The Hocking Hills

Hocking County is best known for the Hocking Hills, an area containing thick forests, cascading waterfalls, deep rocky gorges and amazing rock formations. It has primarily been the process of surface erosion that has sculpted the beautiful Hocking Hills.

The Hocking Hills Region is a geological anomaly in the state of Ohio. As a whole, Ohio has been historically connected to the Ohio Valley, a region of 1700s settlements east of the Appalachia Mountains. But the glacier-created flatlands that represent a majority of this state do not account for the rock and ridge canyons of the Hocking Hills.

Over 5,000 years ago, the last of the glaciers created the bowl of the Ohio Valley and much of the Midwest. The ancient walls of Hocking Hills…an eroding weave of sandstone gorges existed as the base of the Appalachia range. Cooled by the nearby glaciers, the canyons of the Hocking Hills became an ideal microclimate for seedlings of northern flora released from the glaciers in their melting retreat. Hemlock forests and fern filled wetlands would have bordered these glaciers until long after their retreat north. However, the Hemlocks themselves retreated southeast…into the cool, preserving climate of what is now Hocking Hills.

In recent history, the state of Ohio bought thousands of acres and created The Hocking Hills State Park, which is comprised of multiple sites. Within the Hocking Hills State Park system are Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls (containing the largest tree in Ohio – a hemlock), Conkle’s Hollow (the deepest gorge in Ohio), Rock House, and Cantwell Cliffs. Additionally, a dedication toward preservation in private ownership accounts for much of the respected woodlands that fill in the spaces between state parks, including the softly treaded canyon and mature woods of Glenlaurel’s Camusfearna Gorge.

Adding to the natural color and uniqueness of the region, a fair number of local artists and skilled craftspeople have set up shop along the winding roads of the county. Along with canoeing, horseback riding, boating, golf and year-round hiking, the leisurely atmosphere of the region makes the Hocking Hills a premiere site for nature enthusiast…or those simply wishing to relax in the company of a natural world.

The Hocking Hills is one of the premiere tourism areas in Ohio. The landscape attracts campers, canoers, hikers, boaters, and rock climbers. Hocking County is also a magnet for history buffs as they seek out the preserved portions of the Hocking Canal locks, dams, and aqueducts. In addition, the county was home to Wyandotte Indians and Logan, the county seat, is named in honor of the famous Mingo Indian Chief.

To celebrate our connection to this natural world and the leisure opportunities available in it, we welcome and invite you to visit The Hocking Hills Tourism Board for more comprehensive, yet personal exploration of our beautiful Hocking Hills.