State Parks

The Hocking Hills is known for it'w wonderful natural landscape, forest, caves, hiking trails and more. Many of the major attractions in the region are captured in the state parks and larger nature preserves. The parks are known for their sandstone cliffs, hemlock and other forest, and beautiful water falls and caves.

The best know is the Hocking Hills State Park with many featured areas including Old Mans Cave, Ash Cave, Whispering Cave, Cantwell Cliffs and Cedar Falls. Amongst the intertwining trails, there are many natural features such as Sphinx Head, Devil's Bathtub, Upper Falls, Lower Falls, Broken Rock Falls and more. The park has over 25 miles of trail systems connecting Ash Cave, Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls and Whispering cave.

In 2018, the John Glenn Astronomy Park opened up to explore the night sky through it's many telescopes during open reservation events! The park's director offers programs throughout the year to see phases of the moon, constellations, meteor showers, viewing the sun and more.
JGAP programs and event registration can be seen on the JGAP website.

There are some smaller state parks in the area as well. Each of these parks have hiking trails, picinic areas and pleanty of outdoors to explore. Many areas have rock features, lakes and unique features to enjoy. They are a short trip and worth the trip.

Clear Creak Metro Park is located in Rockbridge, Ohio and is the largest nature preserve in the state. The park features over 5,300 acres of woodland accompanied by blackhand sandstone cliffs, ravines and creeks. Ohio’s last remaining colonies of rhododendron is located in the park. Enjoy hiking on eight hiking trails that range from easy to difficult or eating in four picnic areas. Finally fishing is available along 5-acre Lake Ramona and access points to the creek on Clear Creek Road.

Lake Hope State Park is located in McArthur, Ohio. Lake Hope State Park lies within the Zaleski State Forest in the valley of Big Sandy Run. The park's heavily forested region is marked by steep gorges and narrow ridges with remnants of abandoned mining and iron-producing industries. The park has electric motor or paddle boating rentals on the 120 acre lake, eight hiking trails, eight mountain biking trails, picnic areas and swiming at the designated beach area by the dam.

Lake Logan State Park is located in Logan, Ohio. There is a small beach, a picnic area and access for fishing. The lake is created by a dam, that you can explore as the water is released down stream. There are two areas with a hiking trail. The marina at the north end of the lake has both pontoon boat, paddel boat and SUP rentals.

Rock House Cavern is in Logan and part of the Hocking Hills State Park System. The park has several scenic trails that require a little more advanced hiking. The main feature is the "Rock House", which is an cave-like formation with row of seven "windows" separated by massive solid stone columns. Steps have been cut into a cliff to provde a trail in and out of the house. Inside is a passageway, about twenty-five feet high, two hundred feet long, and twenty to thirty feet wide.

Tar Hollow State Park is in Laurelville and has some wonderful trails, a lake, park store and mini golf! The lake is formed by a damn, with two hiking trails surrounding the lake. The park also has the Logan Backpack Trail, which is a 21-mile figure eight with difficult terrain. The trailhead is near the dam spillway at Pine Lake and traverses the park and adjacent forest.

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Click the Park Name to visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website
Hocking Hills State Park website
Clear Creek Metro Park - Rockbridge
John Glenn Astronomy Park - Logan
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Hocking Hills State Park
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Clear Creak Metro Park
John Glen Astronomy Park
John Glenn Astronomy Park

State Nature Preserves

The Hocking Hills region has many Ohio State Nature Preserves to explore that are truley hidden gems. The preserves have many unique features, miles of trails and amazing views! They have smaller parking areas, which limits the capacity and privides a serene experience.

Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve has a great trails system with a variety trail types! Enjoy the ridge, meadow, forest, creek and fern trails. There are cool poonds with boardwalks and large rocks to explore. This preserve has the most expansive trail system and lots to explore.!

Christmas Rock State Nature Preserve has a great trails system with scenic views from Jacobs Ladder. There are 4.5 milies on two primary trails that follows a stream. The areas is heaviy forested. Jacob's ladder trail is well worth the hike to the top!

Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve is an amazing hike through a deep, cool gorge, which is only 100 feet wide in places and is considered by some to be the deepest in Ohio, has numerous waterfalls cascading over its sandstone cliffs. The Lower Gorge trail is designed to accommodate visitors of all abilities, while the upper trail requires a little more skill. Each trail provides different perspective of the gorge.

