Visiting Hocking Hills in Fall – Best Autumn Activities

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As the leaves start changing colors and the air begins to cool, Hocking Hills State Park becomes a stunning destination for fall foliage.

With its acres of unbroken forest, rocky faces, and the Hocking River, the park is one of the best places in the region to witness the fall colors. 

The park boasts many different tree species, such as sassafras, oak, hickory, red maples, and hemlock, making it a unique destination for experiencing the fall season.

Hocking Hills reaches peak color during October. The weather is typically mild, ranging from 45 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Last year, when we went, it was frosty in the morning, but it warmed up nicely in the afternoon! Wear layers.

The Hocking Hills region offers a wide variety of fall activities, including hiking, horseback riding, ziplining, and train rides.

A long weekend is plenty of time to visit the Hocking Hills area, but if you have an extra day or two, consider visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We did a combo trip last fall!

The photo features a rugged pathway winding through a dense forest, flanked by towering rock formations layered with moss and vegetation.

If you're looking for a unique experience, cozy cabins with hot tubs, fireplaces, and stunning views of the fall foliage are available in the Hocking Hills region.

These cabins are perfect for a romantic getaway or a family vacation. 

The Hocking Hills region also offers antique shops, local artists, and the Circleville Pumpkin Show. The show is a must-see attraction during the fall season.

With its deep gorges, picturesque waterfalls, and unique rock formations, Hocking Hills State Park is one of the best destinations to witness the beauty of Ohio's Hocking Hills.

Did you finish your visit to the Hocking Hills area sooner than expected? Then check out some of the other great parks in Ohio, or consider starting checking items off an Ohio State Bucket List!

A footbridge surrounded by the vibrant fall colors of Hocking Hills, Ohio. The rustic suspension bridge, made of wood with wire cable supports, spans a small trail amidst tall trees displaying a mix of orange, yellow, and green leaves.

Exploring Hocking Hills in the Fall

When autumn arrives, Hocking Hills transforms into a breathtaking display of colors. The lush green foliage becomes a beautiful array of oranges, yellows, and reds.

One of the best ways to explore Hocking Hills in the fall is by hiking the trails. The trails are well-maintained and have various difficulty levels.

You can take a stroll or challenge yourself with a more strenuous hike. The trails offer stunning views of the fall foliage and the area's natural beauty.

If you're not up for hiking, there are other ways to explore Hocking Hills in the fall.

You can take a scenic drive through the area and enjoy the beautiful landscapes from the comfort of your car.

Multiple businesses offer horseback riding tours that allow you to explore the area while enjoying the fall colors.

Another must-see attraction in Hocking Hills during the fall is the canopy tour. 

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours offers multiple exhilarating zipline adventures through the treetops. Flying through the air allows you to experience the fall foliage up close and personal.

It's a thrilling and unique way to appreciate the season's beauty.

Hocking Hills in fall is a must-visit destination for anyone who loves nature and the beauty of autumn. Its stunning landscapes, well-maintained trails, and various activities make it the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the serene fall season.

 an old stone arch bridge nestled within a forest setting, surrounded by trees displaying early autumn colors. Fallen leaves are scattered around, and the bridge, partly covered in shadow, spans a small stream or dry riverbed, contributing to the serene woodland atmosphere.

Best Trails for Autumn Colors

When it comes to experiencing the vibrant fall colors of Hocking Hills, there are several hiking trails that you can explore. Here are some of the best trails for autumn colors:

Cedar Falls Trail

The Cedar Falls Trail is a 1.5-mile trail that takes you through a stunning forest of hemlocks, beech, and maple trees. The trees transform into a kaleidoscope of colors in the fall, including reds, oranges, and yellows.

The trail leads to Cedar Falls, where you can admire the cascading waterfall surrounded by colorful foliage. The waterfall might only be a trickle, depending on how dry it has been.

A narrow trail at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. The path is lined with large, moss-covered boulders and winds beneath a rock overhang, partially obscured by lush, green foliage. Wooden steps carved into the rock offer a rustic route through this serene, shaded forest setting, highlighting the natural beauty and rugged terrain of the area. This secluded trail, surrounded by mature trees and rich earth tones.

Conkle's Hollow Rim Trail

The Conkle's Hollow Rim Trail is a 2.5-mile trail that offers breathtaking views of the Hocking Hills. It takes you through a narrow gorge surrounded by towering cliffs and rock formations.

In the fall, the trees along the trail burst into a riot of colors, creating a stunning contrast against the rugged landscape.

The entrance to the Conkle's Hollow Gorge Trail in Hocking Hills, Ohio, during autumn. Two hikers are visible in the distance, walking along the leaf-covered trail lined with vibrant fall foliage of yellow and orange leaves. Informational signs at the trailhead indicate directions and safety guidelines for visitors. This scenic trail, framed by tall trees, offers a peaceful and picturesque hiking experience in a natural forest setting.

Old Man's Cave Trail

The Old Man's Cave Trail is a 2-mile trail that leads through a picturesque gorge past waterfalls and bridges. The trail runs through various trees, including oaks, maples, and hickories, which turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold in the fall.

The trail culminates at Old Man's Cave, where you can take in the stunning views of the gorge and the surrounding foliage.

A rustic wooden bridge in the Old Man's Cave area at Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio. The bridge, made of weathered wooden planks supported by concrete pillars, crosses a shallow, rocky creek surrounded by lush greenery and towering rock formations.

