Skip to Content

18 Fun Things to do in Hocking Hills for All Ages

The Hocking Hills region in Ohio encompasses Hocking County and surrounding towns. It’s a gorgeous destination in southeastern Ohio to visit no matter the season!

If you’re planning a trip to Hocking Hills, this post will help you discover unique things to do, the best hiking trails in Hocking Hills and where to see breathtaking scenery at every turn!

Hocking Hills is a mecca for outdoor activities, but there are other things to do in Hocking Hills besides hiking, so read on to find out what, where and how to explore this beautiful region in southeast Ohio!

Where is Hocking Hills?

Located in Southeastern Ohio, the Hocking Hills region is in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Part of the Allegheny Plateau, it encompasses Hocking County and a few surrounding towns like Logan, Laurelville, Nelsonville and parts of Fairfield County.

We’re based in Columbus, Ohio so it’s just a 1 hour drive for us. It’s pretty incredible to see where a 1 hour drive can take you and be amazed just how different the scenery is from downtown Columbus to the heart of Hocking Hills! If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Columbus, a trip to Hocking Hills is hard to top!

Upper Falls at Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park.

Once you’re in the Hocking Hills region, you’ll find that a lot of destinations are about a 20 minute drive from each other. Get used to the idea that you may need to allow for a short drive in between hiking destinations, restaurants and local towns, but it will be a scenic drive for sure!

Read on to find out some of the best things to do in the Hocking Hills area!

1. Stop in at the Hocking Hills Welcome Centers

There are three Hocking Hills Welcome Centers in the region. These welcome centers provide maps, tons of brochures about local attractions in the area and Travel Counselors who can answer any questions about things to do on your visit to Hocking Hills!

Hocking Hills Welcome Center in Laurelville.

If you’re coming to Hocking Hills without much of an agenda, you may want to stop at one of these Welcome Centers first to get your bearings!

The locations of the three centers are as follows:

  • Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center, 13178 St. Rt. 664 S., Logan, OH 43138
  • Hocking Hills Visitor Center at Laurelville, 16197 Pike St, Laurelville, OH 43135
  • Homegrown on Main, 65 W. Main St, Logan, OH 43138

2. Pick up your supplies at Grandma Faye’s Grocery and Carryout

Grandma Faye’s offers a small but wide selection of products, ranging from souvenirs and camping equipment to grocery essentials. Additionally, you can also purchase ready-made sandwiches, pre-sliced fruit, snacks, and cheese.

Deli case at Grandma Faye's Grocery and Carryout in Hocking Hills.

It’s a convenient spot for assembling a picnic lunch to take with you to one of the parks, or if you prefer to dine on-site, they offer outdoor tables and seating.

When we stayed in a nearby cabin, this is where we stopped to pick up milk, bottled water and fresh snacks for our overnight trip.

3. Hike Hocking Hills State Park

  • Address: Visitors Center, 19988 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website

Hocking Hills State Park is the main attraction in the Hocking Hills region, but it is certainly not the only attraction! We have enjoyed hiking most of the trails in the park. There are miles of trails within the park and they vary in difficulty and length. Some trails include ADA accessible paths. You can find a trail for all skill levels with in this Ohio State Park!

Hocking Hills State Park is open year-round including holidays! I highly recommend checking the trail maps and difficulty levels before visiting! The best place I have found for this is this website from The Hocking Hills Guide.

Here are some highlights of the trails we have personally hiked!

Old Man’s Cave

  • Address: 19988 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138

Old Man’s Cave is the most popular hike in Hocking Hills State Park and for good reason: the scenery is unbelievable!

Highlights on the hike at Old Man’s Cave are the beautiful waterfalls: Upper Falls and Lower Falls, Devil’s Bathtub and the Sphinx Head. Of course, you don’t want to miss Old Man’s Cave itself! This is the cave where an “Old Man” is said to have lived. It is a recess that was naturally carved into the rock in the gorge.

Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park.

The hike here can take anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours if you are hiking with kids and spending a lot of time stopping at the points of interest.

