You’ll definitely want to add these unique experiences and hidden gems to your list during your next visit to Hocking Hills in southeastern Ohio.
Hocking Hills is most known for its natural beauty with high cliffs, deep gorges, and unique rock formations. The natural wonders throughout Hocking County attract visitors from all over the United States.
I’m sharing more about fun things to do including local attractions, outdoor activities, and best places to visit for an unforgettable experience.
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Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum
13178 OH-664, Logan, OH
Take a trip down memory lane while you view a collection of more than 3400+ pencil sharpeners.
The pencil sharpener museum is conveniently located steps from the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center.
I always recommend stopping here first when you visit Hocking Hills because the staff are a wonderful resource for how to make the best use of your time during your visit. You can always learn so much about the best Hocking Hills activities, even if it’s not your first visit to the area.
There are so many different areas of this popular destination that it can be a little overwhelming with where to start when it comes to fun activities.
The pencil sharpener museum is small and mighty and does accept donations of pencil sharpeners not already displayed in the museum.
The words “Keep Sharp, Be Sharp, Act Sharp, Stay Sharp” are displayed above the cases in the center of the mini-museum.
The collection of pencil sharpeners was started by Reverend Paul Johnson more than 20 years ago and admission is free.
Make sure that you take time to look at the individual items on display in the cases of the largest collection of pencil sharpeners in America. You’re sure to find some fun ones!
Walk, Go Horseback Riding, or Bike From Moonville Tunnel to Kings Hollow Tunnel
Hope-Moonville Rd, McArthur, OH
The 16-miles rail trail includes Zaleski State Forest with the communities of Zaleski and Mineral and the Lake Hope State Park wetland areas.
We started at the Moonville Tunnel parking lot and traveled from Moonville Tunnel to the road after Kings Hollow Tunnel and back. On the way to Moonville Tunnel you’ll travel across a bridge with an assortment of colorful locks left by couples to proclaim their love for one another.
Close to where I live, people have added locks to Purple People Bridge that connects Cincinnati, OH and Newport, KY. The bridge has changed where you can place locks to a very specific section so that it doesn’t affect the bridge structure in a negative way.
If you like graffiti art, you’ll love all of the bright colors of the brick walls inside the Moonville Tunnel. Moonville Tunnel has a history of train accidents and has been a source of ghost stories over the year. It’s the perfect place for people who like to visit haunted places.
I’m personally not a fan of scary things and felt fine during our visit without any creepy vibes.
Horseback Riding Options Spring-Fall
If you want to experience one of the tunnels by horse, Uncle Buck’s Riding Stable and Dance Barn offers “The Moonville Tunnel Ride” for ages 9 and up that lasts around 2.5 hours.
Another option is their new “Ride to Kings Hollow Tunnel” coming in the spring of 2022 with a duration TBD.
If you want to go horseback riding strictly in Hocking Hills State Forest, check out Blue Moon Acres horse ranch for adults with riding experience.
Ride Bikes Between Moonville and Kings Hollow Tunnel
It’s approximatively 3 miles between the two tunnels which is why we preferred riding fat tire e-bikes over walking the 6 mile round trip.
During our bike ride we enjoyed the scenic views on both sides of the path that crossed over several bridges.
The bike path can be pretty uneven/bumpy at times and I would definitely recommend using a bike with fat tires/mountain bike tires over a regular road bike.
Visit Kings Hollow Tunnel (also known as King Switch Tunnel)
Township Hwy 21, New Marshfield, OH
The inside of Kings Hollow Tunnel is made with a series of 12X12 wooden beams.
It’s also considerably darker inside the 120-foot tunnel structure once you reach the middle.
Thankfully our e-bikes had headlights because the path inside the tunnel was pretty bumpy and it was very dark. I don’t think that I would have felt comfortably doing the ride on thinner tires, although we did see a few other bike riders on them.
Paint a Masterpiece in the Splatter Studio at Young at Art, LLC
110 W Chestnut St, Lancaster, OH (a few blocks from Main St)
If you are looking for a unique experience, the Splatter Studio at Young at Art LLC is a MUST!
Young at Art LLC was started by a local public middle school art teacher. At her studio, she also teaches monthly art classes and canvas painting parties…but the Splatter Studio is what got my attention.
You can create a unique one-of-a-kind masterpiece on a blank white canvas.
My favorite part about the Splatter Studio was that it was so different and even felt a little mischievous.
It’s actually OK to get paint on the floors and the walls. It’s even fun if you end up getting a little paint on each other.
What should you wear for splatter painting at the Splatter Studio?
The Splatter Studio uses washable and non-toxic paint.
Painters are supplied with protective gear to put over their clothing including goggles, a poncho, and booties for your shoes. It’s still recommended that you dress down just in case.
