Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Waterfalls and Hiking at Hocking Hills State Park

A healthy mix of nature and city adventure is always on our to-do list. As much as we enjoy exploring cities, we are ecstatic anytime we can sneak away for a dose of nature. When we were visiting Columbus, Ohio, we couldn’t resist heading an hour outside of the city for the waterfalls and hiking at Hocking Hills State Park.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

When we arrived at the Hocking Hills State Park, we saw a sign that dubbed the park to have “the most exciting trails in the state,” so we were looking forward to exploring. There are several miles of trails throughout the park—the longest is six miles and the shortest is ¼ mile. We were a bit confused where the trails started and ended. They all seemed to run together to create several loops throughout the park, so even though a trail shows it’s ½ mile long, you might have to hike a mile to even reach the starting point. That said, we made our way through several of the trails with plenty of stops for photos in around three hours. While we could have spent all day exploring, we were able to see many of the beautiful features the park has to offer in a few hours. Most of the trails are relatively easy; although, you will encounter stairs on numerous trails throughout the park.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

The landscapes at Hocking Hills State Park are absolutely gorgeous. You will find waterfalls, caves, rivers, canyons, stone bridges and more. We were surprised to find such gorgeous landscapes in the middle of Ohio—it seemed as though the views got better with every step we took!

We started out by making our way to Old Man’s Cave. The cave looks large on photos, but photos just don’t do it justice (especially with the mid-morning lighting we encountered). Old Man’s Cave towered above us and it was the perfect introduction for what was to come.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

It didn’t matter where you were standing, the views of the cave were fantastic. We explored the sights under the cave, from the platforms and ledges next to the cave, and from even across the river with the stone arch bridge in the foreground.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

After crossing the stone bridge, we found the trail split in two directions—we turned to the right and decided we would make our way back to explore the trail to the left later. This trail led us to a giant staircase which went up and then back down again. The view we found at the bottom of the staircase was one of my favorites in the park: Lower Falls.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Next up on the trail were even more steps that led to yet another staircase. This portion of the trail led us back to where we started, so we did a bit of backtracking.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

We passed through the Old Man’s Cave area again, but instead of turning right after the bridge, we went left.This portion of the trail ran along the river, and we made our way through tunnels, over bridges and up and down even more steps. I loved how green the scenery was; even the rocks were covered in pretty moss.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

The next waterfall we encountered was Upper Falls and it was framed ever so nicely by a beautiful stone arch bridge. It was such a pretty sight, and a wonderful view to have as one of our last in the park. From there, we made our way up towards the bridge above Upper Falls. From the bridge you can see more waterfalls upriver as well as Upper Falls below.

Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

After pulling ourselves away from the gorgeous views, we were soon back in the parking lot where we started our hike. When we arrived at around 10:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, the parking lot was just over half full. By the time we left, there were cars waiting to find a spot. The crowds were heavy throughout our visit, but we couldn’t believe how many more people were arriving as we got into our car to head back to town. To avoid the crowds, weekday mornings are likely your best bet, but even if you are sharing the views with countless others, they are going to be spectacular no matter what!


We visited Columbus as part of a video project campaign. Special thanks to Travel Mindset and Experience Columbus for hosting us on our adventures through the city. As always, all opinions are our own.

  • Les Petits Pas de Juls
    Posted at 04:33h, 15 September Reply

    Gorgeous, as always!
    I really need to find places like that around the places I live, so I can enjoy Nature in a whole other way. I love hiking but sometimes finds myself away from regular trails and can’t seem to spot the smaller, unknown to the public places that would take me away from what I already know…

    Anyway, thanks for the walk along!
    Some day, I’ll take a US road trip and all your insightful articles will be my support to make awesome stops all around!
    Les Petits Pas de Juls recently posted…Just Another Hike in NormandyMy Profile

  • noel
    Posted at 13:35h, 16 September Reply

    This is one of the parks in Ohio, I really wanted to visit but didn’t have time to do, it is really stunning and will have to go back again when I’m visiting family – gorgeous pictures.

  • Dorene
    Posted at 17:21h, 16 September Reply

    INCREDIBLE PHOTOS! I had no idea Ohio had such beautiful parks. Thanks for the educational journey through the wilderness.

  • Susan R
    Posted at 04:33h, 17 September Reply

    This sounds like such a scenic hike, I particularly like the arched bridge! What fitness level would you say you need? It looks nice and gentle

  • Patricia
    Posted at 11:48h, 17 September Reply

    Your pictures are fantastic! I love Hocking Hills! I haven’t been there in probably 20 years (yikes!), but I remember it fondly as a place we used to go when I was a kid. I remember Old Man’s Cave and the scenery is just incredible. I love Ohio parks, but this one really is special The waterfalls and the arches and bridges really do capture the imagination. 🙂
    Patricia recently posted…Adding Ruidoso, New Mexico to Our 2018 Travel PlansMy Profile

  • Rosemary
    Posted at 15:27h, 18 September Reply

    What a beautiful hike. The waterfalls are spectacular. I love that there is a mix of hikes allowing you to extend or shorten your hike. Amazing pictures. Have yet to visit Hocking Hills and would love to one of these days! Great article and thanks for sharing.

  • Christopher
    Posted at 16:06h, 18 September Reply

    The waterfalls are spectacular. I do think I’ve seen anything that looks this beautiful. I love the steps and bridges are incorporated with everything else. Such a beautiful place. It definitely going on my to go to list for sure!!!

  • Eve Kay
    Posted at 09:01h, 19 September Reply

    I grew up partly in the Midwest but looking at your pictures, I’m ashamed I’ve never made it to Ohio even though I was just pretty close to it. Never realize there is a beautiful falls like this. Looks really gorgeous!

  • Katherine
    Posted at 14:28h, 19 September Reply

    Hocking Hills is absolutely stunning! The waterfalls are particularly spectacular. I had never really thought about travelling to the area but will certainly add it to must list of places to visit when I am next in America.

  • Mia Herman
    Posted at 19:10h, 19 September Reply

    Upper Falls is absolutely stunning! I would love to see this because even though the pictures are gorgeous, I bet it’s even more beautiful in person. The staircases are very cool too. I don’t know how many I could climb but I’d try to make it through as much of the park as possible. What a great place to visit!

  • Jessica
    Posted at 21:26h, 19 September Reply

    These waterfalls are gorgeous! This is the great part out the United States: there are so many great parks. Didn’t know about Hocking Hills. If I ever make it to Columbus will head out there!

  • Kell
    Posted at 19:48h, 24 October Reply

    WOW! That place looks incredible.
    Kell recently posted…The Great Ocean Road AttractionsMy Profile

  • Stewart stubbs
    Posted at 03:49h, 10 February Reply

    I am visiting this area in August from the UK. Could you please tell me where to find the car park you mention, is it easily found? I became intrigued when the beautiful falls were a screen saver on my PC.

    • Jenna Kvidt
      Posted at 20:49h, 23 February Reply

      The parking is right at the entrance of the park and we didn’t have any trouble finding it! If you put in the address to the park it should bring you right to the lot. Hope you have a great trip–it’s a really beautiful area!
      Jenna Kvidt recently posted…Hotel de Glace: Sleeping in an Ice Hotel in QuebecMy Profile

  • Angela
    Posted at 16:05h, 19 November Reply

    One of my old weekend escapes when living in Cleveland. You captured it beautifully.

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