3-Day Hocking Hills Itinerary: Ohio Adventure Getaway

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This 3-day Hocking Hills Itinerary explores the stunning rock formations at places like Cedar Falls, Old Man's Cave, and Rock House. 

Follow along as we uncover the natural wonders of this popular destination through short hikes, scenic drives, and outdoor adventures.

Hocking Hills, Ohio, is a hidden gem full of rock formations, forests, and miles of trails. This scenic region is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and a popular weekend getaway destination.

Whether you're seeking a leisurely hike, a thrilling adventure, or a serene communion with nature, Hocking Hills offers it all, ensuring a memorable experience for all adventure seekers.

The Hocking Hills area of Ohio is a great family destination, perfect for a girls' weekend or a solo traveler.

The fall season in Hocking Hills is my favorite time to visit!

A view of a concrete bridge in the Old Man's Cave area of Hocking Hills, Ohio. The bridge crosses a shallow stream surrounded by dense forest and tall rock formations. The pathway leading to the bridge is lined with fallen leaves, adding to the natural and serene atmosphere of the area.

Where is Hocking Hills?

The Hocking Hills Region is southeast of Columbus, Ohio. This pristine area is easily accessible and perfect for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Hocking Hills is home to some of the state's most remarkable rock formations, waterfalls, and nature preserves, making it one of Ohio's more popular spots for outdoor enthusiasts.

As you immerse yourself in the breathtaking scenery on the scenic hiking trails and explore the best things about Hocking Hills State Park, you'll be spellbound by the lush forests, deep gorges, and sandstone cliffs that create a landscape straight from a fairytale, inspiring a sense of wonder and awe.

While the Hocking Hills region is known for its natural beauty, it's also conveniently located near charming towns and attractions that offer a taste of local culture.

The best way to embrace the area's rich history is to visit local shops and art galleries or indulge in delicious food and wine from nearby vineyards. Hocking Hills truly offers a perfect blend of nature and authentic experiences.

A wide view of Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio, showcasing the expansive sandstone overhang and layered rock formations. The area is filled with lush greenery, and visitors can be seen exploring the different levels of the cave. Sunlight illuminates parts of the rock face, highlighting the textures and colors of the natural structure.

Where to Stay Near Hocking Hills

When planning your trip to Hocking Hills, finding the perfect place to stay is essential for a comfortable and convenient experience. Luckily, various accommodations are available that cater to different preferences and budgets.

Hocking Hills State Park Campground is a versatile accommodation option, offering Full Hookup and Electric campsites, Non-electric sites, and cabin camping shelters.

The park also features Primitive ‘hike-in' tent-only sites and a primitive Group Camp area, catering to a wide range of camping preferences.

The on-site lodge has a restaurant, a jacuzzi, and an indoor and outdoor pool. Full-sized cabins are also available.

There are plenty of other campgrounds and cabins options nearby. If hotels are more your speed, check Logan for a few options. Logan is about a 20-minute drive from the Hocking Hills Visitor Center.

No matter where you choose to stay, remember that Hocking Hills is a popular destination, especially during the peak season, so it's best to book your accommodations in advance to secure your preferred choice.

The entrance to the Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center, featuring a welcoming sign for Old Man's Cave and Whispering Cave. The center's building is constructed with a combination of stone and wood, blending harmoniously with the surrounding autumn-colored trees. A paved walkway and parking area are visible, providing easy access for visitors.

When to visit Hocking Hills

Hocking Hills is a destination that transforms with each season, offering a unique experience year-round.

Whether you're captivated by the vibrant hues of fall, the ethereal beauty of winter, the blossoming of spring, or the lush greenery of summer, Hocking Hills has something special to offer.

Fall transforms the area into a mesmerizing palette of reds, yellows, and oranges, creating a picture-perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures.

Take a scenic drive along the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway and enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves. Explore the hiking trails and be rewarded with stunning vistas and the gentle rustle of fallen leaves beneath your feet.

Winter brings a serene and peaceful atmosphere to Hocking Hills. The waterfalls may freeze into ice sculptures, and the trails may be dusted with snow. Bundle up and take a winter hike, breathing in the crisp air and the stillness of nature.

Afterward, warm up by a crackling fire at your cozy cabin or head to a local restaurant for a hot meal.

Spring in Hocking Hills is a time of renewal and reawakening. As the snow melts, the landscape comes alive with vibrant wildflowers and budding trees. The waterfalls regain their strength, creating beautiful cascades.

