There is no off-season in the Hocking Hills: the park is open all year long, and its beauty lasts all seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. Here is a favorite but less-traveled hike that is beautiful in fall and winter. This path goes deep into Division of Forestry and is thick with woodland and streams. Watch for white-tailed deer, listen to the chipping-chatter of territorial chipmunks, and perhaps even hear a barred owl call!
Begin: Parking at Ash Cave 27291 State Route 56, South Bloomingville, OH 43152 | GPS Tracking: (39.395993,-82.545927)
This hike starts at Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio and goes to Cedar Falls, passing the Hocking State Forest fire tower along the way where hikers can climb to the top for a beautiful vista view. The trail is one-way and out and back which means hikers turn around at Cedar Falls and return on the same path.
It is about ¼ mile through Ash Cave and 2.3 miles to Cedar Falls, a total out and back of about 5 miles round trip.
The trail is only used by foot hikers. Pets are allowed. The path is level to Ash Cave (from the parking lot, hikers will have to cross State Route 56, but there is a light). After the cave, a series of steps takes hikers to the top of the cave, where a left is made to head toward the fire tower and Cedar Falls (going right will take hikers to the parking lot and is the way out after the hike). Hikers will follow a rugged, worn dirt path until it runs into a wide old forestry service road with some rock base. A sign denotes the fire tower and is easily seen. The trail continues after the tower and through a parking lot across Chapel Ridge Road, where a dirt path continues and eventually connects with Forestry Road again. At Cedar Falls, hikers cross the parking lot roadway and continue at the entranceway, which is easy to find as it is across from the large restrooms. At Cedar Falls, the trail loops back to the parking area, where hikers can return to Ash Cave.
Pass the firetower and perhaps, walk to the top for a birds-eye view!
Take a hike and get a look at the trail from Ash Cave to Cedar Falls!
There are seven major hiking areas in Hocking Hills State Park - All are one-way trail systems.
Ash Cave, Old Man's Cave, Rock House, Conkle's Hollow, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, and Whispering Cave Trail. These park areas offer a unique experience for those who walk its paths no matter what season (the park is open year-round from dawn to dusk)—located on the southern edge of Hocking County. But those are just a handful. There are many hiking trails in the Hocking Hills include those at Wayne National Forest, Clear Creek Metro Parks, Lake Hope State Park, Vinton County Park District's Moonville Tunnel, and Hocking College's Robbins Crossing (with park programs) and the Athens Hock-Hocking Adena Rail Trail bikeway.