The Ultimate Hocking Hills Bucket List
Plus! Bonus things to do in Hocking Hills to become an official, bonafide expert
For Hocking Hills rookies and veterans alike, what does the ultimate Hocking Hills experience look like? We’ve put together a bucket list of things to do in Hocking Hills along with pro-tips for those Hocking Hills enthusiasts who’d like to take their experience to the next level of eco-adventure. Be sure to try these activities on your next (or first!) trip to Hocking Hills. Cross them off your list and then add some more — you may need to save a few for your next trip.
Hike to a recess cave
You really have to see it to believe it: The caves in Hocking Hills are out of this world. With so many hiking options available, there are a variety of trails that lead to the area’s unique caves. Pick one that works for you. Not your typical hole-in-a-wall cave, standing beneath one of the overhangs on these towering recess caves will leave you in awe. The cliffs aren’t so bad either: Try Cantwell Cliffs, with its 150-foot cliffs that’ll make you feel oh-so-tiny.
Pro-tip: Hike to a recess cave at night
The breathtaking beauty of the Hocking Hills region also has some stories that might take your breath away in a different sense. These legends and ghost stories cast a unique shadow on some of the normally sunny trails. And literally — we mean shadows! For this pro-tip, keep an eye out for upcoming guided night-hikes. According to HauntedHocking.com, one out of every four groups night-hiking Ash Cave witness the shadowy figure of a mysterious woman following them along the trail. Goosebumps, anyone?
With a variety of ropes courses, ziplines, and canopy tours (imagine walking across suspended rope bridges with scenic views of waterfalls, cliffs, and forest hundreds of feet below), you’ve got to get up in the trees on your visit. Ziplining tops our bucket list. Discoverychannel.com puts this quarter-mile-long SuperZip in the “top 10 most amazing ziplines in the world.” Think about that when you’re flying like Superman through the Hocking Hills trees at 50 miles per hour.
Pro-tip: Go ziplining at night
Same thing we said above: Except in the dark, with no light but that from the moon. ’Nough said.
Stay in a cabin
You can’t talk about things to do in Hocking Hills without mentioning your cabin experience. From rustic to electric, there are cabins of all shapes and sizes for groups of all ages and numbers. Want a pet-friendly cabin with a hot-tub? No problem. Want a one-room cabin with no running water — check! Use our handy availability tracker to narrow down your Hocking Hills rental.
Pro-tip: Stay in a teepee
Really get away from it all by staying in a teepee. This Bucket List activity is for anyone who has ever dreamed of what it would be like living in the forest hundreds of years ago with just the sounds of nature outside and a campfire dying down at night. Take it from Mountain Gypsy, it’s a “Like, is this real?” experience.
Check out local art
Nature lovers have a knack for translating their love for the outdoors into beautiful arts-and-crafts. With different styles for all kinds of tastes (pine-needle art, for example), hitting one of the local art fairs or galleries is a Bucket List-must. Get a unique gift for a loved one or simply learn more about the history of the Hocking Hills region, displayed through craftsmanship.
Pro-tip: Make local art
Go one step further on your Bucket List and walk away with your own nature-inspired work of art. Take a stained glass workshop, where you can learn cool techniques like “soldiering” and “painting on glass with glass,” or try bead-making at the Ohio Glass Museum. Every second Sunday you can attend the full workshop or stop by for a private 20-minute lesson to make one perfect, single bead. Stop looking at art, and make it!
Get your chill on and glide down the peaceful Hocking River. With plenty of canoe rental options, this bucket list pick is a no-brainer. Take it easy and paddle the afternoon away — resting those legs for your next hike.
Pro-tip: Go canoeing with a gourmet picnic
Yes, canoeing and stopping along the banks with your PBJ is classic. But take the Bucket List experience to the next level by bringing a gourmet picnic from Glenlaurel. Save some time, impress your friends, and bring a white tablecloth. "Fancify" a normal river trip with your sweetie and the below photo may result! Champagne, anyone?
See a waterfall
The area is famed for its waterfalls, especially after a rainy season. From large destination waterfalls to plunging or trickling streams over cliffs, there are picturesque falls throughout the Hocking Hills region. Check out Ash Cave after a rainy day — it’s one of Yahoo Travel’s most stunning waterfalls in the country.
Pro-tip: See a frozen waterfall
Bundle up in the winter and hit the trails. Not like a little chill has stopped you from a great hike before (well, it shouldn’t!). Not only will you get extra availability and deals by going in the off-season, you’ll get to witness the miracle that is a frozen waterfall — as if the water was literally stopped in time.
Pro-tip No. 2: Swim under a waterfall
Depending on recent rain, the pools beneath the falls may be deep enough to swim — or at least wade. Bring a suit just in case and cool off after your hike by taking a dip.
Final Bucket List pro-tip:
How about swim under a frozen waterfall? Brr — we’re going to stop you there. Of all the things to do in Hocking Hills this might be taking it one step (splash) too far — for us anyway!