Avoid the crowds

If you're like many of our guests at our cabins, visiting the many Hocking Hills area state parks and nature preserves may be high on your list of plans for when you get here!

If that’s the case, I wanted to share a few “local secrets” about how to make sure you have a great experience visiting the parks, instead of spending most of your day stressed out about crowds!

It is estimated that the Hocking Hills area will see around 5 Million visitors this year, or roughly around 13,000 people a day!

Hocking Hills is one of the top areas to visit in Ohio and made the Forbes top places to travel in 2023, and if you want to try and avoid the crowds or at least spend less time in them, there are a few tips that really come in handy:

  1. Have a clear plan - know what area/hike you want to get to ahead of time, and plan for how to get there. Old Man’s Cave is by far the most popular of the ones so if you want to explore this park the best time to do so is early in the morning or later in the evening. Several of the parks are located close to each other, particularly Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, and Cedar Falls. There are trails that connect these three parks as well if you are into longer hikes - these are not loop trails but if you have more than one vehicle, we recommend parking one car at Old Man’s Cave and another at Ash Cave to save having to hike back on the same trail. Hocking Hills Parks Trail Maps
  2. Earlier or later is better - the best views in the park are in the morning and evening, and the worst of the crowds are usually in late-morning and early afternoon. Beat the crowds by being ready to enter the park when it opens – hours for all parks are from dawn until dusk year round.
  3. All of the parks are FREE! – The great thing about Hocking Hills is that all of the parks are free to enter, and most are dog friendly. Dogs are not permitted at state nature preserves which include Conckle’s Hollow, Rockbridge, Boch Hollow, and most of Clear Creek Metropark.
  4. Get Off the Beaten Path (just a little) - with so many visitors to the area on any given day, you may want to check out some of the less visited parks. Just north of Logan, Boch Hollow is a great choice. Dogs are not permitted as it is a state nature preserve, but the preserve is beautiful and there are a lot less crowds. One of the really cool, less known parts of it is Laurel Falls - you'll need to get a permit here to hike to them, but it is well worth it! Other great, less visited parks that allow you to bring your pup include Lake Hope State Park and Tar Hollow State Park.

Safety in the Hocking Hills area

DO NOT underestimate some of the hikes! There are plenty of easy trails that are short and relaxing, but some of the more difficult ones are longer and have steep cliffs, uneven footing, and lots of elevation changes. Be sure to bring enough water and snacks if you plan on completing any of the longer hikes in the area.