A Guide to hiking the Hocking Hills with Kids
Hocking Hills is the perfect destination for families traveling with kids. Our kids sleep like rocks when we're at the cabins after spending the whole day outside in nature. As cabin owners we often hear the question, "Which Hocking Hills trails are best for kids?" Over the years we've been able to visit all the major trails in the area, never knowing fully what to expect and if they would be suitable for our little ones. Below I've outlined each of the major trails in the region and our experiences to help you better plan your trip.
Ash Cave-------> If you're looking for the ideal place to start your hiking adventures, Ash Cave is great for the whole family! The 1/4 mile paved gorge trail, which is wheel chair and stroller accessible, will lead you to the largest recess cave in the state of Ohio. The kids will love playing in the cave and around the small waterfall. There is a picnic area and restrooms near the parking lot.
<------------Cedar Falls- These are my favorite falls in the Hocking Hills and the distance, about a 1/2 mile, to reach them is doable for the little ones. We made this hike once after a lot of rain, actually it was still lightly raining, and the falls were spectacular! The kids will love running around the large area in front of the falls. There are restrooms in the parking area.
Old Man's Cave------> This is the most popular stop for tourists, and you'll see why,but expect some crowds if you're going on a peak season weekend. This is another one for the whole family! The trail is about a mile long. You will see waterfalls, The Devil's Bathtub, caves, tunnels, and rock formations. Picnic and Restroom facilities are located here as well as a visitor center.
<--------Rock House- A little ways off the beaten path Rock House is a must see and a bonus for less crowds! It is the only true cave in Hocking Hills. We've taken our 1 and 3 year old here more than once, but you need to keep a close eye on them as there are some cliffs and large rock formations. There are picnic shelters and a restroom near the parking lot.
Cantwell Cliffs--------> Another less crowded destination, Cantwell cliffs is only 5 minutes from our Redwood Lodge. We've taken our little ones on this 1 mile loop trail numerous times during all seasons! This is one of the most scenic hikes in my opinion. There are some high cliffs and rocky formations here so you'll want to keep the kids close. Just off the parking lot you'll find picnic areas and restrooms.
<-------Whispering Cave/Hemlock Bridge Trail- This is the newest trail in the area, my husband and I checked it out without the kids and I would recommend leaving the really little ones at home for this one. There's quite a few stairs and uneven trail to reach the recess cave. It is an absolutely beautiful cave so add it to your list if you have older kids or maybe grandparents back at the cabin.
Leashed Pets are allowed on all of the above trails.
Conkle's Hollow Nature Preserve - 2 Trails to choose from:
<------The Gorge Trail-The 1 mile handicap accessible gorge trail can accommodate all abilities and is perfect for little ones. The trail offers spectacular views of the large rock walls and ends with a seasonal waterfall. I would highly recommended this trail if you have really little ones who maybe want to walk and explore on their own.
The Rim Trail------->The 2.5 mile rim trail is not for small kids, but if you can find a time to get here without the kiddos this is the most breathtaking trail in the area in my opinion. It offers the highest cliffs and best views. The trail bumps right up against in the edge in places. You'll see small creeks and waterfalls, towering trees and cliffs. There are restrooms in the parking lot. Pets are not allowed at Conkle's Hollow.
On any hike stay on the trails and always keep your kids close.
I hope this info helps you better prepare for your Hocking Hills getaway! All of our cabins and lodges are great for kids and families and are within a short drive of all the above attractions.
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