Where the Atlantic Ocean once ebbed and flowed, from pre-historic deposits of sand and gravel basins lies a landscape of earthen beauty and natural wonders. Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park is an impressive park sporting a wide variety of natural scenery. From teeming woodlands to the trademark chasm, Old Man’s Cave, an unforgettable trip awaits!
Hocking Hills State Park Facts
The first step towards a memorable adventure is a little background history. Get ready for your next journey with these Hocking Hills State Park Facts!
The park’s name comes from Hocking River, which was initially named Hockhocking by the Wyandot tribe that lived there.
The name Hockhocking translates to gourd or bottle-shaped, which describes the shape of the gorge formed by the river’s upper falls.
Old Man’s Cave, the park’s most popular attraction, got its name thanks to hermit Richard Rowe. He made this area his home and was buried beneath a ledge in the cave’s central location.
Around 330 million years ago, the area was completely covered by the Atlantic Ocean. Massive deposits of sand and gravel were left behind.
These deposits combined with the formation of the Appalachian mountains to create the park features as they exist today.
A widely-celebrated comic book series, Bone, is often set in a locale called Old Man’s Cave. The art and setting there were inspired by Hocking Hills State Park.
Native Americans settled the area as far back as 7,000 years ago to take advantage of the region’s abundant natural resources.
Best Hocking Hills Campgrounds
Your first step in planning an awesome trip to Hocking Hills State Park is finding your ideal campsite! For your perfect home on the road, check out our list of the best Hocking Hills State Park RV sites.
Hocking River RV Park
Amenities: Hocking River is a simple and small park for those looking for a quaint Hocking Hills campground. It’s a very affordable campsite for budget-conscious travelers. There are 30 and 50 amp hookup sites, a shower house, and all sites are located on the Hocking River for a nice view.
Capacity: 29 sites
More Information: Hocking River RV Park
Logan / Hocking Hills KOA
Amenities: Logan / Hocking Hills KOA is a highly rated spot among Hocking Hills State Park RV campgrounds. The grounds are well-maintained and packed with all the amenities you’ll need. Each site has 50 amp hookups, Wi-Fi, a shared kitchen, and clean restrooms. This is a great choice for families, too — check out their RC car race track!
Capacity: 174 sites
More Information: Logan / Hocking Hills KOA
Lakeview RV Park
Amenities: Lakeview RV Park is one of the RV campgrounds near Hocking Hills State Park that offers unique amenities along with a lakeside view. All RV sites have 30 and 50 amp hookups and Wi-Fi. Their propane and sewage stations make for a convenient stopping point before hitting the road again. The main draw here is water activities like on-site diving and glass-bottom boat rentals.
Capacity: 70 sites
More Information: Lakeview RV Park
High Rock Hideaways Campground
Amenities: For RV campgrounds near Hocking Hills State Park that promise a gorgeous view, check out High Rock Hideaways. Hide Rock Hideaways is conveniently located just 10 minutes away from Old Man’s Cave. This is the prime choice for a Hocking Hills RV rental if having the breadth of nature just outside your doorstep while ensuring some peace and quiet is your priority. Private hiking trails on the site mean you can have a way to avoid the crowds of the park if needed. Each of the four RV sites here comes with a ton of open space and privacy. Keep in mind that there are no shared restrooms available.
Capacity: 4 sites
More Information: High Rock Hideaways Campground
Hocking Hills Jellystone RV Park
Amenities: If you’re looking for the perfect spot for a family vacation with younger children, Jellystone is the best choice among Hocking Hills State Park RV campgrounds. Their commitment to providing a beautiful ground with kid-friendly activities is sure to delight. There are shared restrooms, 30 and 50 hookups, kid’s play areas, and plenty of open space and picturesque scenery here.
Capacity: 92 sites
More Information: Hocking Hills Jellystone RV Park
Best Time To Visit Hocking Hills Campgrounds
Now that your home base is set, it’s time to figure out a date. Our seasonal guide below has everything you’ll need to know to pick the best time for RVers to go Hocking Hills camping.
Winter might not be your first choice for RV camping near Hocking Hills State Park, but there’s no need to fear the cold Ohio winters. Winter temperatures in Hocking Hills State Park range from the mid-30s to the mid-50s.
When visiting Hocking Hills State Park in the winter, there’s much to do, like ice fishing, sledding, ice skating, or even hiking. The low intensity of the wind and sparse crowds make winter the most peaceful and quiet time to enjoy nature.
If you’re interested in wildflower viewing while RV camping in Hocking Hills State Park, spring might be the season for you. Aim for March through early June to take in violets, columbines, bluebells, and more.
The weather in spring hovers around a pleasant 60 degrees in the daytime. Additionally, the spring is the rainiest season averaging about 8 to 10 days of rain per month, so bring storm gear. The upside is that the increased rainfall makes the park’s waterfalls an even more impressive site. Don’t miss out on them!
Don’t neglect the summer months for Hocking Hills camping — the weather is perfect for a summer adventure. The summer heat is bearable, with temperatures peaking in the 80s.
Summer is without question the best time for adventures in the water, like kayaking or canoe trips. Hiking is still a great summer activity since a lot of trails in the park are shaded nicely. Expect a healthy crowd, so plan and book early if a summer visit is right for you.
Fall must be the most beautiful season for RV camping near Hocking Hills State Park. The foliage turns a diverse and rich palette of auburn, gold, and red. The gorgeous fall atmosphere perfectly accentuates one of the park’s many scenic trails.
The fall temperature holds steady at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit; however, it can get brisk in the evening, so pack some extra layers. With such moderate temperatures and colorful scenery, fall is a great time to see the park from a bird’s eye view. You have a few options to do that via ziplining, a hot air balloon ride, or even a scenic drive.
