Ask any outdoor enthusiast to give you their short list of of places to go in Ohio for outdoor adventure and Hocking Hills will always end up near the top of their list. With so many activities to choose from, finding the right adventure can seem overwhelming at times. We looked through a plethora of information about the Hocking Hills area and businesses before reaching out to High Rock Adventures for a tour of their location. They stood out to us because of the level of adventure they offered, the variety of challenges available and their eco-friendly tours.
High Rock Adventures is located off of US 33 and your GPS will take you right to their location. The parking lot is to the right and the check in location is up a large set of staircases across the street. The owner, Steve, jokingly said upon our arrival, “The stairs up here weed out the ones who have trouble doing the adventures.” He was not kidding. Our time in the registration and orientation area was short and sweet and they get you out on your adventure in a very timely manner. Your guides take you through the safety protocol, fit you for your Petzl helmet, and before you know it your out on the trail headed to your first challenge.
We chose the Challenge Course. I told Steve I wanted something family friendly but challenging and this was his suggestion for us. In today’s technological world we can sometimes loose sight of what is important, like connecting with family and friends in challenging times. This adventure was my idea of what developing connections as a family can be like. Encouraging one another through some things that would push our comfort zones and challenge our mental strength in tight areas.
The hike to the start of the challenge course is breathtakingly beautiful. Walking the trail and drinking in the beauty of this privately owned facility is just the beginning of the many things that make High Rock Adventures stand out among the rest of the “adventuring companies” in the area. It did not take us long to make it up the trail to the amazing rock formations where we started the challenge course. Looking up at the stunning rocks covered with moss, trees and leaves was absolutely gorgeous. I was so taken in by the majestic formations I almost had almost forgotten what we came here for!
This course contains 13 challenges that we were going to do and the names will give you an idea of what you will be crevassing through.
- The Kraken
- The Eye of the Needle
- Rabbit Hole
- Not Quite Squeeze
- Meat Grinder
- Moss Canyon
- High Rock Sky Bridges
- High Rock Canyon
- Pyramid Rock Crawl
- Razorback Crawl
- 2 Way Cave Climb
- Mini Grinder
Did you get a shiver up your spine as you read those? Yeah, me too. Have I ever mentioned in the blog that not only am I a mother to 8 children, but also a grandmother of 2 sweet grand babies? I was thinking, as we hiked the trail to the first challenge, “What ever possessed me to do this? I am OLD!” I would never let the family know of my trepidation or fear of heights were causing me to question my sensibilities, at this point. We hiked through the forest to our first challenge, The Kraken. Now here is where I say, “You all go first, I need to take pictures, ” so that I can be the last one to struggle my way through without a lot of people watching! I know, I am pretty sneaky! The Kracken was an amazing place to start the challenge course. You have to maneuver yourself in such a way to make it through the “crack”, which is more than 45 ft high but only 18 inches wide. Lifting yourself up using your upper body strength and webbing will prove to be somewhat difficult but thrilling.
There was another family with us as we made our way through the challenge course. The young man of the family was petrified of the first challenge. He was sobbing as his turn came up. His mom and the Steve were coaching him through this stretching moment of pushing past fear and uncertainty. I was standing in amazement as I watched the guide and Steve gently and encouragingly walk him through the challenge. Needless to say, this young man overcame his fear and made it through with a smile on his face and new confidence that he had never had before!
I won’t tell you about all the challenges because you have to come here for yourself to experience them, but suffice to say, they live up to their names. Some are hard, really hard, some are timed and fun, and others are just breath taking, like the High Rock Sky Bridges, were you peer through the forest and into a small canyon.
Another great feature about High Rock Adventures is their love for the outdoors and how to keep them pristine. Our family is very interested in the protection of these precious treasures we have here in Ohio. High Rock Adventures guides take you through the forests of the Hocking Hills region sharing with you amazing facts about the biodiversity. We learned about the moss growing on the rocks and how it is little tiny micro-forests that take time for regrowth, if moved or damaged, the hidden beauty of a 275 year old Birch tree unmarked by hikers and were taught names of many of the plants along the trail. This was a major highlight for me because I find learning and adventuring should go hand and hand.
Our time at High Rock Adventures was one of my top 2018 adventures. It gave me a new confidence in myself, as a MATURE (not old) woman, who can really do anything that I set my mind too! Our Type 1 Diabetic daughter, Abbie, made this challenge look like a cake walk and was able to see she can do the challenges despite having an insulin pump on. My sons, became more confident in their outdoor adventuring and used muscles they had never used before, making them smile and joke about the next time they come here they want to rock repel. (That kind blows my mind! One son was afraid of heights until he finished this tour!)
High Rock Adventures offers multiple adventures ranging from beginner to advanced, they have something for everyone to try. You can choose your own adventure here in the beauty of Hocking Hills Region in Ohio and I would highly recommend making High Rock Adventures one of the places that you put on your bucket list.
High Rock Adventures gave us complimentary passes to their location, but as always all opinions are mine.