I would recommend wearing a short sleeve shirt to be fully covered by the poncho. It’s also recommended to take off your shoes and paint in your socks with the protective coverings.
If you want to capture your painting experience with photos and video I would suggest putting your cell phone in a waterproof case.
Splatter Studio sessions typically last about 30-45 minutes.
You can be as creative and free to sling paint as you want to be while you paint your canvas.
The only thing that you can’t do is mix paint colors in the paint containers or mix the paint brushes.
The splatter room appeals to all ages and skill levels. In fact it’s probably best if you don’t overthink it and just go with it.
Seriously, this experience is SO MUCH FUN!!!! We smiled and laughed the whole time.
After you complete your 16X20″ original painting you need to be prepared to transport a wet canvas with you. (I would suggest making room in your trunk with trash bags laid spread out.)
Private sessions in the Splatter Studio can be scheduled for groups of 2-12 by appointment.
Try Glassblowing at Jack Pine Studio
21397 OH-180, Laurelville, OH
Watch an artist in action during a glassblowing demo, explore the art gallery/gift shop, or try your hand at glassblowing for a one-of-a-kind take home souvenir.
Jack Pine Studio is most known for their beautiful glass pumpkins offered in a variety of sizes and colors.
Artist/owner, Jack Pine grew up in southern Ohio and has returned to the area after years of schooling in Columbus and entrepreneurial adventures in other states.
Glass pumpkins by Jack Pine Studio has been a part of the Pumpkin Festival in Circleville, OH in October for years. Now you can also attend the Glass Pumpkin Festival located at the studio in September.
Super fans of Jack’s work look forward to and collect the annual featured pumpkin each year too.
Glassblowing Classes at Jack Pine Studio
If you want to try your hand at creating something beautiful, sign up to make a glass ornament or paperweight. You can even make a glass pumpkin for a more advanced class. I would recommend booking online so that you can get your preferred date and time.
Before you start, you’re given an overview of the steps for making your item. I got to pick out the primary and secondary colors for my ornament, which were cobalt blue and white.
From start to finish, the glassblowing class goes pretty fast if you are the only person in the class. It typically takes about an hour for 2-4 people to go through the process.
After you finish your piece it will cool down inside the annealer. The cooling process takes 24-48 hours. If you can’t pick it up the following day you can have them ship it to you for an additional $10 fee.
Experience the Art of Blacksmithing at Lockhart Ironworks, Home of Southern Ohio School of Blacksmithing
4515 Township Road 430 Logan, OH
You can shop for hand-forged cookware at the location where it was made by a family of blacksmiths.
My friend is a true cook seeking out healthier cookware options…and I basically make eggs because they are quick and easy.
After learning more about the quality of the craftsmanship, we both bought 10″ pans.
Fun fact: Lockhart 10″ pans measure 10 inches on the inside of the pan NOT the outside of the pan, which is the industry standard.
This is because owner/blacksmith Doug Lockhart didn’t feel right charging for a 10″ pan if it didn’t truly have 10 inches of cooking surface inside.
Doug is dedicated to passing on the art of blacksmithing to the next generation. All of his kids are involved in the family business as well as their spouses.
What are the benefits using pans and skillets made of hand-forge steel from Lockhart Ironworks?
- Non-toxic with no harmful chemicals
- Naturally non-stick
- Made with USA Steel (solid high carbon steel)
- Hand-forged in Logan, OH
- Suitable for all stoves
- Lifetime guarantee (“the last pan you’ll need to buy”/heirloom quality)
- Lighter than cast iron
- Balanced, hand-riveted handle prevents heat transfer
- You’re supporting a family business
- FREE Shipping within the US
Blacksmith Classes with Southern Ohio School of Blacksmithing
Doug’s passion for passing on the art of blacksmithing doesn’t stop with his family. He wants to train up more blacksmiths as entrepreneurs creating quality products that last longer than we do.
Southern Ohio School of Blacksmithing gives students an opportunity to spend a day learning the basics of Blacksmithing.
Students start with the 8-hour beginner blacksmith class. After completing the beginner class they are eligible for any of the intermediate blacksmith classes.
During the class you’ll learn more about the economics of blacksmithing, basic equipment you would need to start your own blacksmith shop, and basic skills for creating items.
Class size is generally limited to 14 people for men, women and children ages 12 and up. There is a special discount for veterans and first responders and there is even a special anvil for wheelchair users.
The 8-hour beginner blacksmith class includes lunch and students will have 4 finished projects to take home.
See a 600+ Year Old White Oak Tree
Take a moment to appreciate an oak tree that’s over 600 years old. Located in the old cemetery in the town of Logan on N. Mulberry Street.
The great white oak of Logan has a small plaque viewable from the sidewalk.