Things To Do In Hocking Hills State Park
This diverse and exciting place has no shortage of sites to see and adventures waiting for you. Our handy list of things to do in Hocking Hills State Park has lively options to get you started.
Visit Old Man’s Cave. This massive recess is a wondrous sight to behold. The rock here has been slowly cut down by the gorge’s creek. Besides taking atmospheric photos, you can see interesting rock formations of subterranean earth here.
Go winter hiking. Winter hiking in the park is something special. The sense of solitude and quiet, along with the pretty snow-crusted landscape, can be a transcendent experience. Just avoid late December to mid-January since the temperatures can be frigid.
Ride a zipline. For a uniquely exhilarating thrill, try one of the park’s zipline rides. Get a view of the landscape from the forest canopy as you feel the wind rushing past. This is a great choice for fall to see the breadth of the autumn foliage.
Try a guided horseback riding tour. Visit one of the stables around the park for a journey through the park as early settlers may have once seen it — on horseback! This could be fun for the whole family or a unique way to enjoy Ohio’s natural scenery.
Practice archery. Hocking Hills State Park has an archery range with static targets and 3D targets. It is open from sunrise to sunset year-round, but guests must bring their own equipment.
Go kayaking. Hocking Hills offers campers 300 feet of shore access to the Rose Lake. There are many places to hand-launch your kayak or canoe for an afternoon on the water.
Go hunting. You are allowed to hunt in designated areas in Hocking Hills State Park and in the adjacent Hocking State Forest. You will need a valid Ohio hunting license to hunt.
Fish in the lake. Cast a line in the 17-acre Rose Lake, and maybe you’ll catch rainbow trout, channel catfish, bass, or bluegill. In the winter, with proper conditions, you can even go ice fishing!
Best Hikes in Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and offers some of the best hiking experiences in the region. With its stunning rock formations, lush forests, cascading waterfalls, and numerous trails to explore, it's no wonder that Hocking Hills is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. Here's a guide to the best hiking in Hocking Hills State Park:
Old Man's Cave: Old Man's Cave is perhaps the most iconic and popular destination in Hocking Hills. The trail takes you through a narrow gorge lined with towering sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and caves. The "Old Man's Cave" itself is a massive recess cave with a waterfall, and the trail continues on to "Lower Falls" and "Upper Falls," offering scenic viewpoints along the way.
Ash Cave: Ash Cave is the largest recess cave in the park and is easily accessible by a short, wheelchair-friendly trail. The massive horseshoe-shaped recess cave is incredibly impressive, and the seasonal waterfall that flows over the rim is a sight to behold. The trail to Ash Cave is an easy walk, making it suitable for visitors of all ages and abilities.
Cedar Falls: Cedar Falls is another must-see attraction in Hocking Hills. The trail to Cedar Falls takes you through a dense forest and descends into a gorge. Once you reach the falls, you'll be treated to a magnificent 50-foot waterfall cascading over moss-covered rocks. The lush greenery and serene atmosphere make this a favorite spot for photographers.
Conkle's Hollow: For those seeking a more challenging hike, Conkle's Hollow offers a rugged and rewarding experience. The gorge trail here takes you deep into a narrow gorge with towering cliffs on either side. The trail is steep in places but offers some of the most stunning scenery in the park, including a towering waterfall at the end.
Rock House: Rock House is a unique cave-like formation in Hocking Hills, known as the only true cave in the park. The trail to Rock House leads you through a narrow gorge and into the cave, where you can explore the dark passageways and take in the otherworldly atmosphere. Be sure to bring a flashlight if you plan to venture deep into the cave.
Hemlock Bridge Trail: This less-crowded trail takes you through a tranquil forest filled with hemlock trees and rhododendrons. The highlight of this trail is the picturesque Hemlock Bridge, which spans a serene creek. It's an ideal hike for those looking for a quieter, more contemplative experience.
Whispering Cave: This newer addition to the park offers a unique and stunning natural feature. The trail takes you to Whispering Cave, a massive recess cave with a waterfall that tumbles down into a large, serene basin. The overlook above the cave provides fantastic views and photo opportunities.
Remember to check the park's website for trail conditions and closures, as they can vary depending on weather and maintenance. Hocking Hills State Park is a gem in the Midwest, offering some of the best hiking experiences in Ohio. Whether you're a novice hiker or an experienced adventurer, there's a trail in Hocking Hills waiting for you to explore its natural wonders.
Tips on Visiting Hocking Hills State Park
Before you set off on your trip, keep these tips on visiting Hocking Hills State Park in mind to make sure your stay is a pleasant one.
Carry a flashlight. A few of the trails wind through caves with little natural light. If you’re exploring a bit later than you intend to, a flashlight could be a lifesaver.
Book weekdays. The park is extremely popular with locals, so a weekday trip could mean a more sparsely inhabited visit.
Pack extra water. The trails can be a bit strenuous in parts, so make sure you’ve got enough water to last you.
There is no internet access at all, so make sure you’ve planned well in advance.
Download the Hocking Hills offline map for ease of planning and in case of an emergency.
Bring your own paper map, too! Some visitors report having a hard time finding resources to navigate with.
RV Rental for Hocking Hills Camping
Photo Credit: Instagram User @f_o_n_z
For a Hocking Hills State Park RV rental good enough to call home, Cruise America’s got you covered!
Their line of RVs is suitable for any party size or budget. From RV newbies to seasoned road warriors, you’re sure to find the perfect fit for your next adventure.
Book a Hocking Hills RV rental today!