Live Like a Local and Discover the REAL Hocking Hills

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It’s hard not to fall in love with the rolling hills in Hocking, the open fields, the gorgeous sunsets.

You’d be hard pressed to find a soul who didn’t appreciate the beauty Hocking Hills offers.

However, there are a few spots locals know of that enhance their appreciation for the region. The following of which could do the same for visiting tourists, allowing them to leave with some bragging rights, having had a chance to get to know the REAL Hocking Hills and avoid those crazy crowds.



  1. Airplane Rock


For a gorgeous view overlooking the valley with little foot traffic, Airplane Rock is a great stop. Be forewarned, however, that though the trail isn't too long, most of it is at an incline.

Near Conkle’s Hollow Nature Preserve, the trail head to Airplane Rock is just off of Big Pine Road. You can park on the gravel at the side of the road and follow the bridle trails to get there.

After passing through a field, you’ll come to a fork, the orange bridle trail. Since the trail is wide and marked, it’s easy to follow. It is important to remember that the horse-back riders do have the right-of-way. About 30 minutes up the trail, you’ll come to a wood fence with a “No horses beyond this point” sign. Go through the fence (or behind) and follow the small trail, sticking to the right portion. It will take you directly to Airplane Rock overlooking the valley. It is quite a drop, though, so remember to be careful and stay safe. Don't get too close to the edge.

Trek Ohio is a great source for exact/precise directions: http://trekohio.com/2012/08/21/airplane-rock/

“Airplane Rock is located in the Hocking Hills. Follow directions for Conkle’s Hollow on SR-374. Turn off for Conkle’s Hollow onto Big Pine Rd (CR-11). Drive past the entrance to Conkle’s Hollow and continue on Big Pine Rd. The road crosses over a small bridge over Big Pine Creek. Immediately after this bridge is a small turn-off big enough for one car on the right. Across the road on the left is the trail head with the orange gate.

If the turn-off is occupied (or you miss it), continue on for a 1/2 mile and turn into the large gravel parking lot on your left. This is the parking area for Hocking State Forest Rock-climbing and Rappelling Area. This is where we parked. You can walk back (the way you came in) along the road edge (actually a bridle path) to the trail-head.

After your visit to Airplane Rock, if you haven’t been to Conkle’s Hollow, it’s worth a trip. It’s also worth noting, that Conkle’s Hollow has rest facilities, fresh water, and a picnic area.”

  1. Rose Lake


Hidden behind Hocking Hills Camp Site, few folks actually know Rose Lake exists. However, its size and calm waters make it the perfect spot for a hike around the like, a canoe trip or even some fishing while avoiding the crowds.

As the halfway point between Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls, it’s included on the park’s annual winter hike every year.

To get there, drive through the State Park Camping Grounds near Old Man's Cave and stay straight. When passing the pool, take a left onto a road that passes it on the right hand side and there will be parking and a short trail leading up to the lake.

  1. Pearl’s Diner


There’s a reason this establishment is featured in the hill’s Comfort Food Cruise Every Year.

Pearl’s is, in fact, known for its biscuits and gravy. Actually, it’s famous and has been recognized multiple times for its breakfast food. If you’re looking for a down-home, satisfying, home cooked like grandma’s, meal, this is the place to go.

The restaurant is tucked away in the Walmart plaza off of the Highway 33 exit, nestled behind the gas satiation right next to Pizza Hut.

4.  The Fun Barn

It's a bummer when you're in camping mode, ready for the great outdoors, when all of a sudden .... it rains!

But that doesn't mean you've gotta stay cooped up in your cabin all day and feel as gloomy as it looks outside. So, grab the troops and head for the Fun Barn.

Now, before you nix the idea, consider this. A happy family, a cozy theater, yummy popcorn ... all without breaking the bank?

Located on St. Rt. 33 a bit passed downtown Nelsonville, Fun Barn is a conjunction arcade and movie theater featuring discount prices for movie tickets, pizza, games and goodies.

Check out this link for listings and directions: http://www.moviesten.com/index.cfm?p=links&id=000D05

Have any other suggestions for visitors that may not be a well known hot spot in Hocking Hills? Share your adventures and let us know!

Happy trails! - Lindsay