Ash Cave Trail

The Ash Cave Trail is a 0.25-mile trail leading to Ohio's largest recess cave. It takes you through a beautiful forest of hemlocks, beech, and maples, which turn into a sea of colors in the fall.

The cave is surrounded by a towering cliff covered in colorful foliage, making it a breathtaking sight.

A view from within Ash Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio. The cave's large, overhanging rock formation creates a natural shelter, revealing a wooden boardwalk that meanders through the forested area below. Sunlight filters through the trees, illuminating the mist from a small waterfall and highlighting the rugged textures of the cave walls and scattered boulders.

Exploring these trails is the perfect way to experience the beauty of Hocking Hills in the fall. So, grab your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and immerse yourself in nature's stunning display of colors.

Graphic showing pages to a Free 'Boredom Buster' Ebook - Tips for Turning Long Drives into Fun, Engaging Journeys.

Driving the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

As you drive along the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, you will be amazed by the stunning fall foliage surrounding you. The 26-mile route along State Route 374 takes you through the heart of Hocking Hills, passing through beautiful forests and rolling hills.  

The byway starts at US 33 in Rockbridge, Ohio, and ends in South Bloomingville (you will need to turn right on State Route 56 to get to South Bloomingville).

The byway is well-maintained and suitable for most vehicles, including cars and motorcycles. Along the way, you will find plenty of pull-off areas where you can stop and take in the views or hike through one of the park areas. 

As you drive, look for wildlife. The Hocking Hills area is home to a variety of animals, including wild turkey, deer, and even black bears. 

Driving the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the area wanting to experience some of the most beautiful autumn scenery. 

This image captures a picturesque autumn drive through Hocking Hills, Ohio. A two-lane road curves gently through a dense forest, showcasing a vibrant array of fall colors. Tall trees lining the road display a mix of yellow, orange, and red leaves against a clear blue sky, offering a quintessential fall scene that evokes a sense of calm and appreciation for seasonal changes.

Ride the Fall Foliage Train Ride through Hocking Hills

Experience the beauty of Hocking Hills in the fall by taking a scenic train ride. The diesel-powered historic train ride takes you through the heart of the Hocking Hills, showcasing the vibrant colors of the fall foliage.

As you ride the train, you'll have the opportunity to see some spectacular views of the Hocking Hills region.

The train ride takes approximately 2 hours, and it's a round-trip tour that takes you from the Nelsonville Depot to East Logan.

The historic Nelsonville Railway Station, part of the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. The rustic wooden building, adorned with the "Nelsonville" sign, features classic architectural details and is complemented by an old-fashioned green wagon in the foreground. An American flag adds a patriotic touch to this picturesque setting, which serves as a charming reminder of America's railway heritage.

The train ride is perfect for families, couples, and anyone looking to experience the beauty of Hocking Hills in a unique way.

It costs just over $20 per adult and $16 per child, and it includes comfortable seating, a narrated tour, and the opportunity to see the vibrant colors of the fall foliage.

The coach cars are heated if needed, but there are also open-air cars.

The train ride is offered on weekends between Memorial Day and the end of October, with additional fall foliage rides offered on Thursdays and Fridays in October.

The train tour is a popular tourist activity in the region. Be sure to book your tickets in advance to ensure availability.

Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offers additional tours throughout the year, such as the Mother's Day Train Dinner and the Nelsonville Halloween Train. 

Overall, the fall foliage train ride is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Hocking Hills in the fall. It's a unique way to experience the region's beauty and will surely be a highlight of your trip. It was when we took the tour!

A vintage train from the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, captured in a lush, green setting. The train, comprising an old-fashioned diesel locomotive and classic passenger cars, is a preserved piece of railway history, providing a glimpse into the transportation of the past. The natural backdrop, with overhanging trees and scattered leaves, enhances the timeless feel of this historic train.

Final Thoughts: Hocking Hills in the Fall

As you reflect on your fall trip to Hocking Hills, you can't help but feel grateful for the stunning natural beauty you witnessed.

The vibrant colors of the changing leaves and the crisp autumn air create a serene and peaceful atmosphere that makes your visit unforgettable.

The one-way trail systems are well-maintained and make navigating through the miles of wooded acres easy.

Regarding accommodations, Hocking Hills offers a range of options to suit your needs. Whether you're looking for a cozy cabin or a luxurious lodge, you can find the perfect place to relax and unwind after exploring.

Ultimate Ohio Bucket List: Top Things to Do in Ohio

Exploring Ohio State National Parks

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This image is a promotional poster highlighting the must-visit spots at Ohio's Hocking Hills State Park during fall. It features a vibrant photograph of a wooded trail covered in a blanket of multi-colored autumn leaves, with a wooden handrail leading down a slope. Overhead, the canopy is a mix of green and yellow leaves, enhancing the autumnal feel. The title "Must-Visit Spots at Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park This Fall" is prominently displayed at the top in a bold, contrasting green font, emphasizing the seasonal appeal of the location.
This image is a promotional guide for visiting Hocking Hills in Ohio during the fall season. It features a collage of three photographs showcasing the area's natural beauty: a waterfall streaming down a rocky face, a scenic suspension bridge adorned with a detailed emblem, and a serene trail surrounded by vibrant autumn foliage. The text, "Ohio’s Hocking Hills in the Fall Visitor Guide," is prominently displayed at the top.
The image features a vibrant autumn landscape in Hocking Hills, Ohio, showcasing a dense forest blanketed in a spectacular array of fall colors from bright reds to vivid yellows. The text on the image reads "Visiting Ohio’s Hocking Hills in Fall - Best Autumn Activities."

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