Relax in one of the Sauna Pods in Hocking Hills
18905 State Route 664 S, Logan, OH
If you are craving the heat of a hot tub, a sauna pod might be the next best thing. Sauna pods are an enclosed space with a dry heat source similar to a sauna bath.
This is a great place to relax and open your pores after a long day of outdoor adventure.
The barrel-shaped cedar sauna pods seat up to four people and have a ceiling height of over 6 feet tall in the center. You can drive up to the pod and get ready in the changing chamber before stepping into the sauna.
There is mood lighting that you can adjust and a bluetooth speaker that you can connect with.
Bottled water and towels are available for guests at checkin. It’s also suggested that you bring additional water to stay hydrated. Sauna robes are available for an additional fee.
Inside the sauna there is a floor-to-ceiling fish eye window with a view of Hocking Hills.
The sauna pods can be reserved for 1 hour, 2 hours, or a full day. The best time to save on your sauna visit is by taking advantage of lower prices midweek. Make sure you make a reservation ahead of time so that you have your desired day and time.
Experts recommend that you don’t stay in the sauna pod longer than 15 minutes with 10 minute breaks between sessions. So even if you have the sauna pod booked for an hour you won’t be staying in it the whole time of your session.
Coffee Flight at the Hocking Hills Oasis Coffee Shop & More
26850 US Highway 33 Rockbridge, Ohio
If you love coffee, Oasis Coffee Shop is a caffeinated stop that you don’t want to miss!
One of the best things about this coffee shop is their coffee flights.
They come in iced or hot and have both regular flavors; they also release a special new flight with seasonal flavors each month. There is also a hot chocolate option if you aren’t a fan of coffee.
During our visit we tried both a regular coffee flight and a seasonal flight.
We chose the Nutty Irishman, Peppermint Mocha, Oatmeal Creme Pie and S’mores for our coffee flight.
Our seasonal flight with iced coffee came in the flavors of Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Captain Crunch, and Cookie Crisp.
If you love to take photos of your food and drinks there is even a photo wall on the second level of the building.
The coffee shop is located within walking distance of several antique shops if you need more caffiene before visiting more area flea markets. This location is double the fun because you can also play a round of 18-hole mini golf here.
Enjoy a Flight at Hocking Hills Winery
30402 Freeman Rd, Logan, OH
Hocking Hills Winery is a one of the popular spots for both locals and tourists in the town of Logan.
This family-owned and operated winery has bragging rights with several award winning wines.
When you order a flight, make sure that you also try one of their popular wine slushy flavors. In addition to wine you have several charcuterie board options to choose from to tide you over before visiting one of the local restaurants.
M & M Diner, Hocking Hills Diner, Millstone BBQ, Kindred Spirits, Hungry Buffalo, La Casada, and Pizza Crossing are popular restaurant options. For a fine dining experience, Glenlaurel Scottish Inn is known for their 6-course meal.
The winery has a beautiful outdoor space with plenty of seating and a small stage for live music. This is definitely the setting for a great time.
Star Gaze at John Glenn Astronomy Park
20531 OH-664 Scenic, Logan, OH
Experience the spectacular scenery of the sky at the John Glenn Astronomy Park.
The park is open to the public during the day and at night. There is no admission fee to visit the grounds or for any of the programs.
There are even sun-based programs available in the summer for visitors to attend. Check the program calendar and Facebook page for upcoming events.
Depending on what time of year you visit, you might be able to join one of the guided stargazing sessions. Be on the lookout for stargazing programs in the spring on clear Fridays and Saturdays.
You can bring your own telescope to the park, just make sure that you sign in when you arrive.
If you visit during the day you can walk the plaza with a very specific design. On the first of each of the four seasons, the rays of sun fall upon a central point.
Guests can also view the night sky through a large 28 inch telescope in the roll-off roof observatory onsite. Star gazing is dependent on the weather so make sure that you download the JGAP app before you go.
SEE THE WORLD’S LARGEST WASHBOARD AT COLUMBUS WASHBOARD COMPANY
14 Gallagher Ave, Logan, OH
The World’s Largest Washboard is located at the only washboard manufacturer still operating in the US. The 24-foot washboard is a replica of one of the company’s products.
The Columbus Washboard Company has been around since 1895 and still assembles their products by hand. The company started outside of Columbus and moved to Logan in 1999.
You can also pre book a 35 minute guided tour of the factory with a group size of 4 or more people. During the tour, you’ll learn about the washboard making process and get to see equipment and tools used in the 1800s.
The Washboard Factory is also part of the world famous Washboard Fest in Logan, Ohio. The free festival takes place annually on Father’s Day weekend and features authentic Appalachian Bluegrass and Folk Music in addition to food vendors, art, and activities for kids.
Take a Scenic Train Ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway
346 Railroad St, Nelsonville, OH
Enjoy scenic Hocking Hills during a train ride on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway. Trains depart out of the Nelsonville Depot and there are several train ride experiences to choose from.