Make sure to check the map before hiking so you take on the right trails! The Grandma Gatewood Trail will take you all the way to Whispering Cave if you miss your turn after the Lower Falls! You can pick up a map at the Visitor’s Center at Old Man’s Cave. You can read my blog post solely dedicated to Old Man’s Cave for lots more details about making this hike.

Whispering Cave

  • Address: (from Lodge) 20020 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138

We accidentally ended up on this strenuous hike when we followed the path to Whispering Cave after having lunch at Rock House Restaurant at Hocking Hills State Park Lodge! You can also hike here from the Old Man’s Cave entrance, but it will be a much longer hike.

I had read up on the difficulty level of the other trails we had planned to hike on this particular trip but I hadn’t planned on take this one, so we didn’t know what the trail was like before entering. Some parts of it were a little bit harrowing, especially with kids!

Whispering Cave in Hocking Hills State Park.

The Whispering Cave Trail does not loop so at the end you have to turn around and go back to where the trail meets up with the Old Man’s Cave trail. The trails are one way, but to tell you the truth, since we didn’t know what we are doing, we had to back track back to the Lodge and our car!

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. LOL

Ash Cave

  • Address: 26400 OH-56, South Bloomingville, OH 43152

There are two parts to the trail at Ash Cave. You head back to the cave via an ADA accessible, paved trail. If you want, you can turn around and return back that way. Or you can take a set of steep steps up to the rim trail which leads you back along the top of the gorge.

A boy walking on a log at the waterfall at Ash Cave in Hocking Hills State Park.

The force of the waterfall here will depend on how much rain we have had recently. It was a steady stream when we visited during the month of June.

Cedar Falls

  • Address: 21724 Ohio 374 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138

The hike at Cedar Falls is a relatively short hike to the falls and back up out of the ravine. The path is 1/2 mile long and there are a lot of steps. The steps are a workout, but other than that, the hike is not too strenuous.

A woman standing in front of teh waterfall on the trail at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills State Park.

The waterfall here is seasonal and when we visited, it was just barely dripping. Even still, be prepared for beautiful scenery and natural beauty that will take your breath away! We couldn’t stop taking photos!

If you park at the main parking area, make sure to follow the signs that lead you back to the parking lot.

4. Learn More About Hocking Hills State Park at the Visitor’s Center

  • Address: 19988 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website

Before hiking any of the trails at Hocking Hills State Park, you might want to stop at the Hocking Hills State Park Visitor’s Center to get a lay of the land! (Not to be confused with the Hocking Hills Welcome Centers. This Visitor’s Center is focused solely on the state park.)

Dad and two boys looking at a display of Old Man's Cave at the Hocking Hills Visitors Center.

Inside are educational displays and information about each of the main areas of the park. There is an interactive area where kids can walk through a cave and don’t miss the 3D model of Old Man’s Cave.

5. Visit the Hocking Hills State Park Lodge

  • Address: 20020 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website

While we have not personally stayed at the Lodge at Hocking Hills, we have visited and eaten inside at the Rock House Restaurant.

It’s definitely worth a visit here because it is so beautiful! You can sit on one of the rocking chairs on the front porch or browse for a souvenir in the gift shop!

Inside the lobby at Hocking Hills State Park Lodge.

The large windows in the lobby offer a great view! If you eat at Rock House Restaurant and the weather is just right, you may be able to snag a seat on the patio overlooking the outdoor pool! (Reservations are currently required for dinner.)

6. Drink Fresh Apple Cider at Laurelville Fruit Farm

Take a picturesque drive to Laurelville to visit the Laurelville Fruit Farm which is home to a little orchard store selling apples, fresh cider, cider slushies and apple butter.

Rows of bagged apples at Laurelville Fruit Farm.

The shop is right next to one of the Hocking Hills Welcome Centers and there is a great mural on the side of the building. Please note, no credit or debit cards are taken here. Cash only!

7. Watch Glass Blowing Demos at Jack Pine Studio

  • Address: 21397 OH-180, Laurelville, OH 43135
  • Website

If you’re in the Hocking Hills region, you need to stop in at Jack Pine Studio! This art studio is out in the middle of rural Laurelville and includes two gallery areas and a work area where you can watch glass blowing demonstrations.

