Winter Hiking Tips for the Hocking Hills

Winter Hiking Tips for the Hocking Hills

The iconic hiking trails of the Hocking Hills State Park are open however hikers are advised to take
precautions. Recent weather has created extremely icy surfaces along the trails. Hocking Hills State
Park Naturalist Pat Quackenbush tells us the caves and waterfalls are visually spectacular but special
gear and care is needed to safely enjoy the winter wonders of the Hocking Hills State Park.

Here are some tips:

1. Have a plan.
Be sure to tell someone exactly where you are going and how long you plan to be gone.

2. Hike with friends.
If your friends are four-legged be sure to protect them with coats and paw coverings like Kurgo Step & Strobe Dog Boots available from Chewy.com. 

3. Dress like an onion - in layers.
Insulated underwear, t-shirt, sweatshirt and coat will give you good protection in the cold. Footwear is critical. It should be waterproof, well lined and come up over your ankles. Layer gloves to ensure your hands stay warm. Body heat exits quickly through an uncovered head so be sure to wear a warm hat and scarf.

4. Carry a backpack with safety equipment.
Dry socks, extra gloves, extra hat, trail map, a first aid kit, water, protein bar, a compass, a pocket knife or multi-tool, hand warming packets, and a headlamp

5. Wear ice grippers on your boots.
Look for ice grippers that attach tightly to your boots. Try LL Bean’s ice grippers.

6. Always hike with a hiking stick or trekking poles.
In the winter trekking poles with points will provide the most stabilization on icy surfaces. The points on the ends of the poles should press into the ice with a little weight. LL Bean has a nice selection.

While the coming days will bring warmer temperatures, it will still take time for the ice to melt in the ravines and shaded areas of the trails so caution should be taken even when the mercury climbs above freezing.

The Hocking Hills are Ohio’s natural crown jewels which sparkle especially bright in winter. Explore this wonderful season but take all the necessary precautions to have a safe and enjoyable visit.