Kessler Swamp State Nature Preserve is twenty acres of naturally developing tributary swamp gifted from Dr. Francis and Mrs. Joyce Kessler. A variety of wetland-dwelling plants thrive in the swamp, including buttonbush and bur-marigold. The preserve has hiking trails and many beaver can be seen livingin the swamp. During the spring and fall migration period, the preserve offers excellent waterfowl viewing.

Rhododendron Cove State Nature Preserve is known have one of the largest native population of the great native rhododendron in Ohio. Peak blooming is typically during late June and early July. This 75-acre preserve is within the Sugar Grove Region of the Hocking Hills. There 1.2 miles of trails. A strenuous hike to the top of the dry ridgeline provides a view of the Hocking River Valley.

Rockbridge Nature Preserve has a two great trails with feature destinations. Enjoy the natural arch at the Rockbridge destination or the cabin trail! Rockbridge's natural arch or bridge is more than 100 feet long and 10 to 20 feet wide, and gracefully arches 50 feet across a ravine. It is considered the largest natural bridge in Ohio.

Shallenberger State Nature Preserve is know for two steap sandstone areas, Ruble Knob and Allen Knob. Allen Knob towers 240 feet above the surrounding countryside and provides an impressive vista of the central Ohio lowland plains. There 1.8 miles on two hiking trails in this area that was once under water and frozen in glacial ice, with only the knobs petruding out.

Wahkeena State Nature Preserve Wahkeena State Nature Preserve is located in Sugar Grove Ohio. The preserve is also and educational center. There are 5 hiking trails around the lake and two ponds, even one that floats. There are birds of prey that had injuries and cannot be released, and can be visited by the office. They have limited hours, so visit their website for days and times that they are open.

Rockbridge Nature Preserve
Boch Hollow Nature Preserve
Christmas Rocks Nature Preserve
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Rockbridge Nature Preserve
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Boch Hollow Nature Preserve
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Christmas Rocks Nature Preserve
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The Hocking Hills region has a state forest and national forest to explore with unique features, water falls, multiuse trails, bridal trails and more. The Hocking State Forest and Wayne National forest are amazing, but maps are highly recommended to follow the trail blazes. Prepare for hikes with proper gear, flashlights and essentials.

The Wayne National Forest is a public land that covers over a quarter million acres of Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio. The national forest is just down the road near Nelsonville, with many trials for short and long range hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and motocross (OHV). The forest is divided into 3 geographic areas, and trail maps and information are available on their website.

Hocking State Forest features 9,815 beautiful acres in Hocking County, including 59 miles of hiking on three trails, 40 miles of bridle trails, 23 horse campsites, a rockclimbing and rappelling area, and a fire tower. Some bridal trailheads are accessed near the horse camp on Keiflel Road. The prime trailheads area located on Big Pine Road, one mile east of Conkle's Hollow. A parking area is within easy walking distance of the rock and cliff face. Be sure to use quality equipment and climb with experienced people. Twin Falls, Chapel / 21 Horse Cave, Table Rock, Indian Head, Airplane Rock, Fat Man's Squeeze, Turtle Rock, White Falls, Cyrstal Falls, Parachute Rock, Artesian Well and Box Canyon are amazing feature areas located in the forest. Maps are available on the state forest website.


The Black Forest Chalet is located centerally to many of attractions at Hocking Hills State Park. Hocking Hills State Park provides a variety of recreational opportunities in an amazing natural setting. There are over 30 miles of hiking trails for all levels of hikers. The 2,356-acre park has towering cliffs, waterfalls and deep hemlock-shaded gorges to lure the hiker and naturalist.

All of the state parks and forest listed are a short drive from the chalet. Tar Hollow State Park and Hocking State Forest are located in Laurelville, JGAP and Lake Logan State Parks are located in Logan, Ohio, Metro Creek State Park is located in Rockbridge, Ohio and Wayne National Forest is near Nelsonville, Ohio. Each park and forest has many trails for a full day trip.

The state of Ohio nature preserves, such as Rockbridge, Boch Hollow, Christmas Rocks and Rhododendron Cove, are located within 45 minutes or less. Rockbridge, Boch Hollow are located near Logan and Christmas Rocks and Rhododendron Cove are located near Lancaster.Ohio Nature Preserves are smaller ares of nature that offer great hiking trails, stunning natural features and great places to explore.

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