One of the best spring hikes is the Grandma Gatewood Trail (one of the longer hikes at the park), where you can enjoy the beauty of the blooming Dogwoods and Trilliums along the way. 

In summer, Hocking Hills offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures. The foliage provides shade and relief from the summer heat.

You can cool off by splashing in the Hocking River or be more adventurous by horseback riding or ziplining at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.

Explore the hiking trails and discover hidden gems, such as the only true cave (Rock House) in the area or the mesmerizing rock formations shaped by time.

No matter which season you choose to visit, Hocking Hills will captivate you with its natural beauty and provide an unforgettable experience.

An overhead view of a concrete bridge in the Old Man's Cave area of Hocking Hills, Ohio. The bridge spans a shallow stream, with lush green foliage and ferns surrounding the water. Reflections of the trees and sky can be seen on the surface of the stream, adding to the tranquil and natural ambiance of the scene.

Day 1: Hocking Hills

Get ready to embark on an incredible journey through the enchanting landscapes of Hocking Hills. On your first day, we'll explore some of this region's iconic attractions.

Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center

The Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center is an excellent place to start your day. The parking lot is large but tends to fill up in peak seasons, as popular hiking trails start in the area.

At the welcome center, you can gather information about the various trails, pick up maps, and learn about the area's history and geology.

The knowledgeable staff will provide recommendations based on your interests and the park's current conditions. It's the perfect place to begin your adventure and set the stage for an unforgettable day.

Address: Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center, 19988 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138

An informative display at the Hocking Hills Visitor Center detailing geological weathering and erosion processes. The exhibit includes descriptions and images of natural features such as caves, gorges, waterfalls, and rock shelters, explaining how these formations are created over time. Various diagrams and photos illustrate the text, providing visitors with an educational overview of the area's geological history.

Old Man's Cave

After receiving helpful information from the visitor center, head to the legendary Old Man's Cave.

Named after the hermit Richard Rowe, who lived in the cave in the early 1800s, this area is brimming with natural beauty and fascinating rock formations.

Follow the well-marked trails that wind through the gorge, passing by the upper and lower falls, the “Devil's Bathtub,” and the ‘A-frame' bridge over the gorge.

Take a moment to soak in the peaceful atmosphere and admire the remarkable geological wonders sculpted by time.

One of the best hikes in the Ohio State Parks is the Gorge area near Old Man's Cave.

A view of Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio, showcasing the large, layered rock formations and lush greenery surrounding the area. The scene includes a shallow stream bed with fallen leaves and tall trees, creating a serene and inviting natural landscape. The cave's impressive rock structures and the forest environment offer a peaceful retreat for visitors.

Whispering Cave

Next, navigate the awe-inspiring Whispering Cave via the Whispering Cave Trail. This hidden gem, tucked away within Hocking Hills State Park, is the second-largest recess cave in the area.

As you approach the cave, you'll hear the gentle rush of water flowing from the cavern's mouth.

Don't forget to listen carefully – the cave earned its name because sounds within can be heard whispering through the echoing chambers.

A view of Whispering Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio, featuring a massive rock overhang and a wooden walkway that winds through the cave area. The towering rock formations and dense forest canopy create a dramatic and secluded atmosphere, with sunlight casting patterns on the cave walls. Visitors are seen exploring the cave, adding a sense of scale to the impressive natural structure.

Cedar Falls

End your first day in Hocking Hills with a visit to Cedar Falls. This waterfall cascades down massive sandstone cliffs, surrounded by vegetation and a serene pool of water (depending on the season).

Take a short 1-mile hike along the rim trail, which offers peaceful views. Then, descend to the valley floor and get up close to the waterfall.

Spring season or right after a rainfall is the best time to see the Cedar Falls waterfall.

A scenic view of Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio, without water cascading down a rugged rock face surrounded by lush greenery. The pool at the base of the waterfall is dotted with large rocks, creating a tranquil and picturesque setting in the forest.

Day 2: Hocking Hills

Welcome to Day 2 of your Hocking Hills adventure! Today, we'll explore more of this stunning region's natural wonders and hidden treasures.

Rock House

The first stop of the day is the Rock House. This unique structure is one of Hocking Hills' most fascinating features.

Walking toward the towering cliff face, you'll encounter a small, narrow opening resembling a medieval fortress's entrance. 

Venture inside to discover an otherworldly sight – an impressive corridor lined with roughly hewn windows and a high ceiling. Admire the ancient stone carvings and imagine the history within these walls.

