One of the most scenic state parks in the Ohio Valley is also one of the most RV-friendly ones. Over four million visitors make their way to Hocking Hills State Park in southeast Ohio every year to enjoy attractions like caves, lakes, hiking trails, and more. After a full day of seeing the sights, guests also enjoy an abundance of relaxing recreation, from boating and fishing to archery and picnicking. During the summer, a shuttle runs from downtown Logan, making the park easy for everyone to access. Hocking Hills State Park is actually very accessible at any time of year, as it is just a short drive southeast of Columbus.
It’s believed that some three hundred million years ago this part of Ohio was at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. As the waters receded, they left behind tons of sediment. That sandy sediment bonded with the rock to form soft sandstone. Eons later, when the Appalachian Mountains formed and the Wisconsin Glacier melted, numerous caves formed in what would become Hocking Hills State Park.
When you park your rig overnight at Hocking Hills State Park, you'll be staying in comfort. Over 100 RV- and trailer-friendly sites are available at the park, and most offer water and electric hookups. Forty-seven sites offer full hookups, which includes sewer connections as well. Reservations are recommended, especially during the peak season. Once you visit for a day, you'll want to stay for a night or two. So don't waste any more time, pack the campervan and aim it towards Hocking Hills.
Hocking Hills State Park is the perfect combination between going off-grid and staying close to the creature comforts that we all crave. Located in southeast Ohio just an hour away from Columbus, the park is an easy drive, even for those hauling big rigs. Both OH-56 and US-33 will take you to OH-664 where the park entrance is located. Whichever route you take, you'll find paved roads and lots of small towns along the way where you can stock up on supplies, gas up the campervan, or grab a bite to eat before heading to the park.
Once inside the park, roads remain wide and paved for easy navigation to the campground and other areas of interest. If you plan on camping during the winter months, you will find most of the sites still maintained and available for RVs. Heavy snowfall can affect the park grounds, however, so be sure to check online or call ahead before setting out.
RV parking is available near Ash Cave, Rose Lake, Old Man's Cave, and various trailheads throughout the park. There is also ample RV parking at the campground if you plan on staying overnight.
Logan/Hocking Hills KOA is situated beautifully in the Hocking Hills of Ohio and is a peaceful getaway for fun and adventure. Near the campground, there are miles of outdoor terrain to explore. The region also offers horseback riding, canoeing, and zip lines. At Logan/Hocking Hills KOA, relax in the seasonal heated pool, get a snack at the snack bar, plus there’s even a dog park for the pup. Enjoy some homemade fudge from the store, or have pizza delivered right to your site. Other amenities include restroom and laundry facilities, Kamping Kitchen, cable television, and Wi-Fi. Pull-through sites can accommodate rigs up to 50 feet.
This large RV campground has nearly 100 20-amp, 30-amp, and 50-amp electric hookup sites available for reservation. There are also 47 full hookup sites and 12 non-electric RV campsites. The sites are all paved and level and can accommodate rigs up to 50 feet long. Amenities include a scenic overlook, an amphitheater, showers, a dump station, and a laundromat. If you are looking for recreational attractions you'll find a swimming pool, several playgrounds, a camp store, horseshoe pits, and a volleyball court nearby. The scenic overlook is adjacent to the fishing-only lake. Campers also have ready access to numerous hiking trails.
A number of RV-friendly campsites (about 25) are set aside for first-come, first-served stays. Of these, more than 20 offer electric hookups. All are handy to the water pump, shower house, a dump station, and latrines, and have easy access to hiking trails.
There are a number of non-park RV camping areas in this part of Ohio. Many of these facilities have amenities like Wi-Fi, full hookup sites, dump stations, and laundromats. If you prefer camping in state parks but all the sites are full at Hocking Hills State Park, there are a few alternative options nearby.
Tar Hollow State Park is just a 30-minute drive to the southwest and is equipped with nearly 100 remote RV campsites. A few miles further west, campers will find Great Seal State Park. This is a great spot for those looking to stay away from the crowds while staying close to all the action at Hocking Hills. Great Seal State Park has 15 primitive sites available for RVs.
If you're looking for hookups, Lake Hope State Park is located just over 30 minutes to the southeast and offers 46 electric sites along with hundreds of non-electric sites. Alternatively, Lake Alma State Park is about 40 minutes south of Hocking Hills and offers six sites with full hookups and 67 with electric only.
For a luxurious getaway, ditch the RV for a night or two and check into one of the park's cabins. The campground cabins are more like rustic hotel rooms. They are fully apportioned with widescreen televisions, full kitchens, and sheltered porches. Each cabin offers two bedrooms, one living room, and one bathroom cabin, and can comfortably sleep six people. The cabins are conveniently located on their own road off of OH-664, and the Hemlock Bridge Trail is just a stone's throw away.
