If you don’t have a lot of time, you can still see a lot of Hocking Hills in under 48 hours. I’m sharing how we packed in a lot of adventure into a small amount of time. I wouldn’t change a thing and I hope our itinerary is a useful guide to help you with yours.
7:15am Depart from Cincinnati for Hocking Hills
It always takes at least an hour for our family no mobilize and get out the door for a trip in the morning no matter what is already packed ahead of time.
9:30 Arrive in Hocking Hills
Around 9:30 in the morning and we discovered that the welcome center was not open yet. We stopped at the local Walmart nearby and then decided to go to Old Man’s Cave first. I would recommend getting there early because it gets crowded as the day goes on. We got there at around 10:15 and left around 11:45.
10:15-11:45 – Old Man’s Cave
Make sure that you go both directions on the trail or you will miss some pretty incredible scenery.
One of the trails starts by the information area and another trail ends near the parking lot. We didn’t take the longer hikes to Cedar Falls during our visit for time purposes.
12 Check out the view at Hocking Hills Dining Lodge
We wanted to see what the Lodge was like because it’s a short drive from Old Man’s Cave. We decided not to eat there because they only offered a buffet during the time slot that we were there.
12:30 Milestone BBQ
Milestone BBQ was recommended by several readers. The food was great, service was fast, and the restaurant was a close location to where we were going kayaking.
We got there around 12:30
1:30- 1:50 Visit the Welcome Center
We visited the welcome center to get tips on which hikes were the best fit for our family. There is also a tiny pencil sharpener museum that will take you back to your childhood and beyond.
2pm- 5:15 Kayak at Hocking Hills Adventures
Our kayak time was for 2 pm. We went on the longer trip option.
2:45 Was the time that we officially got on the water after getting our gear and dropping off passengers going on the shorter trip. We opted for 1 kayak and 1 canoe.
Pros – You get to see the Rockbridge formation without a lot of hiking and beautiful scenery.
Cons- The water level was low in several spots which led to a cardio workout and slow pace. My boys enjoyed it but wished it was a little shorter.
I would say that when choosing your kayak distance determine if you want to see the formation, what the water level is, and the age of your party.
After our kayak and canoe ride, we decided that once we got to the cabin we wanted to stay there. We purchased hot dogs and buns for a simple dinner from the nearby Kroger as an excuse not to go back into town. We also went ahead and filled up our gas tank in the van so that we wouldn’t have to do that before we left.
We decided that cram in one more hiking destination before going to our cabin which actually led to two.
6- 6:20 pm Ash Cave Fire Tower
The first stop we went to was on accident. We thought it was a trail for Ash Cave. It turned out to be the Ash Cave fire tower. I’m so glad we stumbled upon this one. After you walk a short distance you will see a tower that only allows 6 people up at a time. You can climb to the top and get an incredible view of the surrounding area.
6:25-6:45 Ash Cave
Next, we finally went to Ash Cave. It was starting to get dark but it was one of my favorites because it’s so large! I think this cave would be amazing to see in the winter time too.
7ish- Check in to Hocking Hills KOA
After all of that hiking, we were ready to relax for the evening. We stayed at the Hocking Hills KOA. Hindsight, we would have ordered pizza there if we had known they had it.
10:45 Depart from Campground
We took our time in the morning relaxing at the cabin. We decided to get a pizza to go to take with us to our hiking destination when we checked out. The pizza didn’t make it out of the parking lot but it did hold us over for several hikes. We left the campground around 10:45.
11 am Arrive at Conkle’s Hollow
We got to Conkle’s Hollow around 11 am and hiked the Upper Trail 1st. The trail takes you along the rim. I would not recommend this hike for younger kids. My boys were 9 and 13 at the time and they did well for the most part. I think seeing cliffs hundreds of feet down made them more cautious than they normally are on hiking trails. This hiking also has steep grades so you need to be in pretty good shape.
You do need to allow time for the upper ridge. We stayed at a pretty steady pace the whole time. We almost didn’t go to the lower ridge but we changed our minds once I asked a few hikers. I’m so glad that we went to see it. We would have missed out on a scene that reminded me of Narnia.
12:15-12:30 Lower Trail Conkle’s Hollow
This trail is paved for the most part. Make sure that you go beyond the pavement for the best views.
1pm- 1:45 Rock House
Rock House was a very cool formation that you can climb inside. You will want to check out the views from several angles.
2pm -2:15 Quick Stop at Cantwell Cliffs
Cantwell Cliffs is another hike that you need to allow a lot of time for. A woman at the welcome center told me about an area that was a tight squeeze at the beginning of the trail. You go down a series of steps and it’s on your left.
We went on the Scenic Canopy Tour. This is a great tour for beginners and kids. The “X” tour is more extreme with faster, longer ziplines and they were concerned that my younger son wouldn’t weigh enough to help get him to the other side.
6 pm Super Zip
The Super Zip gives you the opportunity to fly like a bird. You can ride seated or with your arms outstretched, stomach facing down, head first. You can reach speeds up to 55mph on this unique adrenaline rush!
6:36 Dinner at The Olde Dutch Restaurant
After all of our hikes, we were excited about eating a hearty meal. You can order from the menu or off the buffet. The food was good and everyone found something they liked. Hindsight, I wish we would have known that Mondays have a special for to- go boxes. We would have cut our bill drastically if we knew that it was an option but it was still nice to have a sit-down dining experience.
Hocking Hills is a great outdoor destination to visit. I hope these tips help with choosing your own adventure.
A special thanks to Hocking Hills Adventures and Hocking Hills Canopy Tours for hosting our visit.