This post is in honor of ‘National Park Week’ and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Ohio might not be a state on many travelers radars, but we were really impressed with the caves and waterfalls we encountered at Hocking Hills State Park last year. We combined a work and family visit, as Alex has family that live an hour outside of Columbus. It was great to have Alex’s half brother John show us some beautiful spots in rural Ohio. If you’re on a road trip through Ohio, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a top Ohio attraction and we also enjoyed the history in Canton, like the William McKinley Presidential Library.
Hocking Hills Flea Market
Our first morning, John guided us through the Hocking Hills Flea Market. If you are in this area on a Saturday, it’s worth stopping in, especially for the fantastic pies. The market is a decent size, but just ask a vendor for the pie lady and someone will point you in the right direction. We bought quite a few small pies and it’s really hard to say which was the best, maybe the cherry, rhubarb, apple or all of the above. We recommend buying an assortment of small ones and deciding for yourself! You’re going to hike those calories off anyway (maybe).
Hocking Hills State Park
After we stock piled our pies, we headed for Hocking Hills. Nine seperate parks make up beautiful Hocking Hills State Park and we stopped at four of them. The hikes in the four parks we visited were relatively easy, but in March there was still considerable ice, which made some of the hikes more challenging than they would be in warmer months.
Our first stop was Cantwell Cliffs, and there was not a soul to be seen. There are some beautiful tall waterfalls and rocks at this spot, and it was the most peaceful of the parks we stopped at. Alex was relieved not to see any bears. He enjoys the outdoors, but a bear encounter is a phobia of his.
Next was the Rock House. This would be a great cave to take kids, as it is an easy hike. And the cave is quite open, which is especially great for anyone who is claustrophobic. It is made from blackhand sandstone and the top is 25 feet high. It’s aptly named the Rock House because the cave has seven openings looking out on the hills.
Cedar Falls was our next stop. The path to the falls was extremely icy, but it felt like we were in a fairy tale with moss, mist and beautiful icicles. There were quite a few people at these waterfalls. But because I decided that gum boots (Aussie for wellies or rain boots) were the appropriate footwear, I was able to wade into the icy rivers to enjoy a different perspective of the scenery.
Old Man’s Cave
Our final stop was Old Man’s Cave, which is the most popular of the parks in the Hocking Hills State Park. It was easy to see why given how enormous the cave was. But this was also the most difficult area to get around in late winter. The ice on the pathways were extensive and nothing was gripping to the thick ice. But it was fun and beautiful to explore this park in a season Alex and I might normally avoid.
Visit a National Park this Summer on the 100th Anniversary of the US National Park Service!
The Hocking Hills parks offer some beautiful scenery, with hikes that aren’t too strenuous and provide an excellent way to work off pies or any other hearty midwestern food you’ve been enjoying! To find out how to get to these excellent parks, visit the National Parks Hocking Hills website for maps and activities going on in the parks.
Summer is coming up so try and enjoy a national or state park on the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. The outdoors can be romantic for a number of reasons. Just don’t let any bears steal your picnic basket!
12 thoughts on “Waterfalls and Caves of Hocking Hills, Ohio”
Thanks for sharing your experience. You are right (at least to me) that Ohio isn’t exactly in my travel radar… I do love visiting national parks in the country where there are always something special and stories behind it 🙂
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts, Kenny! Glad to hear you share a love of discovering new parks. Part of the fun of traveling is discovering the beauty of the unexpected.
Looks like a really great park(s) to visit.Also, I can’t tell if those patterns are part of your pants or your boots. If they are part of your boots: those are some fabulous boots. And practical.
Hi Dirk! Hocking Hills really is a gem to visit. Thanks for the compliment, the pattern was indeed part of my boots! 🙂
I have not been to Hocking Hills. I see so much amazing here and have recently learned about it. This looks like my kind of place… .It’s on my destination list!
Hi Sara! We’re happy to read this! You’ll love the caves and waterfalls of Hocking Hills since you enjoy the outdoors. Happy travels!
I didn’t know Ohio offered such beauty. I have never been, but will have to see this rock cave and cliffs.
Hi Holly! Awesome, enjoy it when you visit! 🙂
Cantwell cliffs and cedar falls look amahzing.. Looking at those Icy falls make me feel it must be very cold over there. Did you actually get into that icy water??
Hi Kanika! Bell walked through the icy water a little in her boots but I didn’t have the proper foot wear so I didn’t. Definitely good to wear weather proof boots but even then you still need to be a little careful. Awesome hike either way though!
Woah!! You know what’s funny is I’ve been reading a lot about Ohio lately (which I know nothing about nor have I ever been), and I was wondering what sort of outdoor activities existed should I ever visit. This area looks beautiful and makes me want to visit. The frozen waterfalls look beautiful, I had no idea Ohio had any!
Hey Greig! We had no idea about any of this before my brother John personally toured us around the Hocking Hills State Park. He works in construction but wants to retire soon. Maybe I should tell him to set up private walking tours through Hocking Hills State Park! 🙂
Enjoy when you visit and happy travels!