Jack Pine is an artist that grew up in Southern Ohio. This art studio is a great stop for a gift or souvenir item to take home! Jack Pine Studio is open every day so it’s easy to fit into your Hocking Hills itinerary!

Glass items for sale at Jack Pine Studio in Laurelville, Ohio.

Most of the items for sale in the gallery are original Jack Pine creations but there is also artwork for sale by other artists.

It’s safe to say that almost everything in the gallery is breakable and the whole time I was slightly paranoid that I was going to trip and knock over a display. So, this might not be the best stop for toddlers or young children, but if you can get them past the displays, the glass blowing demonstrations are fun to watch!

8. Explore Lancaster, Ohio

Lancaster, Ohio is on the edge of the Hocking Hills region and is one of the best places near Hocking Hills to dine, shop and play. It’s just a 20 minute drive (like most things) from Logan to downtown Lancaster where you will find museums, shopping and the home of the Lancaster Festival each summer!

Aha Children’s Museum

  • Address: 1708 River Valley Cir S, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Website

AHA! A Hands-on Adventure, A Children’s Museum is the perfect place to take kids in Lancaster, Ohio! The museum is geared toward kids aged 6 months to 8 years old, but we’ve been visiting AHA! for a couple of years and it’s always been fun for my kids at all ages!

Inside are lots of hands-on activities to encourage pretend play! There is a house structure, construction vehicles, a grocery store, a fire truck, a fishing pond with magnetic fish and fishing poles and a water play area.

A boy catching a pretend fish at the A-HA Children's Museum in Lancaster, Ohio.

Outside there is a fun Nature Playscape play area featuring activities like sand pits, tricycles, tunnel slides, a wooden boat to play in and more!

Ohio Glass Museum

  • 124 W Main St, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Website

The Ohio Glass Museum in downtown Lancaster provides an interesting exploration of the glass factories that once thrived in Fairfield County. With its array of exhibits, a short film, and live glass-blowing presentations, visitors can learn all about the historical significance of glass in this region.

Rising Park

  • Address: 1120 N High St, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Website

Home to one of the best playgrounds in the Hocking Hills region, Rising Park is a really great park to visit! There is a pond, shelter houses, a restroom and a hiking path up to the top of Mt. Pleasant.

A boy standing on top of Mt. Pleasant in Rising Park.

The view from the top of Mt. Pleasant is incredible but the hike is a steep one! It’s about 1/4 a mile long and when you get to the top there isn’t too much to block you from falling off the edge, so keep your young kids close!

Decorative Arts Center of Ohio

  • Address: 145 E Main St, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Website

If you’re looking for another museum to visit in the Hocking Hills region, plan to stop at the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio. Exhibits are always rotating, so check the website to see what’s currently on display!

Admission to the Decorative Arts Center is free but donations are welcome. It’s a treat just to check out the Reese-Peters House where the center makes its home. The house was built in 1835 and was renovated most recently in the 1990’s.

9. Take in the Beauty at Wahkeena State Nature Preserve

  • Address: 2200 Pump Station Rd SE, Sugar Grove, OH 43155
  • Website

Wahkeena State Nature Preserve is a hidden gem in Hocking Hills. The word “Wahkeena” means “most beautiful” and comes from the Yakama tribe. And truly, this park is beautiful!

Before you go, take a look at this map of Wahkeena Nature Preserve to get an idea of how things are laid out. When you arrive, make sure to pick up an updated map at the Nature Center because the maps are updated seasonally to point out relevant features in the park.

A beaver dam in the lake at Wahkeena Nature Preserve near Hocking Hills, Ohio.

The four hiking trails at Wahkeena are short and pretty family-friendly. All of the trails are 1 mile or less which makes them very easy to do with kids, or even easy to do all of them in one visit!

My favorite was the boardwalk which is only a tenth of a mile, but I love a good boardwalk trail! You can also walk around the lake and see beaver dams!

