I’ve lived in Ohio most of my life. My family is from here. I grew up here. Yet I think I may be the only Ohioan who has never been to Hocking Hills. I blame my disenchanted youth, living for a time in neighboring Nelsonville where, as a perpetual city dweller, I felt boxed in by all the trees (and subsequently suffocated by them…all tall and arrogant…) I had no desire to seek them out. I’m not a particularly rustic individual. 


So at twenty eight years old I thought it was high time I partook in this sacred rite of passage. Boyfriend and I went to the Hocking Hills State Park to hike Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls (about 3 miles from one to the other.) There’s tons of trails you can follow, and one could easily make an entire day of it. But we are lazy, lazy people. 

Old Man’s Cave & Cedar Falls
The park is just unbelievably beautiful. I can’t believe such a place exists in Ohio and it’s taken me this long to see it. High cliffs, deep gorges, waterfalls. It’s a (not so) hidden gem in Ohio tourism. We had a great time exploring it all. I wish we could have seen more of it, but that just gives us more reason to come back. 

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

―Henry David Thoreau


A few tips: Park wisely depending on what you want to see. Don’t be like us, who learned 3 miles later that we could have parked right next to Cedar Falls. Wear good hiking shoes. I suggest bringing a backpack with water and snacks. Also the trail is marked, but sometimes it’s fun to make up your own as you go (within reason. Don’t try and parkour over everything like Boyfriend…)

To plan a trip, you can find itinerary suggestions for hiking, food and lodging on the official tourism website or hockinghills.com

Written by Rebecca Ritchey
Your resident book eater.