Recommended Route: Grandma Gatewood to Gorge Overlook Trail
For a greatest-hits hike within the park, try the Grandma Gatewood Trail (that’s the name of this segment of the BT) from Upper Falls to Cedar Falls, and then back, on the Gorge Overlook Trail for a 6-mile loop. From the visitor center, take the sidewalk back to the end of the parking lot where you will see a trailhead kiosk. From there, access the trail and hike past Upper Falls, Devil’s Bathtub (a swirling water feature), Old Man’s Cave and Lower Falls all within the first mile. If you’re looking for something shorter, you can exit the gorge just below Lower Falls and return to the visitor center for a loop that’s less than a mile and a half.
Continuing downstream on the blue-blazed Buckeye Trail, the crowds fall away quickly. At Mile 3, exit the BT and follow yellow blazes to Cedar Falls, the highest-volume waterfall in the Hocking Hills. From Cedar Falls, climb out of the gorge and pick up the red-blazed Gorge Overlook Trail, which features the promised overlooks plus a section that skirts Rose Lake before you return to where you started.
The Grandma Gatewood trail is named after Ohioan Emma Gatewood, first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail in 1955 at age 67 and a founding member of the Buckeye Trail Association.
Do It at Least Once
The annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike takes place the third Saturday in January. Join a few thousand of your closest friends and hike the 6 miles from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave. Chili and cornbread are served halfway at Cedar Falls, and a shuttle takes you back from Ash Cave to where you started.
Take U.S. 33 east from Columbus; it’s one hour to Logan where you go south on SR 664 for 10 miles to the Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center and parking.
Where To Eat
The Inn and Spa at Cedar Falls has a restaurant, Kindred Spirits, which updates its menu seasonally. Reservations are recommended.
More Info: ohiodnr.gov