Whispering Cave and Hemlock Trail : Hocking Hills Region

Adventure demands to be had in Hocking Hills State Park and while some trails are family friendly adventures, the Whispering Cave and Hemlock Trail are for the explorer at heart. This trail will check off all the things you have on your outdoor adventure list. You’ll traverse rugged terrain, jagged rocks, a suspension bridge and have a beautiful cave to explore.

The trail head is easy to locate and is right off the parking lot where the old dining hall used to be. Parking for this trail is ample, we have never had difficulty finding a spot.

Heading into the woods here at the Whispering Cave and Hemlock trail is beautiful. The path looks easy and you may wonder why people would classify this trail as moderately difficult. Don’t be deceived, the hard parts are coming, enjoy this section soft, dirt trail. You will realize that you are heading into more difficult terrain when you find yourself at the top of about 112 stairs. As you peer down them, you know that at the end of the hike you will need to climb them back up. It can be a tad daunting.

When you reach the bottom of the stairs, you are transported into the hemlocks and stunning cliffs of the Hocking Hills region. It is breathtaking as you peer over the valley before heading down the trail toward Whispering Cave.

Our family likes to hike all the way down to the suspension bridge before we go to Whispering Cave. Getting to the bridge is all down hill and we love that section of the trail. The kids enjoy going across this amazing, swaying bridge in the midst of the woods. One notable thing, if you have children, they WILL try to make you fall. (If they are anything like mine.)

After admiring and playing at the bridge you can start your hike back to the trail head. The walk back by the river is delightfully easy and then you come to the hill. As you peer up, remember, it’s slow and steady back up to the top, before you know it you’ll be finished. My son, Sam, loves to run up the hill to the Whispering Cave sign and wait for the rest of us to get there. I think he likes to see me struggle up the incline.

As you hike the Whispering Cave trail you will be able to admire the honeycomb formations in the rocks, check out the erosion on the side of the cliffs and appreciate the flora and fauna of the region. It is stunning, beautiful and absolutely awe-inspiring as you head into the recessed cave that’s nearly 300 feet wide with a drizzling, 105-foot waterfall pouring from its upper rim. (This waterfall is seasonal and changes with precipitation.) Because this trail is new and there is not a lot of foot traffic yet, your time in the cave may be just you and your family. It makes Whispering Cave a quiet sanctuary.

Personally, I love this trail. It challenges me and affords me the beauty that I have come to love in the Hocking Hills Region. There is no other trail like this one in the area, it is one of a kind. If your looking for EVERYTHING that draws people to Hocking Hills in one hike, this is the one for you.

Things to know:

Round trip is 2.4 miles (This is the Hemlock Trail and Whispering Cave Trail combined.)

Make sure you wear proper footwear, hiking shoes are recommended.

Make sure you have plenty of water.

The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips.

Dogs are welcome on this trail but must be kept on leash.

Parking is ample and easy to find.

These trails is NOT stroller friendly nor handicap accessible. If you are looking for those try, Ash Cave or Conkles Hollow Gorge Trail.

Directions: From the Visitor Center at Old Man’s Cave, turn left onto OH-664 and drive for about a mile, then turn left again at the entrance for the Hocking Hills State Park Cabins. Follow that park road to the parking lot for the lodge.

GPS Coordinates: 39.425878, -82.551861

Happy Adventures,


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