This past fall, we visited Hocking Hills, Ohio with some of our good friends. We had previously made day trips to do some hiking because it is located only about an hour south of Columbus, but this was the first time we stayed overnight. There aren’t a lot of hotels in the area, so renting a house or cabin (or camping if you are in to that) is definitely the best option.
Hocking Hills is a great weekend trip if you enjoy spending time outdoors. Hocking Hills is primarily known for hiking, camping, and canoeing/kayaking, but there are other activities such as zip lining, rock climbing, horseback riding, and visiting antique stores and flea markets. You will also find bike rentals, miniature golf, go carts, and even a museum of pencil sharpeners.
What to do
- Old Man’s Cave – Old Man’s Cave is the most popular hiking trail in the Hocking Hills area. On the weekends it can get quite crowded. There are a number of really beautiful photo opportunities along this one mile hike including caves and waterfalls. Note that there are several areas with steep stone steps and significant elevation changes.
- Ash Cave – The hike to Ash Cave is very easy, short, and flat. At the end of the walk you are rewarded with a magnificent cave shelter with a waterfall cascading into a small pond. When we were there we actually saw a small wedding taking place in front of the waterfall.
- Hocking Hills Winery – After a morning of hiking, we visiting the Hocking Hills Winery. They have wine tastings but most of us opted to try one of the wine slushies which were really refreshing on a hot day after hiking. They also have a kitchen that puts out some really tasty food. We thoroughly enjoyed the one of their charcuterie boards. It was quite busy, but there is a lovely outdoor seating area if the weather is nice.
- Brewery 33 – After dinner on Friday, we visited the nearby Brewery 33. The guys sampled the various beers while the ladies played an intense game of Trouble. The brewery is part of the Route 33 Brew Trail which consists of 6 breweries in the Hocking Hills Area.
- Canoeing/kayaking/tubing: We didn’t have time to take advantage of the water on our trip, but next time I hope to do so. There are several companies (Hocking Hills adventures and Fox’s Hocking Hills Canoe Livery among others) that offer rentals and transportation for canoeing, kayaking, and tubing.
- Relax. This is truly a trip that is low-key. In the evenings we enjoyed sitting in the hot tub and catching up. Make sure to just enjoy nature and the company of family and friends.
What to eat
On this trip we generally ate breakfast at the house before leaving and we packed sandwiches for lunch so that we could have a picnic whenever we needed a break from hiking. We did try two local restaurants for dinner and thought the food was really great at both.
- Millstone Southern Smoked Barbecue – This barbecue restaurant was highly recommended. The food was really good and the meat was full of flavor. We unfortunately had terrible service when we visited, but with a 4.4 out of 5 rating on Google, I have to assume it was a fluke.
- The Olde Dutch Restaurant – This place was really cute. You can order off the menu, but I recommend the buffet with seemingly endless food options. The food was quite good and there was an entire table full of different pies and a cooler full of ice cream flavors for dessert.
- The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls Restaurant and the M & M Family Diner are also highly recommended, but we didn’t have time to visit them on this trip.
Have you visited Hocking Hills? What are your favorite things to do?
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