Elegant dinner train, seasonal themed train rides, Hocking Valley Steam Train, and Ohio’s friendliest train robbery are a few of the train rides to choose from.
Check out these things to do in Nelsonville and Athens while you are in the area.
Go on the SuperZip at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
10714 Jackson St, Rockbridge, OH
Daredevils will want to go on the quarter mile “SuperZip” dual zipline. It was even ranked in the “Top Ten Ziplines in the World” by Discovery Channel.
Guests can choose to ride the SuperZip in the seated position or in the superhero position. The superhero position is the obvious choice for daredevils because it’s more rare to experience ziplinging in this position face first.
This is a little more scenic than zipling face first over Freemont Street in Las Vegas.
The SuperZip can also be combined with a zipline canopy tour, one of the top things to do there, for the best of both worlds.
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours is known for their zipline canopy tours and has been the recipient of many awards.
If you are looking for more unique experiences onsite, consider their Moonshine tour where you zipline in the dark or their Off Road Segway adventure tour.
If you want to experience more outdoor adventure afterward, you may want to consider High Rock Adventures for rock climbing, rappelling, rock challenge, ecotours and nature therapy.
Kayak to Rockbridge With Hocking Hills Adventures
31251 Chieftain Dr, Logan, OH
Slow down and enjoy the natural scenery around you during a kayak ride to Rockbridge.
River access for the kayak and canoe rentals are located directly across from Rockbridge.
If you want to get a closer look at the natural arch it’s a short hike from the shore.
The 7 mile trip is for ages 3 and up and lasts 2-3 hours.
There are also tubing trips available through Hocking Hills Adventures.
Hocking Hills Canoe Livery also has raft rentals and Moonlight Tours+ New Moon Glow Float if you are looking for additional options.
Climb Ash Tower Fire Tower
19275 State Route 374, Rockbridge, OH
If you don’t mind heights, you can get your heart pumping while climbing up the stairs of the Ash Tower Fire Tower.
For safety purposes, only 6 people are allowed on the tower at one time.
Once you start climbing the stairs, you’ll understand why. Just make sure that you always have at least one hand on the handrail while going up or going down.
FYI: The very top of the staircase is boarded up if you decide to make the climb. You still get a pretty great view of the surrounding area from closest staircase platform at the top.
Unique Lodging in Hocking Hills -Stay in a Tiny House from Hocking Hills Tiny Houses
Hocking Hills has plenty of options for luxury cabins but if you want something truly unique, sleep in a tiny house.
“The Gladiola” tiny house can sleep four adults comfortably. There is a loft bed upstairs and the couch converts to a King-sized bed.
The tiny house also has a bathroom and shower and is stocked in anticipation of pretty much anything you would need for an overnight stay.
If you opt for “The Gladiola” tiny house you’ll enjoy scenic views of Lake Logan on private property.
If you visit during the warmer months there are pontoon boat rentals, kayaks, peddle boats and paddleboards rentals at Lake Logan Marina.
Hocking Hills Tiny Houses has four different tiny houses to choose from. Their newest tiny house, “The Hemlock” is also dog-friendly (under 30 pounds).
Popular Hikes at Hocking Hills
Of course, no visit to the area is complete without visiting some of the most popular hiking trails at Hocking Hills State Park with diversity of hikes from upper falls to lower gorge in a deep valley.
Southern Ohio offers miles of trails that are open year-round and you can easily do a lot of the Hocking Hills hikes in 48 hours. I highly recommend visiting Hocking Hills in the winter.
If looking for a longer hike, take the one way 6-mile Grandma Gatewood Trail to connect to several popular trails in one trip. (Upper Old Man’s Cave Falls, Lower Old Man’s Cave Falls, Rose Lake Falls, Whispering Falls, Hidden Falls, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave)
- Ash Cave (wheelchair accessible)
- Old Man’s Cave
- Cantwell Cliffs (Challenging hike)
- Rock House
- Conkle’s Hollow (Upper/Rim trail and the Lower trail, which is wheelchair accessible)
- Cedar Falls
- Rock Bridge
4 thoughts on “Hidden Gems and Unique Things to Do Around Hocking Hills”
Thanks, Mike! I love finding hidden gems and unique things to do when I visit a destination. I hope you have a great visit to Hocking Hills.
Thank you for the great article. Such fantastic ideas for things for us to do when we are in the area. We are hoping to be down there over the memorial day weekend this year. Most of the items that you included in the article I had no idea they were in this area. Thanks for the work you did you put this together!
That’s great to hear! It’s a beautiful destination.
This was a wonderful read. It was very informative. I enjoyed reading about Hocking Hills and the surrounding areas. I am very interested in visiting. You gave me so much to think about before booking my trip. Thank you for the great information.