After you park the Airstream at your campground, you and your family can enjoy an array of park tours and guided hikes. A number of private or park-affiliated vendors sponsor a variety of different activities. Airplane and horseback park tours are quite popular amongst visitors, and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway also runs through the park. Vintage locomotives run along the old Chesapeake & Ohio (C & O) track. Finally, there is a good reason Hocking Hills is known as the Canopy Tour Capital of the Midwest. An outdoor zipline facilitates a traditional canopy tour, NightFlight, and a (gulp) SuperZip tour.
The Ohio/West Virginia border area, including Hocking Hills State Park, is a good place for skywatching. Elevations are high and light pollution is minimal due to the park's secluded location. The John Glenn Observatory is one of the park’s newer attractions, so facilities are top-notch. During the day, visitors may study the position of the sun. At night, most of the Solar System’s planets are clearly visible with telescopes, and distant stars look much closer.
Built in 1943, Hocking Hills’ fire tower is part of the National Historic Lookout Register. This 80-foot tower stands at an elevation of about 1,000 feet. It’s been recently restored, and climbers may very, very carefully ascend the steps six people at a time. The fire tower is a nice attraction when the winds are calm, and it provides a sweeping bird's eye view over the canopy of trees. The tower is especially charming in the autumn months when the fall foliage is at its peak, so don't forget to pack your camera in the motorhome.
The second-largest recess cave in the Eastern United States is just south of Old Man’s Cave inside of Hocking Hills State Park. The cave also has a ten-story waterfall that makes the fairly easy trail worth the hike. The trail winds through the woods and rocks to the cave. It’s rather muddy in places due to underground springs, but there are boardwalks over the especially wet parts. The trail is well-marked and measures around one-mile round trip.
In a park full of caves, Rock House is the only true cave. Native Americans learned that they could build fires to heat the rocks and therefore bake food. Later cave dwellers carved out troughs to catch springwater. As a result, Rock House has sheltered a number of shady characters over the years and the spot has a rich history. To accommodate tourists, in the 1830s, an Army colonel built a 16-room hotel on this site. You won't be able to ditch the Class A for a room in this hotel, however. Today, all that remains of the hotel is a picnic shelter.
An RV vacation to Hocking Hills State Park would not be complete without a trip to Cedar Falls. In terms of volume, Cedar Falls is the largest waterfall in the Hocking County area. Early settlers believed that the hemlock trees were cedar trees, hence the misnomer. Believe it or not, many visitors rave about the staircase to the falls as much as the falls themselves. Designer Akio Hizume, who is also a mathematician, carefully laid out the staircase to make it as aesthetically pleasing as possible. The irregular steps mimic the Fibonacci sequence, the one-dimensional Penrose lattice, and some other mathematical formulas we do not really understand.
Hocking Hills State Park is basically a collection of underground caves. Ash Cave is the largest and arguably most impressive one. This horseshoe-shaped cave is remarkable indeed. It’s about 700 feet long and 100 feet deep in some places. Features include a waterfall and blooming wildflowers in season.
The signs of an ancient Indian civilization are everywhere. In addition to the fire ash, recovered artifacts include weapons, tools, and pottery. This cave was a major stopping point along the main Indian trail in the area, which is now State Highway 56. There are several hiking trails in the vicinity. One of them is very challenging, one is wheelchair-accessible, and the rest are in between. Other nearby facilities include a parking lot large enough for rigs, restrooms, and a picnic area.
One of the most remote areas of the park may also be one of the most picturesque ones. Due to eons of erosion, the valley is deep, the cliffs are steep, and the cave passageways are quite narrow. One of them bears the politically-incorrect name, Fat Woman’s Squeeze. Don’t miss Lookout Point on the east part of the Rim Trail. There are two trails in the area. One is quite treacherous in spots (after all, you are hiking among cliffs) and the other one is rather moderate. Other facilities include a parking area, restrooms, an overnight cabin, and a rest shelter.
Perhaps the deepest gorge in Ohio is especially pretty during summer and early fall. The lush tree canopy blots out the sun entirely in many places. Most of these trees are wild hemlocks, but there are also a few hardwood and birch trees. Despite the lack of light, wildflowers thrive here. Due to the foreboding cliffs, the hiking trails in the area are quite difficult. Oh, be sure and ask a park ranger about the legend of Conkle’s treasure. Perhaps you will be the lucky one to uncover it...
Comic book fans may recognize Old Man’s Cave as the setting for many stories in the Bone series. This cave is probably the most popular park attraction, so leave the Sprinter back at camp and lace your hiking boots up tight. The trail that connects it to Ash Cave and Cedar Falls is part of the North Country Scenic Trail, as well as America’s Discovery Trail. The cave got its name because people used to live here. One of them — Richard Rowe — took his family here in 1796. He is also buried here. There are five gorge sections in this cave: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and Lower Gorge. The entire cave area covers about a half square mile.