Grandma Gatewood Hike
Hocking Hills State Park is home to the Grandma Gatewood Hike in honor of Emma Gatewood, an Ohio hiking pioneer. Gatewood endured many hardships and hiked the 2,168-mile Appalachian Trail alone, inspiring many others to overcome great odds of their own.
Bring along a cool drink and celebrate the season’s colors. Hikers traverse the section running from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls and back while enjoying the scenic beauty. This vigorous, naturalist-led hike includes several strenuous uphill climbs and steps and is recommended only for the healthy and fit. The walk is approximately 3 to 4 hours.
Inspired by Emma Gatewood’s life-challenges and her journeys, the Grandma Gatewood Fall Color Hike is one of the park’s more challenging treks. It has a fast pace and covers 6 miles of Old Man’s Cave’s celebrated hilly ups and downs for which the region is known and reflects the type of paths Grandma Gatewood followed. Hocking Hills State Park Naturalist Pat Quackenbush guides the hike and covers Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center to Cedar Falls. The hike has become so popular that there are fewer stops along the way than the regular shorter guided tours. Hikers walk the trail, awed by the wide display of leaf colors, cliff overlooks, rock formations, and waterfalls. You must bring drinks and snacks- 6 miles is a long hike. There are some tough spots (roots, rocks, rough terrain) to pass through. At the end of the program, the park generously offers free marshmallows and s’mores that hikers can cook over an open fire.
Starting Point: Meet with the naturalist at the Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center for a strenuous hike that spans roughly 6 miles of the Grandma Gatewood trail.
Cost: The Event is FREE!
Kid-Friendly? This hike is not well-suited for young children.
Pet Friendly? Non-aggressive pets on leash are allowed on this hike although it is not recommended.
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.