Skip to main content

The Best Time to See Fall Colors in the Hocking Hills

Figuring out the best time to visit Hocking Hills and see the fall colors isn't an exact science. Still, specialists have taken on the challenge to help travelers get the best view. Find out the best time to visit the Hills this fall and which seasonal activities -- from horseback riding to train rides -- can make the view once in a lifetime.

When to see the Fall Colors

Hitting the peak Fall Foliage week is an exact science. The specialists make their inferences, like those at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The best way to gauge when the fall colors will arrive is to follow the Ohio Department of Natural Resource's Fall Color Page.


Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

Taking a drive deep into Hocking Hills Scenic Foothills, the byway’s views include hills, valleys, and the six non-contiguous sites of the State Park.

The route begins at St. Rt. 374 on US 33 and continues as it connects all State Park sites north to south from Cantwell Cliffs to Conkle’s Hollow to Old Man’s Cave.

The 26.4-mile byway includes evidence of ancient Adena culture and some of the first human inhabited recesses more than 7,000 years ago. Several Indian tribes lived here in the mid-1700s, such as the Delaware, Wyandot, and Shawnee. These tribes are the ones responsible for naming the Hocking River. Originally calling it Hockhocking or “bottle river,” based on the bottle-shaped valley of the Hocking River (which was formed thanks to glacial icebergs).

Participants pass attractions like the Hocking State Forest Headquarters, originally called the Hocking County Honor Camp, which used to house prisoners used by guards that would take care of the parks, put out fires and plant trees.

The Village of Mound Crossing, at mile 11.9, is home to an ancient Indian Mound built by the Hopewell Indians. One of the first cabin businesses in Hocking Hills is also available today. Nestled at mile 13.2, travelers can still check in at the Nestle In (originally known as Little Denmark).

The driving route, gorgeous views, and historical backdrop attract drivers, historians, and naturalists alike – especially during the fall.

For more information, maps and guides, click here.

Climbing and Rappelling

The Hocking Hills is one of the first locations in the U.S. to get Ziplines and Canopy tours and is now considered the Canopy Tour Capitol of the Midwest.

Enjoy the fall colors from a bird’s eye view with more than 60 ziplines from treetop to treetop over waterfalls and caves.

Rock climbing is also available in the hills for the adrenaline fan. 

Check out the variety of opportunities to go ziplining or rock climbing.

Horseback Riding

Looking for something a bit more laid back, like a lazy stroll through the forest with some gorgeous animals and a knowledgeable tour guide?

Horseback riding may be what you need, and perfect for all members of the family.

Most tours take you deep into those fall-forested trails, complete with gorgeous views you can’t see from the main roads.

Hocking Hills has multiple ranches to visit! To see the full list click here


Train Rides

Why not get a view of the fall foliage from the comfort of a cozy train ride?

Take a leisurely adventure through the historic Hocking Hills on Hocking Valley’s Scenic Railway.

The  Fall Foliage tour is a must-do fall activity!

From the website:

"Due to the incredible popularity of the fall colors of scenic southern Ohio, we operate extra trains on Thursdays and Fridays in October only. These trains are no different than the noon and 2:30 trains on Saturdays and Sundays, other than an extra option for your trip.

Each Thursday and Friday between October 1st and 31st, one train each day departs the Nelsonville Depot at 1 p.m. for a roundtrip ride to East Logan. The coaches are heated as weather requires, but we also have both of our open-air cars on the train as well. These trains provide a unique way to experience the fall colors throughout the month of October!"

Click here for more information.

Contact: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, Phone: 740-249-1452


Posted: September 01, 2021