Hocking Hills Parks
Hocking Hills Ash Cave is a handicapped park with a sidewalk all the way back to the falls traveling though an impressive gorge. This is the most spectacular park as far as viewing the massive recess cave. It is the largest in the State of Ohio. You begin in this park through a gorge full of hemlocks and many varieties of hardwood trees. The wildflowers are some of the most delicate you'll see in the area. This path is about 1/4 mile long. It ends at the beginning of a massive horse-shoe shaped cave measuring 700 feet from end to end and 100 feet deep. The rim rises 90 feet high where a breathtaking waterfall emerges from the Queer Creek a small tributary. Ash Cave is named after the large piles of ashes found by early settlers as they passed through. The ashes were thought to be built up from Indian campfires for hundreds of years. Ash Cave was a workshop for Indians as they did a variety of chores and a shelter for travelers passing through. There is much history of the trails that forked through this area with one of the more popular Indian trial that is now Rt. 56. In more recent years it was a meeting place for local villages. Pulpit Rock at the park entrance was a place for local Church services. Ash Cave is also known for its acoustics. Two spots under the recess have the qualities of a "whispering gallery". You can stay on the tranquil gorge and meander along or adventure to the rim and have an amazing view overlooking the gorge. Across the road is a shelter house and picnic tables. You may reserve the shelter house for group gatherings. Check out the Park schedule for concerts, romantic evening walks, and other events at this amazing location.
Cantwell Cliffs is located in the northern section of the Hocking Hills. It is one of the less visited park areas, but one of the most fun for true hikers. There are steep cliffs and rock shelter under a large cliff. The trail winds around narrow passageways and over fallen rocks. The most famous is the "Fat Woman's Squeeze". There are many steps chiseled in the rock and only the young at heart will enjoy this aerobic workout. The coloring in the rock is truly worth viewing. Here the iron oxide has colored the sandstone in brilliant dark red and brown. You may choose the valley trail or go for the more challenging rim. The view from Lookout Point on the East Rim Trail is well worth the walk.
Hocking Hills Cedar Falls is the most austere area in the Hocking Hills. This area is full of aged hemlocks and steep cliffs throughout. You wonder down and around lower and lower until you come to a creek area. There you will cross a couple of bridges that will lead you to the main attraction. Cedar Falls has the most volume of water flow as area waterfalls go. You will be astounded by the thunder it creates after a rain fall. The sound is heard in the parking area and leads you to this amazing view; where you can not get enough camera shots taken. There is legend of Indians coming here for prayers. As you view the falls you will see outlines in the rock of a buffalo, a raven, a bear, and a wolf head. This is by far a very popular location to visit and there is a trail taking you to Old Man's Cave or Ash Cave. There is a large shelter and picnic tables to enjoy. This is also a perfect wedding site for those that want an intimate destination wedding.
The Clear Creek Metro Park is the furthest northern park in Hocking Hills, OH. This is a park to view by foot or driving. You can begin off Rt. 33 and meander back through the park area as you drive through the valley along the picturesque Clear Creek. The beauty of this valley is a combination of prairies and Appalachian forests. Canadian Hemlocks are throughout the Clear Creek Park. The wetlands are also a home for many waterfowl. The valley makes home to over 1200 identified plant species and 150 plus bird species. Even beavers have found a home in the amazing park. As you drive along you will find several pullover sites that allow you to get out and hike a variety of trails. Winding up a magnificent hill you will discover many picnic tables and a shelter house sitting among enormous hardwood trees. There are Nature Programs given by the Naturalists throughout the year. These may include a guided hike throughout the area. Fishing and Hunting are also for you to enjoy. License and permits are required. Check with the local Ranger Station in the park for details.
Hocking Hills Conkle's Hollow is a Natural Preserve is is in the mid section of the Hocking Hills Region. It is a very rugged rocky gorge and thought to be one of the deepest in Ohio. The gorge trail is a Handicapped trail about a 1/2 mile back. The growth is so thick very little sunlight shows through in many spots. As you follow this trail you spend much time looking up at the enormous hemlocks that tower above you. The tall cliffs reach 200 feet high and at the back of the trail only 300 ft wide. This a perfect place to visit on a hot Summer day. You will feel the drop in temperature as you walk further into this gorge. A truly pleasant experience. The adventurous hiker will appreciate the rim trail. You will view some of the highest cliffs in the area. This trail will circle over the gorge and you will be speechless as you take in the valley. This hike is not for those afraid of heights, lacking in endurance, or young children. There is a tale of hidden money that was stolen years ago and hid in Conkle's Hollow. This hollow was named for W.J. Hollow that left his name and date 1797 carved in the sandstone on the west wall of the gorge. You can read the tale when you arrive at this park. Outside the hiking trails is a large meadow with mature trees to picnic and relax with family and friends.
