5 Overlooked Ohio Waterfalls

Hike to this collection of underappreciated falls and cascades outside of Columbus.

Ohio is home to some beautiful and even famous waterfalls: Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley, Cedar Falls in the Hocking Hills. But the Buckeye State has more cascades than you’d expect. And as parks and preserves acquire more property, once-private waterfalls are now open to the public. Take a road trip from Columbus to check out and hike to some of the state’s best waterfalls that you (most likely) have yet to visit.

Dundee Falls

Mohican State Park is known all around Ohio, and its waterfalls—Big Lyons and Little Lyons—are nice to visit. But nearby, Dundee Falls in the Beach City Wildlife Area (two hours northeast of Columbus) is significantly more substantial—and it’s significantly less crowded, too. A 2-mile trail takes you to several waterfalls, including the 15-foot-tall Dundee Falls, which flows year-round. Be aware of hunting seasons, especially deer rifle season late November to early December. More info: ohiodnr.gov 

Rockbridge Falls

The Hocking Hills is known for its waterfalls—Upper Falls, Lower Falls, the falls at Ash Cave. But Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, which is located in the greater Hocking Hills region (45 minutes southeast of Columbus), is known for the state’s longest natural bridge, at 50 feet. It’s less famous for the uniquely situated 40-foot waterfall that pours over the lip of the rocks next to the rock bridge. This waterfall has a light flow, so go in the spring or after a rain. It’s less than 2 miles to hike round-trip to the rock bridge and falls. More info: ohiodnr.gov

Cedar Falls

No, not that Cedar Falls. There are several waterfalls in Ohio named Cedar Falls. The one you may not have visited yet—or even known about—is Cedar Falls in the Edge of Appalachia Preserve System, owned and operated by The Nature Conservancy. Take a 3.4-mile out-and-back trail to these tiered waterfalls. Along the way, hike among the cedar trees, through a boulder field and past stellar spring wildflowers like trillium, phlox and trout lily. This trail, located two hours south of Columbus, opened to the public in 2020. More info: nature.org/

Cedar Cliff Falls

Cedar Cliff Falls is a beautiful feature in its own right, and then it plunges into an equally beautiful gorge where limestone walls hem in Massie Creek. In the spring, this 18-foot-tall waterfall—not natural, but created in the last century to harness water for a mill—has a high flow with flowers like mustard and dame’s rocket that frame the drop. From the main trailhead (a one-hour drive west/southwest of Columbus), there is a wheelchair-accessible trail to the falls. From the waterfall, hike downstream to the namesake Native American mound—this park is named Indian Mound Reserve—and then to a restored 1800s cabin and back for a 3.4-mile hike. Because this is a county park instead of a state or national park, Cedar Cliffs Falls isn’t well known outside the area. More info: gcparkstrails.com 

Charleston Falls

Like the above, Charleston Falls Preserve is a county park, which means it’s popular locally but under the radar statewide. It shouldn’t be, though: The beautiful, namesake falls plunge 37 feet into a pool below, surrounded by limestone cliffs and towering sycamore trees. Take a loop hike through the entire preserve (under 2 miles in length) and pass by not only the waterfall, but places with names like Redbud Valley and Cedar Pond. Head one hour west of Columbus to the preserve. More info: miamicountyparks.com

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.