Make sure to also see the raptors that are being rehabilitated at the Nature Preserve. They are located east of the Nature Center. There is a Red-Shouldered Hawk and an Eastern Screech Owl. These birds were hit by cars and are unable to live in the wild.

Kids will love the Nature Center with hands on activities and animals to see! This is one of my favorite of the State Nature Preserves and there is something here for the whole family!

10. Explore Clear Creek Metro Park

  • Address: 185 Clear Creek Rd, Lancaster, OH 43130
  • Website

Clear Creek Metro Park is one of the more rugged of the Columbus and Franklin County Metro Parks! Most of the trails are unimproved and are challenging hikes, though there is a Story Trail for kids!

Leaning Lena in Clear Creek Metro Park.

A popular sight to see within the park is Leaning Lena, a rock formation that towers over the road.

11. Shop in Downtown Logan

The town of Logan, founded along the Hocking River, is a good stopping point for a meal or to visit the local shops! See my dining section below for restaurant ideas and browse this section for shopping and local attractions!

Columbus Washboard Company

  • Address: 4 E Main St, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website
A man sitting in a rocking chair at Columbus Washboard Co in downtown Logan, Ohio.

Columbus Washboard Company is the last manufacturer of genuine useable washboards in the United States. Stop in to shop for a decorative wash board, see the factory and shop from other local artisans. Don’t forget to take your photo in the rocking chair in the back corner!

Home Grown on Main

  • Address: 65 W Main St, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website

Don’t skip Home Grown on Main, which might be my favorite shopping destination in downtown Logan! This shop is full of hand made goods by local artists and artisans. I got a candle from Hocking Hills Candle Works here!

Artists goods for sale at Home Grown on Main in downtown Logan, Ohio.

There are so many other items to be tempted by: paintings, hand-made jewelry, cards, blown glass and more! And as a Hocking Hills Welcome Center location, there is also a wall of brochures and pamphlets about things to do in the area!

SimpliCity Threads

  • Address: 2 E Main St, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website

Stop in to this cute shop for clothing, bags, jewelry and more! You could pick up a souvenir here or grab a candle, coffee mug or decorative sign to commemorate your trip! This shop opens up into Hocking Hills Bagel Deli in the back for convenient shopping after breakfast or lunch in downtown Logan!

Journey to Bethelehem

Miniature diorama of Bethlehem featured in downtown Logan.

A very unique storefront in downtown Logan features a display of a miniature diorama of Bethlehem. This display can be viewed for free by the public at any time. It’s open year-round and it is quite a sight to see!

12. Hike Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve

  • Address: 24858 Big Pine Rd, Rockbridge, OH 43149
  • Website

Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve is a gorgeous place to hike! There are two beautiful hiking trails within the preserve, The Gorge Trail and the Rim Trail. I’ve also seen these called the Upper Trail and the Lower Trail.

The Rim Trail is a 2 1/2 mile hike along the top of the gorge. It is a strenuous hike along the edge of the cliffs. The Gorge Trail and the Rim Trail.

The Gorge Trail is a 1/2 mile trail that is paved and is wheelchair accessible. (That also means it’s great for strollers!) This is definitely the easier of the two hikes at Conkles Hollow and it was the one we chose to do on our visit in the fall of 2023.

ADA accessible trail at Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve.

The paved sidewalk does end towards the very end of the Gorge Trail and you can take a dirt path back to see a waterfall. This trail is two ways, so you turn around and come back out when you have gone as far as you can go.

Highlights to see on the Gorge Trail include a boardwalk, Slump Rock and two waterfalls. As you can see from my photo, it is just beautiful in the fall season and a great place to see fall colors in Ohio!

13. Go Antiquing at Hocking Hills Market

  • Address: 26758-26790 US-33, Rockbridge, OH 43149
  • Website

Just off of route 33 in Rockbridge, there is a collection of antique and specialty shops called Hocking Hills Market that will keep any antiquer busy for the day! There is also a flea market here that is open Friday through Sunday.

Antiques outside at Spring Street Antique Mall in Rockbridge, Ohio.