Lake Logan is well stocked public lake for all avid fishermen. There is a boat dock and rentals along the shores. But take caution to the "no speed boats" on this lake. This is for the casual relaxed boater that is more interested in counting ripples then waves. Along with boating and fishing there is an intimate beach for small groups or a family outing. There are picnic tables to enjoy a meal. Keep an eye on the area fowl for some are quite the beggars. You will be amazed at the swans and majestic blue herons that make this their home. You may also be lucky enough to catch a sighting of a faithful eagle in flight. You will find this lake just minutes from the Hocking Hills Welcome Center right off Rt. 33.The soils at and around Lake Logan are full of clay. Using the clay to manufacture clay products still goes on today.
Old Man's Cave is the most popular in the Hocking Hills Region. The name comes from a hermit named Richard Rowe who lived in the large recessed cave in the gorge. He came to the area from the Cumberland Mountains around 1796 and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave. This cave area can be divided into five sections. They are the Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and Lower Gorge. Throughout each section you see how 150 feet of Black Hand sandstone was cut out by the flowing creek. Hocking Hills Old Man's Cave allows visitors to peer into the earths subsurface. this gorge is approximately 1/2 mile. It also has trails linking to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. In January there is a traditional Winter Hike that draws thousands to enjoy the majestic ice formations that hang from cliffs. This is just one reason this park is the favorite of many. There is a snack and gift shop. Plus the naturalists put on many nature programs to enjoy.
Rockbridge is just off Rt. 33. You will be astound at this natural marvel. You will begin your trip hiking through a meadow then into a woods. At the far end on the woods you will meet up with this unbelievable structure. It is an all rock bridge. One of 12 in Ohio. It originated millions of years ago as Ohio lay under a warm inland sea. Rivers flowed through carrying grained sand. Over centuries the sand hardened and thickened. It is known as Black Hand Sandstone also located throughout the Hocking Hills region. When pressure beneath the earth caused the land in Eastern-North America to rise the Appalachian mountains were formed. The inland sea drained and the bridge emerged above ground. This of course took years of erosion of the sandstone. Today we have standing an arch of rock about 100 feet long and 10 to 20 feet wide. It is the largest in Ohio. The Natural Bridge trail is one mile. You may also take in the bridge as you canoe down the Hocking River.
Rock House is the only true cave in the Hocking Hills region. It sets about 150 feet up a cliff. This house of rock has a ceiling as tall as 25 feet and 200 feet of corridor. It stretches 20 to 30 feet wide. There are seven gothic windows carved from erosion. Columns throughout show just how water has played a huge part in the formation of this cave. This cave was used by Native Americans for shelter. The smaller recesses were used for ovens to bake hominy. Rock House was frequently visited by robbers, thieves, and bootleggers. It got the nickname of "Robbers Roost". In the Picnic shelter area in 1835 Colonel FF Rempel of Logan built a 16 room hotel with ballroom, livery stable, and Post Office. This is one of kind in the area and a must see. Be aware that the terrain is difficult and many stairs to climb. It is all worth it as you enter this amazing cave and feel and see all the history of man and nature.
Tar Hollow Park is located to the west among deep ravines and dense forests. Short leaf and pitch pines are throughout and were a source of Pine Tar. The name Tar Hollow is derived from this use. The forests are full of hardwoods such as oak, hickory, buckeye, and silver maple. Tar Hollow is also well known for the Spring time delight of wild mushrooms. People come from all around in search for these delicious morsels. Along with numerous wildlife the Timber Rattle Snake and Wild Turkeys are abound. Many Indian Tribes enjoyed these lands and early settlers founded the near-by settlement of Chillicothe our first Ohio Capital. You will find this area makes a great drive and as well as the outdoors man can enjoy nature at its best.
American Heartland Cabins
16360 Kreashbaum Road
Rockbridge, OH 43149