A relatively unknown natural wonderland exists in the southern part of the Buckeye State. A place where the geography originally sculpted by glacier runoff meets American Appalachia. This remote yet remarkable part of Ohio, Hocking Hills, provides you with the right recipe to reconnect to nature.
After your flight to Columbus (CMH), a short 1-hour drive to Hocking Hills might seem more like a flight to a foreign destination. The once seemingly endless straight highways and flat landscape suddenly transform into a web of winding roads, hilly terrains, and state protected parks and forests unknown to some Ohio residents.
With still uncharted GPS routes, most Hocking Hills accommodations and attractions mark distance and direction from Old Man’s Cave, the area’s most famous landmark. Located in Hocking Hills State Park, the fabled cave provides the perfect venue for a hike through sandstone canyons, notable forest and running waterfalls.
Although hiking maybe the most popular activity there is more to experience. Hocking Hills Scenic Air Tours provides an affordable way to see the scenic vistas and lakes from the sky. The Cessna SkyHawk takes off for only $60 and includes 20 minutes of airtime for two passengers loaded with entertaining narrative including very enjoyable John Wayne impersonations.
Rent and ride ATVs at Hocking Hills Nature Trails or take a ride with local canopy tours. Set the alarm early to experience the sunrise from tranquil waters of Lake Hope, plan a kayak adventure to watch the sun appear over the mountains.
Autumn remains the peak tourist time to visit Hocking Hills – its radiant foliage coupled with abundant activities establish an ideal fall get away. Some prefer winter and spring, thanks to the ice covered waterfalls (a hint from Ellen, owner at the Inn at Cedar Falls). It seems Ohio’s best kept secret is worth visiting in all seasons.
Travel Hints: Your connection with nature doesn’t end when the day does. Hocking Hills provides one of the best settings for star gazing in the United States. Clear nights offer countless constellations and planets, and most inns provide outside seating to encourage the experience.
Hotels: Hotel chains have yet to gain footing in Hocking Hills. Accommodations for all budgets can be found in the hundreds of local family owned and operated inns. You can select from small B&Bs to private Scottish themed cottages. Two places to consider with multiple price points are Ravenwood Castle where the owners aim to treat guests as royalty and the Inn at Cedar Falls, where you enjoy the day and live the vision of its owners.
Flights. The Port Columbus airport serves most major and regional domestic carriers providing non-stops to 32 airports and fares under $200 round trip including taxes from Chicago, New York and Washington DC
© Cheapflights Ltd Craig Zabransky. Craig Zabransky is a freelance travel writer. Photo courtesy of Kirsten Mitson.