My husband and I had fun finding some of our childhood toys at Spring Street Antique Mall. We also visited the Appalachian Art and Craft Market to find goods from local makers. The Hocking Hills Antique Mall is just a few shops down!

Other shopping highlights in this area are The Boot Shop, Hocking Hills Chic Boutique and Hocking Hills Ice Cream.

14. Eat Like a Local in the Hocking Hills Region

When you visit Hocking Hills, you’ll most likely need to eat a meal or two! For more detailed information you can read my list of delicious restaurants in Hocking Hills!

Some quick suggestions for lunch in Hocking Hills include:

  • Hocking Hills Diner
  • Provisions Deli
  • Hocking Hills Bagel Company
A bagel sandwich from Hocking Hills Bagel Company in Logan, Ohio.

For dinner recommendations in Hocking Hills check out:

  • Millstone BBQ
  • Pizza Crossing
  • Rock House Restaurant
  • 58 West (run by Hocking Hills Winery)
  • Cherry Street Pub

Local coffee shops include:

  • Oasis Coffee Shop
  • Coffee Emporium
  • L-City Coffee

15. Get Caffeinated at Oasis Coffee Shop

  • Address: 26850 US-33, Rockbridge, OH 43149
  • Website

Even though this could go under the local restaurant list, I love this place so much it’s getting it’s own bullet point! Hocking Hills Oasis Coffee Shop is the cutest, most picturesque coffee shop. It’s inside a log cabin in Rockbridge Ohio right next to the Hocking Hills Antique Mall.

Not only can you get a coffee flight, humungous pastries and a wide variety of seasonal coffee drinks, you can also play mini golf, sit in an igloo and take your photo in a medieval pillory. (Yes, I had to look up that word.)

A cinnamon roll in front of Oasis Coffee Shop near Hocking Hills.

Make sure to go upstairs to take your photo in front of the green Oasis Coffee Shop backdrop! It’s also a cozy place to sit and enjoy your treats!

This place was SUPER busy when we visited on a beautiful Saturday morning, so be prepared to wait in line and not get your choice of seating. It was way less busy when we visited on a weekday!

16. Get on the Water at Lake Logan State Park

  • Address: 20160 St. Rt. 664, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website
A boy walking on the beach at Lake Logan State Park near Hocking Hills.

Lake Logan State Park is available for hiking, fishing, boating and hunting. There s a 527 foot swimming beach that is open to the public during daylight hours. At the Lake Logan Marina you can rent kayaks, pontoon boats, paddle boards and more!

17. Get Ice Cream at Old Man’s Cave General Store

  • Address: 18809 OH-664, Logan, OH 43138
  • Website

Old Man’s Cave General Store is a popular spot for ice cream in Hocking Hills! So popular that they encourage you to know your order before stepping up to the cash register! Don’t worry, the menu is posted outside so you can make your choice between 32 flavors of soft serve before you go inside!

An ice cream cone inside Old Man's Cave General Store.

There is some seating outdoors on the patio, but it can get pretty crowded during the summer. Nevertheless, it’s a must-stop spot for a cold treat in Hocking Hills!

18. Take the Fairfield County Covered Bridge Trail

Fairfield County is home to 15 of the 125 original wooden covered bridges remaining in Ohio. If you’re looking for a beautiful “trail” to conquer, click this link for a map of all of the covered bridges in Fairfield County and start to check them off! I’ve seen a few and they’re charming!

A covered bridge, part of the Fairfield County Covered Bridge Trail.

I hope this list of fun things to do in Hocking Hills helps you plan an amazing trip! If you’re looking for more travel ideas, check out my list of Ohio Road Trips, these hidden gems in Ohio or this list of beautiful botanical gardens and arboretums in Ohio!

things to do this weekend in columbus ohio

Share this post with your friends!

Save this post on Pinterest!

Best Things to do in Hocking Hills.

10 of the Coolest Coffee Shops in Ohio

Wednesday 28th of February 2024

[…] about more restaurants in Hocking Hills or things to do in Hocking Hills to round out your trip to this wonderful […]