The Rock House is a testament to nature's power and human ingenuity's resilience.

A close-up view of the Rock House in Hocking Hills, Ohio. The image showcases the unique, weathered rock formations creating a natural cave-like entrance. The smooth, layered sandstone walls exhibit various textures and colors, adding to the intriguing and ancient atmosphere of the site.

Cantwell Cliffs

Next, take a journey to the Cantwell Cliffs. This area is less visited as it's about 20 minutes from the Visitor Center. You can choose to walk along the top of the cliffs or in the gorge.

While on the trail, enjoy the towering sandstone cliffs surrounding you, creating tranquility and awe-inspiring beauty.

The rugged terrain and intricate rock formations make this area a favorite among photographers and nature enthusiasts. Take your time exploring the magical atmosphere of Cantwell Cliffs.

A scenic view of Cantwell Cliffs in Hocking Hills, Ohio. The image features towering rock formations with rugged, layered cliffs surrounded by dense greenery and tall trees. A dirt path winds through the forest, offering a peaceful and picturesque hiking experience.

Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve

The final destination for the day is the Conkle's Hollow Nature Preserve. This area features a narrow, deep gorge with 200-foot-tall cliffs on either side.

Follow the well-maintained trail through the forest, passing by unique plant species. Venture deeper into the hollow to reward yourself with stunning views of the Hocking River and the naturally sculpted sandstone cliffs.

The peacefulness and serenity of Conkles Hollow make it an ideal spot for meditation and reflection.

A striking view of Conkle's Hollow in Hocking Hills, Ohio. The scene features a narrow gorge with towering, moss-covered rock walls and a small, thin waterfall cascading down the rocks. Tall trees surround the area, adding to the secluded and serene atmosphere.

Day 3: Hocking Hills

Welcome to the third and final day of your Hocking Hills adventure! Today, we'll discover two more incredible attractions that will leave you lasting memories.

Ash Cave

Our first stop of the day is Ash Cave. This breathtaking natural amphitheater is the largest recess cave in the Hocking Hills area, with a massive horseshoe-shaped cliff towering above.

As you step into the cavern, you'll enjoy a waterfall cascading from the cliff face. Stand in awe as the sunlight filters through the trees and dances along the water, creating a mesmerizing display.

The sheer size and beauty of Ash Cave make it a must-visit spot that will take your breath away.

A wide view of Ash Cave in Hocking Hills, Ohio, showing the massive sandstone overhang and sandy floor beneath. Visitors are seen exploring the cave area, dwarfed by the towering rock formation. Tall trees and lush greenery surround the cave, adding to the natural beauty and serene atmosphere of the location.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours

To end your Hocking Hills adventure on an exhilarating note, we'll head to Hocking Hills Canopy Tours. If you're seeking an adrenaline rush and breathtaking views from a different perspective, this is the place for you. 

Strap on your harness and soar through the treetops on a thrilling ziplining adventure. Feel the wind in your hair and the adrenaline rush as you glide through the lush canopy of trees.

As you zip from platform to platform, take a moment to appreciate the lush beauty and serenity of the Hocking Hills area from this unique vantage point.

It's an unforgettable experience that will leave you feeling exhilarated and accomplished.

a man riding a zip line through a woods
Photo by Nadiia Ganzhyi on Unsplash

After your ziplining adventure, take some time to relax and reflect on your incredible journey through Hocking Hills. Whether you explore more trails, visit local shops and art galleries, or soak in the natural beauty, remember to cherish the moments and create lasting memories.

Hocking Hills has offered you a glimpse into the splendor and magic of nature. As you bid farewell to this beautiful region, take the spirit of Hocking Hills with you, knowing you've experienced a destination like no other.

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.

Bonus Hocking Hills Things to do

If you've got the daily activities done for the day or want to swap some stuff out, here are some other ideas:

Clear Creek Metro Park: Home to the last remaining colonies of rhododendrons in the state and lots of cliffs, ravines, and creeks to explore.

Address: 23233 Clear Creek Rd, Rockbridge, Ohio

Hocking Hills Winery: Weekend evenings feature live music. Tasting options are also available.

Address: 30402 Freeman Road, Logan, Ohio

Fox's High Rock Farm: Home to a petting zoo and gem mining, this is a great family destination to add to your trip.

Address: 14977 OH-664, Logan, Ohio 

Hocking Hills Escape Games: Escape rooms are a great rainy day activity or place to get out of the heat for an hour. The rooms here are designed for ages 13+.

