Happy Travel Tuesday Loves!! I’m soooo excited about today’s post!! I love the Hocking Hills and I truly believe there is just not enough information out there about them. I’m going to do my very best to post lots of pictures and tips to absolutely inspire you to book a long weekend just south of (OMG I can barely type it)…. Columbus. (The UM, OSU rivalry is so real guys.)
PS… I have a small little rant. If you live in Ohio can you PLEASE tell me why your speed limits are SO SLOW?! Like seriously. You cross the state boarder and BOOM down to 65. Totally rolling my eyes. Okay. Rant over. 🙂
When I was thinking about what hike in the Hocking Hills I should share with you first, I was torn. Do I share the most popular hike? Or my favorite?
A few years ago, when we first pulled up to the Hocking Hills, this was my very first hike. And I’m so glad it was. Because it let’s you see just how amazing and unique the geological features of this area actually are. Plus, it’s the only true cave (more on that later) in the park.
So what is Rock House exactly? It’s actually the product of eroision. It’s sits about half way up a 150 foot cliff that is made of sandstone. But unlike other caves where you can’t see a thing because no light gets through, there are 7 giant openings that look like windows. These openings allow sunlight to pour into the cave, letting you see all around you. The cave literally resembles a house… hence it’s name! There is also evidence that people have used the cave as shelter for centuries. First, the Native Americans who inhabited the cave and made small ovens in the walls. And later, it’s said that Bootleggers, Robbers and Bandits hid in rock house in the 1800s.
Oh! One more thing. If you’re claustrophobic and the thought of being in a small cave worries you, don’t let that stop you from visiting Rock House! I promise, nothing about this feels closed in or small. Inside, the ceiling is 25 feet high and it’s about 200 feet long and 30 feet wide. You have nothing to worry about… you’ll have more than enough space!
I call this a hike, as does everyone else, but I promise you, this isn’t like hiking Cascade Canyon in The Tetons. The entire loop is only 0.9 miles. This “hike” is easy peasy. Again it’s one of those minimum effort, maximum affect type hikes. Which is why it is so dang popular.
You begin the hike making a decision. Start on the upper rim, or head down to the Rock House. We like to go to the Rock House first, which is to your left when the trail splits.
From here, you’ll wander down some seriously picturesque stone stairs, and you’ll begin to see the cliff that Rock House calls home.
You’ll see the main path, that leads up towards Rock House, or another path that wanders through rocks that let you climb towards the Rock House yourselves. If you’re up for a bit of adventure, take the road less traveled. It’s really, really cool!
Then, you’ll climb right into the Rock House!
Find a spot by a window and take in the beautiful valley views.
And while you’re there, take a minute to carve your initials into the soft sandstone! (If you go, see if you can find our K!)
And of course… explore.
From here, you can turn around and head back the way you came. (This is the shortest option, and what we did since we’ve done the entire hike before.) However, if this is your first time, get back on the main trail, and head towards the “rim”. Here, you’ll cross over a pretty bridge and up a hill towards the rim. You’ll get some pretty valley views and eventually make your way back to the parking lots. (Don’t quote me on this… but I think you actually come out in the second parking lot. Not the main one. So you have to walk across the massive parking lot and up to the main one if you come out here.)
Getting to Rock House is almost as easy as the hike itself. Once you drive into the park, there are literally signs EVERYWHERE. You won’t miss them. But if you’re still worried, stop by the Visitors Center to grab a map, or download the Hocking Hills app. (The service is pretty spotty once you’re in the park. You don’t need service or wifi to use the app!)
Tips and Tricks
- Arrive Early! This hike gets crazy crowded, crazy fast. I would say to get there by 10 am. Because otherwise, the parking lot is totally jam packed.
- There are bathrooms! If you have to use the bathroom, they have them here. Just be warned, they’re not “real” bathrooms and honestly, they smell totally awful.
- The picnic area is totally cute. This is a great spot to sit for a bite to eat if you’re looking for a good picnic spot!
- Bring your fur baby. Pups are allowed, but they have to be on a leash. I however, wouldn’t recommend taking your pups on this one. You’d have a hard time getting them into the actual rock house.
Now can you totally see why this hike is so popular?! It super simple to reach, and really really really cool!
What is your favorite hike in the Hocking Hills? You’ll have to wait until next week to find out mine 🙂
Alright loves. I’m off to work… and we’re using glue and paint today. #PrayForMe