Where is Hocking Hills State Park
Located in Ohio’s southeastern region, Hocking Hills State Park provides visitors direct access to hiking trails, rock formations, waterfalls, and several caves. The state park also contains a lake, an archery range, and a campground. The closest city to Hocking Hills State Park is Logan, Ohio. Other cities in the area include Lancaster and Columbus. Hocking Hills US State Park is also surrounded by other outdoor areas such as Hocking State Forest, Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve, and Rockbridge State Nature Preserve.
How Large is Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park lies entirely in the state of Ohio and covers over 2,300 acres. The park's hiking system covers over 25 miles and is separated into seven different areas. These areas are Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Cedar Falls, Conkle's Hollow, Old Man's Cave, Rock House and the Hemlock Bridge Trail. Lake Logan located inside Hocking Hills State Park covers 400 acres and is frequently used by anglers, kayakers, and swimmers. The park’s new visitor center was constructed starting in 2018 and cost the Ohio Department of Natural Resources six million dollars.
Hocking Hills State Park Weather
The weather of the Hocking Hills region and Hocking Hills State Park varies throughout the year. Average summer highs in the park approach 90-degree fahrenheit. The season’s average lows approach 60-degree fahrenheit. Winter lows in the park approach the single digits occasionally. The season’s average highs hover around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The Hocking Hills region on average receives 80 days of rain per year. The average snowfall for the region is nine inches per year.
When did Hocking Hills Become a State Park
The state of Ohio first purchased the first parcel of land now a part of Hocking Hills State Park in 1924. This land was purchased to preserve hiking opportunities near the Old Man’s Cave area of the park. Well before the land was purchased by the Ohio state government, Hocking Hills was home to several Native American tribes including Delaware, Shawnee, and the Wyandot. The state park continues to educate the public about the Native American tribes that once flourished in the area.
Things to do in Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park offers its visitors endless recreation opportunities. List of Parks highlights the most popular adventures below:
Hiking at Hocking Hills Overview
The park’s trail system is open year-round from dawn to dusk. Dogs are allowed to accompany their owners on the entirety of the trail system except for in the Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve. The park allows no swimming in the area’s creeks or falls. All hikers and dogs must remain on the park’s marked trails.
Old Man’s Cave
One of the most popular areas found in Hocking Hills State Park, the Old Man’s Cave region contains the Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, and the Lower Falls. These falls travel along the gorge where they have cut through the famous black sandstone found in the area. The area sends visitors down one winding trail which crosses several bridges and offers various views. The cave is about one mile long and takes about an hour to hike.
The Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve located in Hocking Hills State Park offers visitors an opportunity to embark on a strenuous hike and explore a bit of the area’s culture. The upper trail in the Conkles Hollow area is not recommended for children. Hiking in the area can be rather hazardous. Horseshoe Cave on the lower trail is said to hold Native American treasure. The ghosts of the Native Americans who hid the treasure are said to guard the cave.
The Ash Cave Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in Hocking Hills State Park because of its scenery and accessibility. This ½ mile paved trail works through a gorge lined with Hemlock trees. Visitors in wheelchairs can enjoy this trail in its entirety. The trail takes about ½ an hour to hike.
This ½ mile trail takes visitors by one of the largest waterfalls in the Hocking Hills region. The trail also passes by several moss laden cliffs. Hikers on the Cedar Falls trail stand a good chance to see some of the park’s wildlife. The trail takes about 40 minutes to complete.
Mountain Biking in Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park contains two separate mountain biking trails. Each trail winds throughout the park, but both vary in difficulty. The purple loop found in the park is two miles long and rated as moderate. The orange loop found in the park is two miles long and rated as difficult.
Kayaking and Canoeing
Lake Logan was built in Hocking Hills State Park in 1955. The lake was constructed to support further recreation promises made by the state. The lake offers visitors to the Hocking Hills region the opportunity to paddle a kayak or canoe. Visitors can either bring their own watercraft or rent one from the various outfitters in the area.
