Saturday, May 2, 2015

Hocking Hills State Park, OH

Hocking Hills State Park - Ohio State Parks
Hocking State Forest - ODNR Division of Forestry

GPS Coordinates:  39.436674, -82.539780
Huge parking lot.  You need to start at sunrise to have the place to yourself.

Hocking Hills State Park Hiking Trails - Ohio State Parks  (This map does not show all of the trails but does show the trail taken for this hike.)
Hocking Hills State Park, OH at EveryTrail

5.7 miles one way from Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave
We did this as a shuttle hike since we had friends in the area who met us at Ash Cave and drove us back to the car.

Enter at the far end of the parking lot near the restrooms and follow the signs towards Old Man's Cave and Lower Falls.  There are no trail blazes or markers in this area.
A view of the gorge from a bridge above.
Heading into the gorge.
The gorge from inside Old Man's Cave.
Sphynx Head in the upper right.
It's at this point where the blue blazes of the Grandma Gatewood/Buckeye Trail begin. (Blue blaze center of picture above the bench.)
Continue on following blue blazes and signs to Cedar Falls.
We were way down in a deep gorge.
Along this stretch the trail is also marked by posts.
I believe this is a Louisiana Waterthrush - too dark in the gorge to get a clear picture.
What a mass of tree roots!
These maps are placed throughout and are more helpful than the online maps.  The red trail is the Upper Gorge Trail which can be used to form a loop between Old Man's Cave and Cedar Falls.
A boardwalk leads the way behind this waterfall.
Behind the waterfall.
Passing another waterfall.
At the Cedar Falls area, the first trail marker I saw that identifies the trail as the Buckeye Trail.  It does get confusing in this area between the lack of markers/blazes and closed trails.
We headed on to Cedar Falls first before backtracking to the Cedar Falls parking lot.
Cedar Falls
This is where things get confusing.  We backtracked and followed the sign to the parking lot. From here there is nothing to show where the trail continues away from Cedar Falls.  I turned around and cut through the island picnic area...
... and found the next marker back in the trees, not at all visible from the parking lot.
The trail continues on a service road and everything is well-marked from this point on.
The trail enters Hocking State Forest and although it is not as wild as the gorge, it is very quiet and pretty.
The trail passes a fire tower that was way too open for my liking so I passed on even trying to climb it.
The trail descends into a gorgeous hemlock grove.
At the top of Ash Cave the trail markers/blazes come to an end.  Continue on and look for the long flight of steps on the right leading down to ...
Ash Cave
And here are our friends waiting for us at the end!  They even had a picnic table with snack and drinks set up for us.  Yes, for Shawnee, too!


  1. I attended Ohio State University and used to frequent Hocking Hills Sate Park. It was a beautiful place then and your pictures made it look even better than what I remember. It was a pleasure to see Shawnee enjoying the experience with you.

    1. What a small world! How lucky you were to be so close. The pictures don't even do it justice. What an absolutely gorgeous area. Shawnee is in a post-hike coma right now and probably will be for the rest of the week. Three fairly challenging hikes in one week was a lot for her but when I went to put away the hiking gear today (well, actually move it into the basement so I can sneak out without her since she has had enough for the next week at least) she was up and ready to go. It was hard to convince her we were not going today.


  2. This looks like a great place. The pictures were very nice. Shawnee looks great. You are both blessed to have each other. thanks for sharing. Joanne