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Seeking solitude in Hills: Labor Day edition

Find secluded Hocking Hills cabins and reconnect with nature one-on-one, even on busy weekends

Don’t let the crowds keep you away from the Hocking Hills during a long holiday weekend. Solitude can be found any time of the year – you just need to know where to look.

Check the time

Even on the most tourist-choked holiday weekends, early morning and late evening are quiet times at popular Hocking Hills destinations, like Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave, and Rock House. As an added bonus, these are often the ideal times to take the best photographs.

Photo by: @sherrill_photo via Instagram

Add a day

Why not make it a four-day weekend? Take Friday off and head to the Hocking Hills on Thursday evening. You’ll have Thursday night and most of the day Friday before the crowds arrive. While Hocking Hills State Park campground has some first-come, first-served walk-in sites, it’s still advisable to reserve a campsite in advance. The same goes for other lodging options, including cabins, cottages and hotels.

Photo by: @mountaintopexposures via Instagram


Go farther afield

If you look at the Hocking Hills as a dartboard, the center circle is Hocking Hills State Park. Don’t worry about finding a parking spot near Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls or Ash Cave. Instead, move farther out from this epicenter – the farther you go, the less crowded it gets.

Find less-traveled sections of the Buckeye Trail. One spot is in the Hocking State Forest; park in the lot on Big Pine Road for the rock climbing and rappelling area and follow the blue blazes in either direction. At Lake Logan State Park, pick up the Buckeye Trail at the northern dam off of Lake Logan Road, very close to A Georgian Manner B&B. Again, look for the blue blazes.

A bit farther out still is Lake Hope State Park and Zaleski State Forest. The mileage-to-hiker ratio is excellent. Start at the Hope Furnace parking along State Route 278 where you can walk to the trailheads for the White Oak, Greenbrier or Olds Hollow trails.

Photo by: @kristinforsythe via Instagram

Try permit-only nature preserves

The Ohio Department of Natural Areas and Preserves operates a system of permit-only preserves. Contact DNAP two weeks in advance to get your permit, which you will have to display in your vehicle to park near the Hocking Hills preserves, such as Little Rocky Hollow, Scheick Hollow and Saltpetre Cave. You are almost guaranteed solitude if you go this route – but know that, like other state nature preserves, dogs are not permitted.

Photo by: @maryreedhikes via Instagram


Find secluded lodging – private ponds included

There are so many lodging options in the Hocking Hills; finding an out-of-the-way rental is easy. Secluded lodging options include Corban Cabin Getaway, Crooked Mile Cabin,  Cut Above Cabins, Deer Watch Cabins, Dolce Vita Cabin, Nature’s Retreat Cabins, Oakwood Cabins, Pleasant Valley Cabins, Timber Creek Lodge, The Tree House in Hocking Hills and WaterSong Woods Cabins.

Don’t want to fight with other anglers over the same fish? The Tree House above also has a private pond, as do Cabins at Waters Edge, Cherry Ridge Retreat, Inn a Cabin, Four Seasons Cabin Rental, Frontier Log Cabins and Bear Run Inn Cabins & Cottages.

Photo by: @grizz_dogg via Instagram

Get social

Had enough solitude? Even the most hermit-like visitors can enjoy a special event for what it is – the buzz of enjoying a high concentration of people and activity. Labor Day in the Hocking Hills brings some unique opportunities, including the 22nd Annual Labor Day Weekend Motorcycle Rodeo, Poker Run and Campout and special Labor Day weekend events at Smoke Rise Ranch, including a cattle roundup, rodeo and clinics.

Then return to your fortress of solitude.

Posted: August 15, 2016