The Caves of Hocking Hills State Park

Welcome to the Atlas Obscura Community discussion of The Caves of Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio. Ask questions or share travel tips, experiences, pictures, or general comments with the community. For the story behind this place, check out the Atlas Obscura entry:

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The park is vast, and beautiful, and one of Ohio’s real treasures. I wanted to correct one piece of information in the article: The park hours are not 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They’re flexible depending on the season. The park never closes before dark, and there are many night hikes and other nighttime programs. Hocking Hills Frequently Asked Questions

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The article mentions Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave prominentaly, but I’d also like throw out more love for the Rock House, which is great for the kids as there’s lots to clamber over and just have fun. It’s a shorter hike to get to it from the parking area.

Also, each January there’s a Winter Hike that starts at the Old Man’s Cave area and makes its way along to Ash Cave. There are usually fantastic ice formations and it’s really an amazing time. They serve free hot cocoa and navy bean soup partway through the hike.

It’s also a great area for antiquing, outdoor adventure stuff like canoeing and zip=lining and the like.

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Hocking Hills is also the inspiration for many of the landscapes of The Valley from the comic series Bone. Creator Jeff Smith had a lot of happy childhood memories of exploring the Old Man’s Cave area.

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Oh that’s an awesome fact! I love Bone. I used to collect it when the issues were coming out!

Ash Cave is the more kid-friendly option, not Rock House. The trail to Ash Cave is about .25 miles of flat, paved path. The cave area is sandy and safe for kids to wander and explore. Rock House trail is a bit longer and down some steep steps. The cave is dark and slippery. Rock House is definitely for older children. My 4-year-old and 6-year-old boys have been to both caves on a regular basis. Even though we are avid hikers and they know the area, I’m stressed when I take them to Rock House. But we love just hanging out and have a relaxing time exploring at Ash Cave. Also, Ash Cave is easy to get to year-round and in all kinds of weather conditions. If you are adventuring in the Hocking Hills and find that it’s raining or sleeting, go to Ash Cave. There’s shelter there. Just take an umbrella or a raincoat for the short walk from the parking area to the cave overhang.

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During warmer months, some parts can seem straight out of the movie Avatar. Be very careful when hiking. Some trails are within steps of cliff edges and there are NO RAILINGS on most of them. Near a parking lot for one such set of trails, there is a medivac helipad FOR A REASON.

Simply spectacular. We visited at the beginning of Fall and there was no water falling. It did not diminish its splendor.

It’s a bit of a ways off the highway and the driving is slow and curvy, but well worth the reward.

Tip: stop at the ice cream shop down the road for some excellent soft-serve in dozens of flavors.

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Hocking Hills reminds me so much of the 1,000 acre Glen Helen Nature Preserve on the campus of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, less than
two hours west. I remember it as one of the most enchanting places anywhere, and I would often explore it as a student at Antioch in the late '70’s.