The main attraction at Hocking Hill State Park is Old Man’s Cave. The park has made it easily accessible by creating several spurs that allow you to hike for as long as you want. Old Man’s Cave can get super busy. We decided to hike the trails on a Thursday and we got to the trailhead which is just a short drive from the campground around 7:30 in the morning. There is a large parking lot (which will fill up on the weekends and during the summer) and a Visitor’s Center. We parked at the opposite end of the parking lot from the Visitor’s Center
Down toward the gorge, you will see a trailhead. As you cross over the bridge, the start of the Upper Falls is to your left and then if you peer over the bridge, you can see the start of the gorge below. This is also the bridge in the iconic photograph of the Upper Falls. From here, we took the stairs down into the gorge to get a better glimpse of the Upper Falls.
From here we hiked through the gorge towards Old Man’s Cave. The trail follows the creek with several interesting bridges to help you cross it.
After going through the tunnel, the next highlight is Old Man’s Cave. The large recess cave is on your right and it is a beautiful yellowish color. From here, you can cross over the bridge and go back to the Visitor’s Center if you prefer a shorter hike. If you want to keep hiking, follow the trail to the Lower Falls.
Before arriving at the Lower Falls, the Sphinx Head appears in the rocks. Can you see it?
The Lower Falls mimic the Upper Falls and fall into a beautiful blue/green pool below.
^ checking out the Lower Falls ^
This is where most people go up the stairs to the left of the Lower Falls and head back toward the Visitor’s Center. If you are up for it though, I encourage you to hike the 5.5 mile round trip from the Upper Falls to Cedar Falls and back. It is beautiful and peaceful and a great hike. Before heading onto Cedar Falls, we took the spur to Broken Rock Falls. If you go up the stairs to the left of the Lower Falls, to the right leads to a staircase that goes back to the Visitor’s Center, but there is a trail to the left that follows the gorge wall. After just a short distance you will come to Broken Rock Falls.
I loved this waterfall because of the deep black color of the rocks and the contrasting green of the moss. While most waterfalls feel peaceful, this one felt angry.
We followed the trail, heading towards Cedar Falls, and the gorge opens up a bit. There is a lot of neat features along this part of the trail.
The trail takes a turn to the left and you enter Rose Hollow. Along the way, we saw Whispering Falls.
We finally made it to Cedar Falls.
We followed the signs for the Gorge Overlook Trail which leads away from Cedar Falls and back towards Old Man’s Cave.
The rim trail is a nice hike without a lot of obstacles and fairly flat with some steep sections.
The trail goes by Rose Lake, which is popular with fishermen, and over the dam.
Once we got near Old Man’s Cave, we crossed over the A Frame Bridge and checked out the very nice Visitor’s Center and headed back to the truck. This was an awesome hike. I highly recommend hiking the entire loop, but if you can’t be sure to check out both Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls. You can see both with just a short hike.
Below are some trail maps from Hocking Hills. The orange route shows us hiking away from the Visitor’s Center and the green route shows our return trip.