By Samantha Allan
While it may not feel like it quite yet, spring is almost upon us. The promise of sunshine and higher temperatures is enough to get anyone excited for the snow to be over. Once the snow and ice finally disappears, many people will venture outside for various kinds of activities and exercise.
Our area is lucky enough to have many different parks for children and adults to spend time outdoors. However, many of our trails are relatively short and do not offer a lot for the more avid hikers. If you are one to venture out into more challenging hikes, Hocking Hills is a great nearby location.
Located about three hours from Youngstown, Hocking Hills is a large section of trails with surrounding views like caves, waterfalls and other naturally formed rock landscapes. Hocking Hills State Park is located in Logan, Ohio, a short distance from Columbus. This state park stretches across numerous parks and natural landscapes and boasts of trails that range over 20 miles.
The trails’ level of difficulty varies by location and a few even offer wheelchair accessible travel. Sites like Old Man’s Cave are great for any age and include shortcuts for younger hikers. All of the trails offer a great view and a relaxed setting to enjoy the changing weather.
Each trail offers something different to see and experience as you enjoy the outdoors. In my opinion, the best trail to take in Hocking Hills is the six mile stretch between Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave and Cedar Falls. This trail includes sandstone carved by water, multiple small waterfalls and the view of rocks cascading around you.
In the springtime weather, the smell of rain enters the cave and offers a more earthy feel than you might get in the summer. This particular trail is one of the most popular because of the large caves and waterfalls. The trail includes carved rock steps as well as man-made spots to make travel much easier. The hike follows through the woods before opening up into the various scenic attractions.
While a three hour drive might seem far, Hocking Hills has many campgrounds and cabins to rent at affordable prices. You can easily spend a weekend checking out the many trails and surrounding outdoor attractions. From my experience, the cabins are roomy and comfortable. Many of the cabins offer private spaces, functioning kitchens and bathrooms and other homey qualities.
While the cold and rain may have you feeling a bit down now, it will not last forever. The area will start to become green again and offer weather comfortable enough to leave the jacket at home.
Instead of focusing on the negative weather, plan out a nice trip for the spring. Hocking Hills is a great spot that is not far from home. It offers plenty of attractions and outdoor activities to keep a whole family busy for days. If you are looking for a new spot or more of a challenge than our area offers, it is definitely worth checking out.