Don’t let Old Man Winter keep you indoors or bundled up at home this winter, plan to escape to Ohio’s premier outdoor playground. There are plenty of things to do in winter in Hocking Hills; you will actually be surprised! Winter is the best time to visit Hocking Hills, one of Ohio’s busiest state parks.
Hocking Hills State Park in winter is magical. Plan your trip during a super cold snap or when there has been a light dusting of snow. Why? Because the whole state park turns into a frozen snow globe, you just want to shake up and sit back to watch. It is breathtaking in winter.
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Best Hiking Trails in Hocking Hills in Winter
I choose to hike different trails during the wintertime than I do in the summertime. Primarily for my safety and for the views of Hocking Hills that I want to get. Here are my three favorite trails to hike in Hocking Hills State Park during winter.
Cedar Falls is my favorite trail in winter. Use this Cedar Falls as an out and back trail this time of the year. You have to hike down some pretty steep stairs, then take the path to the falls that run along Queer Creek. If you have timed it right, you will be met with a stunning display of winter beauty when you get to the falls.
Cedar Falls – Hocking Hills State Park – 21724 Ohio 374 Scenic, Logan, OH 43138
GPS Tracking: 39.418265, -82.526295
Old Man’s Cave
Old Man’s Cave trail starts at the Hocking Hills Visitor Center. One nice thing about hiking this trail is coming to the visitor center to warm up and buy something from the gift shop after the trek through the woods. One thing I have to say about this trail is that you have to pay attention to the ice when traversing this path during winter.
Old Man’s Cave State Route 664, Logan OH 43138 GPS Tracking: 39.437176, -82.539667
I love this trail because it is family-friendly, even in winter! It is an easy out and back hike, and you will be treated to stunning displays of ice formations when you get to the cave. Read more about Ash Cave here.
Ash Cave 27291 State Route 56, South Bloomingville, OH 43152 | GPS Tracking: 39.395993,-82.545927
Start your hikes early and be back at your car by dusk. In winter, it gets cold fast as the sunsets.
Layer your clothing, use high-quality gloves and hats
There is no such thing as bad weather in Ohio, just bad gear.
Stay in Hocking Hills
Winter is the perfect time to snag a place to stay in Hocking Hills. Since there are fewer visitors in winter, you can usually find something on the weekdays. Weekends can still be busy at this time of year. Whether you are looking for a quiet winter retreat or a place to soak in a hot tub, Hocking Hills has something for everyone. A few places we have stayed are highlighted below; each one has its own unique flavor!
Grab Come Coffee or Hot Chocolate in Hocking Hills
Coffee flights are all the rage these days, and Hocking Hills Oasis Coffee Shop has cornered the market on them. This stop is more than a coffee shop; you can grab a snack or a light lunch before you leave.
Hocking Hills Coffee Emporium might not have coffee flights, but their location is PERFECT! I grab a cup of coffee on the way into the park and on the way out. Try some of their homemade baked goods that will melt in your mouth.
Hocking Hills Winery Facebook
Sip Wine at Hocking Hills Winery
Wine flights and charcuterie boards await thirsty adventure seekers when they stop in at Hocking Hills Winery! If you want a meal with your wine, grab something from a local restaurant and bring it along. While the inside of the winery is not pet-friendly, the patio welcomes Fido.
If wine is not your thing and you prefer a beer, check out Brewery 33.
Visit Jack Pine Studio
If your cold, heat up at Jack Pine Studio, where they are blowing glass pumpkins year around. I think this is one of my favorite stops when I come into “the hills.” The sound of the furnaces throwing out hot blasts, skilled glassblowers honing their craft, and the stunning glass displays cause me to pause and soak all the amazingness in.
Pro-tip: Buy the pumpkin of the year while visiting and take it home for your fall decorations.
Eat Your Way Around Hocking Hills
This area is known for comfort foods; it even has a Comfort Food Trail. However, classically trained chefs have made their way to Hocking Hills, meaning the food scene has been taken up a notch or two.
For my 40th birthday, my sister-in-law took me to Glenlaural Scottish Inn for a seven-course dinner where each evening brings a different main course from duck breast to rack of lamb.
And if you are willing to drive a bit, Lake Hope Lodge has a great selection of BBQ and is known for its Sunday brunch and great views. (Be advised this is a hilly thirty-minute drive from the center of Hocking Hills, but it is totally worth it!)
Star Gaze At The John Glenn Astronomy Park
Wide-open spaces and long winter night skies make for perfect stargazing in the darkest night sky in Ohio. See the stars from wherever you’d like with a blanket and hot chocolate.