Fishing on Lake Logan is permitted under standard Ohio Department of Natural Resources laws and regulations. Angler’s casting a line into Lake Logan can expect to find bluegill, catfish, black crappie, and largemouth bass. Visitors with hunting permits are also allowed to hunt throughout the Hocking Hills region.
Camping in Hocking Hills State Park
The campground at Hocking Hills State Park contains 156 electric sites, 13 non-electric sites, and 30 walk-in sites. Volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, a swimming pool, heated showers, and flush toilets are other amenities offered by the campground. The campground also contains a camp store where campers can purchase essentials.
When to Visit Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park, its trail system, and campground are open all year long. Summer is the park’s busiest season, and occasionally the campground fills to capacity during the season. Summer and spring are the best times to hike in the park. Fall is a great time to visit the park to experience the season’s colorful foliage. The leaves in the park begin to change color in late September. A winter visit to the park can also be enjoyable. Temperatures will be quite cooler during the season, but the park’s crowds will be minimal.
Must Have Items to Bring to Hocking Hills State Park
Any outdoor adventure requires at least a little packing and planning. To make your packing just a little easier below is a list of several essentials to bring with you to Hocking Hills State Park.
Our National Park Visitors Guide points out the number one item visitors looking to enjoy Hocking Hills State Park’s outdoor offerings is water. Summer temperatures in the park can become quite extreme occasionally and dehydration becomes a real concern. Hikers and campers should look to bring extra water with them to the park.
Energy Packed Snacks
The best snacks for hiking and other outdoor activities are lightweight, easy, and full of energy. Beef jerky, protein bars, dried fruit, and trail mix are great options for visitors to bring with them to the park.
Tent, Sleeping Bag, & other Camping Essentials
There are quite a few camping supplies visitors looking to camp within Hocking Hills State Park will want to remember to bring with them. Obvious items include tents, sleeping bags, sleeping mats, and blankets. However, campers will also want to bring flashlights, extra batteries, camping pillows, and other camping equipment. If you do forget something on your visit to the park you may be able to purchase it in the park’s camp store. However, planning ahead is always best.
The terrain in Hocking Hills State Park, especially in the Old Man’s Cave and Conkles Hollow area, can be quite treacherous. Every visitor to Hocking Hills State Park should be equipped with a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Hikers should look to invest in a lightweight and waterproof pair of hiking boots for added comfort and protection.
Kayak, Canoe, & Fishing Supplies
Summer visitors to the park who are looking to paddle, float, or fish on Lake Logan will want to pack their kayak or canoe. Anglers will also want to remember their rod, reel, and tackle geared towards the park’s freshwater species. The park’s camp store sells various pieces of fishing tackle.
Hikers visiting Hocking Hills State Park should look to access and study the park’s trail maps. These maps can be found online and at the park’s visitor center.
Where to Stay in Hocking Hills State Park
Visitors looking to camp in the Hocking Hills State Park campground should make reservations online through the park’s website and online reservation portal. Tent campers looking to occupy one of the campground’s walk-in sites should do their best to arrive at the campground early in the day. Hocking Hills State Park website also offers its visitors information on cabins and lodges in the area that are available to rent. Visitors looking to stay in a hotel should visit Logan, Lancaster or Columbus.
Food Nearby Hocking Hills State Park
The closest food, groceries, and gas to Hocking Hills State Park can be found in Logan and Lancaster. Logan is roughly a 15 minute drive away from the park. Lancaster is about 30 minutes away. Each town contains various restaurants, fast food establishments, and groceries. Visitors looking for a large culinary scene will want to make the drive to Columbus. The city offers its visitors an endless array of restaurants and bars.
Airports Near Hocking Hills State Park
The closest airport to Hocking Hills State Park is located in Columbus. The Columbus International Airport is 60 miles or about an hour away from the park. The next closest airport to Hocking Hills State Park is about three hours away and located in Cleveland.