In order to uncover some of the best-hidden secrets, you have to head off the highway and into the woods. Off OH-56 is Hocking Hills State Park, a patch of forest with a wealth of natural wonders: cliffs that contain caves; gorges with flowing waterfalls crossed by storybook-like footbridges; and all kinds of features carved by ancient and powerful glaciers. From Old Man's Cave and Cantwell Cliffs to Rock House and the Devil's Bathtub, your imagination will be sparked by the wonders here. For added beauty, approach the park along the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, a twisting, winding road that will take you deep into the forest!
Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve
The Conkle's Hollow State Nature Preserve is a rocky gorge considered to be the deepest in Ohio. At the bottom of the gorge lies a varied wilderness, including flowers, birch trees, and more. Some areas of the gorge have not seen sunlight in years, which makes for some incredible developments, geologically-speaking. Left behind, deep in the gorge, are the stories of those who inhabited the area in the past, including early settlers, Native American tribes, and local legends. At the end of the gorge trail, you're greeted by a majestic waterfall. When considering which trail to explore, the lower trail is easier, while the upper trail is a bit tougher to navigate. Some trails are suitable for all ages, but other parts of the gorge can be dangerous for little ones, so plan ahead.
The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway weaves you through the major hills of Southeastern Ohio for over 26 miles. The route begins as you turn off US Route 33 onto Rt. 374 near Rockbridge, Ohio and ends at Ash Cave.
With multiple places to stop off and explore, as well as many historical sites along the way, you'll find yourself with plenty to keep you entertained. Beyond the beautiful sights, Hocking Hills gives you a glimpse of the best Ohio has to offer, as well as access to incredible caves and waterfalls along the way. Be sure to pick up a map at an information center or online to make the most of your Hocking Hills Scenic Byway journey.
Hocking Hills State Park offers those who visit the chance to see sights not common in other parts of Ohio (or the United States, for that matter), giving it an incredibly unique, special, almost mystical feel. The 2,356-acre park contains monumental cliffs, waterfalls, and gorges, all of which make the park especially inviting for nature enthusiasts. In addition to the great views, there's also plenty to do with the entire family, from archery and hiking to fishing, picnicking and more. When visiting, be sure to make your way to the Old Man Cave as well as the lower falls, as they are consistently a fan favorite.
Hocking Hills Gem Mine
If you're looking for something fun to do with the entire family, look no further than the Hocking Hills Gem Mine. Stop by the mine and learn about dozens of minerals, rocks, and other precious natural resources while having a blast with your family. Sift through buckets of minerals and other goodies using the proper technique and hopefully, you'll strike it big with a small piece of gold or a shiny gem. Pick from a variety of buckets and get sifting! While you might not be able to retire to a private island after just one visit, the memories you make are worth more than all the gold in the world.
Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum
It's not every day you get to go to a museum devoted exclusively to pencil sharpeners, which makes a stop at the Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum that much more fun. The late Ohio native Paul Johnson collected 3,479 unique pencil sharpeners over the course of his life and they are currently on display here. This a great option for a late afternoon side stop, it won't take long and it's completely kitschy. Seriously, who knew there were so many kinds of pencil sharpeners?
One of the most popular fishing spots in Ohio, Lake Logan State Park is perfect for the avid fisherman with a 400-acre lake and access to a wide range of fish including bass, bluegill, catfish, and saugeye. But Lake Logan State Park isn't just for those who like to fish; with over 318 acres of park and recreational area, there's something for everyone. Enjoy the sandy beach with a group of friends, rent pontoon boats and kayaks for you and the family, spend the day swimming, or take a hike on one of the many amazing trails throughout the park. Lake Logan State Park is clean, well maintained, and provides everything you need for a great time... and did we mention how gorgeous the lake is?
Hocking Hills Canopy Tours
What better way to finish your journey through the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway than by getting the adrenaline pumping at Hocking Hills Canopy Tours? Get to really know the Hocking Hills as you zip above the hills and treetops. Unlike some other canopy companies, each line is connected to a real live tree, so you're truly connected with nature. Plus, Hocking Hills Canopy Tours shows you the natural beauty of Hocking Hills while guiding you with passion for the land and community. And the price won't break the bank!
There's no better way to get to know the beautiful state of Ohio than taking a ride on the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway. Whether you're looking to hike world class trails, spend the day fishing, or see a different side of Ohio, Hocking Hills is THE place to explore. With activities for everyone from young to old, there's no doubt you'll remember your trip forever.
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