Address: 53 S. Spring Street, Logan, Ohio

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.

Best Places to Eat in the Hocking Hills Region

We've got lots of things to do in the area, but what about some local eats?  Below are a few highly rated places in the area.

Kindred Spirits: Located in an original 1840s log cabin at the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls property, this intimate breakfast and dinner place is seasonally open for lunch. Reservations are recommended.

Address: 21190 State Route 374, Logan, Ohio

Pizza Crossing: This dine-in and carryout pizza place is a local favorite. Beer and wine are available.

Address: 21190 State Route 374, Logan, Ohio

M&M Family Diner: Enjoy breakfast, brunch, or lunch at this family diner. Note that they close at 2 pm.

Address: 34 W. Main St., Logan, Ohio

FAQs: Hocking Hills Itinerary

What are the best hiking trails in Hocking Hills?

Hocking Hills is renowned for its stunning hiking trails that offer breathtaking views and connect you with the area's best views. Some of the best trails to explore include:

  • Old Man's Cave: This trail takes you through a picturesque gorge, past waterfalls, and fascinating rock formations. 
  • Cedar Falls: Explore this trail to witness the beauty of a cascading waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.
  • Conkles Hollow: Traverse the rugged terrain of this nature preserve to enjoy scenic views and unique plant species.
  • Ash Cave: This trail takes you to Ohio's largest recess cave and a stunning waterfall.

What other outdoor activities are available?

Hocking Hills is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a wide range of activities to suit various interests and adventure levels. Apart from hiking and horseback riding, here are a few more exciting activities to consider:

  • Ziplining: Soar through the treetops and experience the thrill of ziplining at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours.
  • Kayaking and Canoeing: Explore the tranquil waters of the Hocking River and enjoy a peaceful outdoor experience.
  • Horseback Riding: Venture out on horseback to a different perspective on the trails.
  • Rock Climbing: Challenge yourself with the exhilarating sport of rock climbing on the stunning sandstone cliffs.
  • Birdwatching: With its diverse habitats, Hocking Hills is a haven for bird species, making it a perfect spot for birdwatching enthusiasts.
A close-up view of the Cedar Falls area in Hocking Hills, Ohio, featuring large, moss-covered boulders and stone steps carved into the rock. The path winds through dense forest and rugged terrain, creating a sense of adventure and natural beauty. Sunlight filters through the trees, highlighting the textures and colors of the rocks and foliage.

Final Thoughts: Hocking Hills Itinerary

As we end our three-day journey in the Hocking Hills area, it's time to reflect on the experiences and beauty encountered along the way.

The Hocking Hills region truly lives up to its reputation as an excellent place for outdoor adventures.

This area offers a captivating blend of natural wonders, from the awe-inspiring rock formations and cascading waterfalls to the lush forests and deep gorges.

Whether you prefer a short hike to witness the power of waterfalls up close or embark on longer treks through the woods, Hocking Hills provides a diverse range of hiking trails that cater to different abilities and interests.

And it's not just hiking that makes Hocking Hills a remarkable destination.

You can also engage in horseback riding adventures, fly through the treetops on thrilling ziplining experiences, or enjoy the tranquility of the Hocking River through kayaking and canoeing.

With so many outdoor activities, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you visit Hocking Hills in the vibrant colors of fall, the serene snowy landscapes of winter, the blooming beauty of spring, or the lush greenery of summer, each season offers unique charm and exploration opportunities.

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Hocking Hills in the Fall

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A promotional image titled "Best Ways to Spend 3 Days in Hocking Hills, OH." The background features a misty, moss-covered rock passage with stone steps leading through the rugged terrain. The text is prominently displayed at the top, and the website "anacreinthecity.com" is shown at the bottom.
A promotional image for a 3-day itinerary in Hocking Hills, Ohio, featuring a stunning waterfall cascading down a moss-covered rock face. The text at the top reads, "3 Day Itinerary for Visiting Hocking Hills, Ohio," and the website "anacreinthecity.com" is displayed at the bottom. The image captures the serene beauty and lush greenery of the waterfall setting.
A promotional image for a 3-day itinerary in Hocking Hills, Ohio, featuring a stunning waterfall cascading down a moss-covered rock face. The text at the top reads, "3 Day Itinerary for Visiting Hocking Hills, Ohio," and the website "anacreinthecity.com" is displayed at the bottom. The image captures the serene beauty and lush greenery of the waterfall setting.

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