
- Park Information……….……………………. 740.385.6842
- Campground Reservations….. 866.644.6727
- Non-emergency……………………………. 740.385.6842
- Ohio DNR Website for Hocking Hills
- Hocking Hills Park Map (ODNR)
Is Hocking Hills State Park dog-friendly?
Yes! Behaved and leashed dogs are permitted within the park and on the trails. Owners are required to clean up after their dogs and dispose of any waste in trash bins. Dogs are not permitted within the Old Man’s Cave Visitors Center or the Gift Shop at the campgrounds.
Cellular and WiFi Availability at Hocking Hills State Park
Cellular coverage in Hocking Hills will vary based on your location in the park. Don’t expect coverage while hiking in the popular Old Man’s Cave area or even near the parking lot. I was able to get service at the nearby campgrounds which are located on the hilltop next to Old Man’s Cave, and even then coverage was weak and available in parts of the campground.
Wifi can be found at businesses near the park. I would usually drive a few miles down the road to Hocking Hills Coffee Emporium and grab some coffee while I was connected. Also, the staff is friendly and the coffee is good!
When is the best time of the year to visit Hocking Hills State Park?
Hocking Hills State Park is open throughout the entire year, and each season offers a different experience. Visiting Hocking Hills during the spring months will offer cooler temperatures and rushing waterfalls, including some that dry up during the summer and fall months. Visiting the park during the summer months will greet you with warmer temperatures and lush green forests, however, the waterfalls won’t be at their peak. Visiting during the fall will offer smaller crowds and the added beauty of fall colors. Winter months provide more opportunities for solitude and a unique take on the park attractions.
A note to winter hikers – The trails at Hocking Hills State Park, especially on the Old Man’s Cave trail, will ice over during the winter months. I highly recommend packing a pair of microspikes for your trip to help you safely hike the trails.
Directions to Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park is located an hour southeast of Columbus, Ohio, and in close proximity to Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Travelers coming from the Columbus area will most likely follow State Route 33 until they get to Logan, Ohio before taking 664 South into the Old Man’s Cave area. Hocking Hills State Park is located in Hocking County, Ohio.
Hocking Hills State Park does not have any entrance gates or park entrance fees. The visitors center, a newly built 8,500 square foot building, is located near the southwest corner of the Old Man’s Cave parking lot. Each trailhead and attraction has a parking lot large enough to accommodate numerous vehicles including handicap spots.
Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center
The newly constructed 8.500 square-foot Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center opened to the public in June 2019. The visitor center features guest rooms, a dining facility, and educational exhibits showcasing the unique nature located within Hocking Hills State Park.
- Address: 19988 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138
- Phone: +17403856842
- Hours: 8 AM – 8 PM
Activity Guide to Hocking Hills
Diners Guide to Hocking Hills State Park
Camping and Lodging Options near Hocking Hills State Park
Campgrounds and Backcountry Camping
Hocking Hills State Park does not allow backcountry camping within the park.
Each campground listed here has spots for tents, campers, and RVs. I have identified the max RV size for campgrounds that list the accommodation on their websites, but I would check with the campgrounds before booking a site if your camper is 30′ or longer.
Firewood is available to purchase at the camp store at each campground. You would be hard-pressed to drive down any road near Hocking Hills State Park and not find a half dozen houses with firewood available for purchase. Transporting firewood from outside the Hocking Hills region has been banned due to a bug that destroys ash trees.
Lodging Guide for Hocking Hills State Park
The Hocking Hills area has no shortage of unique lodging options and this list is by no means a comprehensive list of available options. My goal with these options is to list some lodging options that are (a) near the park or (b) offer unique experiences.
Firewood is available to purchase near each location. You would be hard-pressed to drive down any road near Hocking Hills State Park and not find a half dozen houses with firewood available for purchase. Transporting firewood from outside the Hocking Hills region has been banned due to a bug that destroys ash trees.
Hiking in, and around, Hocking Hills State Park
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