Hocking Hills Region Parks
Old Man's Cave
The most popular of all the Hocking areas is Old Man's Cave, located on State Route 664. Here at the Upper Falls, the Grandma Gatewood Trail begins its six-mile course connecting three of the park's areas: Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave. This same trail has been designated as part of Ohio's Buckeye Trail as well as part of two national systems - the North Country Scenic Trail and America's Discovery Trail
In the southernmost reaches of Hocking Hills is Ash Cave - beyond doubt the most spectacular feature of the entire park. Ash Cave is the largest, most impressive recess cave in the state.
Cedar Falls itself is the greatest waterfall in terms of volume in the Hocking Hills Region. During late Winter thru early Summer months Queer Creek tumbles over the face of the Blackhand sandstone displaying the awesome force of water power. The staircase descending gently down the hillside leading from the parking lot to Cedar Falls, named Democracy Steps, was designed by Japanese artist, architect and mathematician Akio Hizume.
Conkles Hollow, situated off S.R. 374 on Big Pine Road is a rugged, rocky gorge - considered one of the deepest in Ohio. The valley floor is a veritable wilderness covered by a profusion of ferns and wildflowers while hemlock, birch and other hardwood tower overhead.
Cantwell Cliffs is located in the northern reaches of Hocking Hills - 17 miles from Old Man's Cave on S.R. 374. Its remote location discourages visitation, but those who travel the extra distance will not be disappointed. Many visitors proclaim the Cantwell area as the most picturesque in Hocking County.
Rock House is unique in the Hocking Hills Region, as it is the only true cave in the park. It is a tunnel-like corridor situated midway up a 150-foot cliff of Blackhand sandstone. Rock House is a favorite during the Summer months because of the cool nature of the massive rocks.
Clear Creek (Metro Park)
Over 1200 plant species have been identified in Clear Creek. Among the standouts are mountain laurel, little gray polypody, maidenhair ferns, horsetail, pink ladyslipper, skunk cabbage, witch hazel, American chestnut, and persimmon trees. Much to the dismay of the political insiders who purchased what might have been lake front property around the borders of the park, this magnificant gorge remains dam free for the public to enjoy.
Hocking County's natural rock bridge is the largest of three such formations in Ohio. The 100-foot-long span, formed from Blackhand sandstone, looms 45 feet above the bottom of the gorge below.
The lake has abundant populations of large mouth bass, bluegill, crappie, northern pike and saugeye, plus channel, flathead and bullhead catfish. Lake Logan is over 400 acres and offers a 530 foot beach for sunbathers and swimmers. Canoes, kayaks, and fishing boats are available for rental during the Summer months.
Just over the Hocking-Vinton County line near the junction of State Route 56 and 278. Rich in natural scenic beauty and recreational opportunities. The park offers camping, cabins, swimming, and canoeing. Prior to its recent destruction The Stone Terrace Restaurant, located in the park's lodge, was rated as the ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation's number one dining facility in the state. As of this time, the ODNR has no plans to replace the restaurant.
Recreation facilities include the 15-acre Pine Lake which is a favorite among local fishermen. The lake also offers a swimming beach as well as paddle boat rentals during the Summer months. Scattered amoung the park are some of the best shelter houses in th e area for large family and group outtings.
Hocking State Forest
One of the special attractions of the Hocking State Forest area is the natural vegetation. Plant species commonly found farther north mix with typically southern species to provide and unusual variety of native plant life and associated wildlife. Virginia and pitch pines, sasafras, and black, scarlet, white and chestnut oaks grow on the generally dry ridge areas. Hemlock, beech, black birch, red and sugar maples, yellow poplar, white ash, red oak, basswood and hickories grow in cool gorges, moist coves and on slopes.
Wayne National Forest
Wayne National Forest is the only national forest in Ohio and is clustered in three areas. The northwestern cluster primarily spreads across Athens, Hocking and Perry Counties. The grounds include many areas that were strip mined in the late 1800s. Accordingly, the forest includes areas experiencing various degrees of reforestation. The Wayne National Forest boasts more than 2,000 species of plants, including hardwoods, pine and cedar as well as an endangered species, running buffalo clover. Wildlife includes bobcats, coyotes, eagles, hawks, osprey, wild turkey, turkey-vultures and songbirds as well as deer and beaver.