Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know

In southeastern Ohio, you’ll find an incomparable outdoor playground in Hocking Hills State Park. The area is rich with a variety of sandstones, which allowed historic erosion to produce incredible geologic formations including caves, cliffs, gorges, and waterfalls. These natural formations and water sources made the area an attractive area to settle for many different people over thousands of years.

Archeologists have determined that the first sign of humans in the area was about 7,000 years ago; they used the caves and rock overhangs as shelter. Several different Native American tribes also called the area home during the 1700s until westward settlers sought out the waterfalls to power their grain mills.

The natural beauty of the nearly 2,500-acre park has been protected since 1924 and thousands of visitors come each year to explore and camp. Hocking Hills State Park is a perfect stop on your RV trip through Ohio—offering fun and relaxation for the whole family.

Why Visit Hocking Hills State Park in Your Rented RV?

The diverse landscape of the park makes it an always interesting location to explore. The hilly land introduces scenic topography and adds unique elements to hiking trails, rock climbing, and even zip lining. The various water features (lakes, rivers, creeks, waterfalls) offer great opportunities to canoe/kayak or go fishing. There’s so much to do that you may even consider camping at Hocking Hills two nights in a row.

Hiking and Mountain Biking

Get up close and personal with the natural beauty of Hocking Hills State Park on one of the park’s 13 trails. This trail system is designed to bring you to at least one of the park’s iconic natural features. For example, the Cedar Falls trail will take you right to the falls themselves. Trails vary in distance from a quarter mile to six and vary in difficulty and accessibility for all visitors.

If mountain biking is your thing, there are two excellent trails for you as well. The two-mile Purple Loop Trail is moderate and is a good choice for most riders. If you’re looking for more of a challenge, the two-mile Orange Loop Trail has many more obstacles and elevation changes, earning it a ‘difficult’ rating. 

The Caves

The native sandstone of Hocking Hills afforded the formation of scenic caves within the park. Old Man’s Cave, so named for the recluse that inhabited the area in the late 1700s, features a waterfall and striking black sandstone cliffs. The man, Richard Rowe, is actually buried under a ledge of the cave.

Ash Cave is by far the largest natural feature in the whole park. At more than 1,000 feet long, the cave was a significant source of shelter for many people hundreds of years ago. A striking overhang stretches along the entirety of the cave’s length and a walk beneath it is a unique experience.

Rose Lake

Although small, 17-acre Rose Lake is a source of great fun for visitors. Canoe or kayak around this scenic little lake surrounded by richly forested hills. If you’ve got an electric motor, you’re allowed to use that as well.

Fishermen also enjoy the well-stocked waters at Rose Lake. Local wildlife management stocks the lake with trout each year. You can also catch largemouth bass, bluegill, and channel catfish. Just make sure you purchase an Ohio fishing license.

Waterfalls

Within the park’s boundaries, you’ll find four scenic waterfalls. The largest, Cedar Falls, is at the eastern edge of the park and is one of the most reliable—even in the middle of summer. Old Man’s Cave also features a two-tiered waterfall with upper and lower falls. These are also large and reliable in the summer months. The Ash Cave and Whispering Falls are a little fainter, but worth the visit for their steep drops.

The park’s trail system does a great job of getting you right to the falls without much travel. The Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Ash Cave Gorge, and Whispering Cave Trails all take you right to the action via hikes that are only one mile or less.

Climbing and Rappelling

Although there aren’t many opportunities for climbing inside the park itself, the immediately adjacent Hocking Hills State Forest offers fantastic rock climbing and rappelling opportunities. What is rappelling, you ask? You essentially start at an elevated location like a cliff or other rock face and, while attached to a climbing rope, push off the rock face with your feet and work your way down.

If you’ve never done this before, but would like to, there are plenty of services offered by seasoned experts to teach you everything you need to know. You can also rent the necessary gear as well. Imagine the stories you can tell about the time you rappelled down alongside a 115-foot waterfall!

Campgrounds and RV Parks for Hocking Hills State Park

Southeastern Ohio is full of gorgeous rolling hills and forests, but there are not a lot of amenities around for campers. Your best bet will be to stay at the onsite campground at Hocking Hills, but there are a couple of other options within 10 miles. Otherwise, you’re looking at a longer drive up towards Columbus or out west.

Campground at Hocking Hills State Park

For a state park, the campground amenities for RVs are really quite impressive. The campground is large with more than 100 sites, nearly half of which are full-hookup capable. Your site also comes with a paved pad which is great for setting up any outdoor furniture. Additional amenities include a camp store, showers, flushing toilets, a dump station, swimming pool, and a playground.

Sun Valley Campground

If you would like to stay nearer to a mid-sized town with modern amenities, the Sun Valley Campground 38 miles to the west is a good option. The 45 RV sites offer electric and water hookups (no sewer). You’ll have access to hot showers and flushing toilets as well. For entertainment, the campground has a playground, a game room, basketball court, and a fishing pond. It is also close to downtown Chillicothe where you can find good restaurants and a little shopping. 

Stacked Stones Retreat

If you’re looking for something on the peaceful side, Stacked Stones Retreat is right for you. Only seven miles from the park, the campground used to be a horse camp and is a serene and isolated spot to decompress. Only electricity is available at your campsite, so make the proper preparations for water needs. The campground also offers Wi-Fi, showers, and covered picnic tables. You can also peruse the new gift shop, featuring work by local artisans.

Logan/Hocking Hills KOA

The ultimate combination of amenities and convenience, the Logan/Hocking Hills KOA offers the most complete camping experience in the area. Just five minutes from the park’s entrance, this campground offers varying levels of full hookup sites. You’ve got your standard pull-throughs, but there is also a premium site that provides luxury outdoor furniture, a gas grill, premium fire pit, and a concrete drive. Just a few of the unique amenities include a camp store, dining facility (pizza, burgers, wings, breakfast), coffee bar, remote control cars, heated swimming pool, ball pit, and hiking trail. Be aware that all of these amenities do mean that this is one of the most expensive campgrounds in the area. 

Top O’ the Caves

Besides staying within the park itself, the Top O’ the Caves campground is the closest option available. Mere feet from the park boundary, the campground offers varying levels of RV camping from primitive (dry camping) all the way to full hookup. You’ve got a picnic table and fire ring at your site and you can choose from wooded or open spaces. Additional amenities include showers and a laundromat. For fun, the campground also offers a swimming pool, mini golf, arcade, and gift shop.

Places to Eat Near Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio

There really isn’t a definitive southeastern Ohio cuisine, so you’ll find a mix of different restaurants. Unfortunately, there aren’t a ton near the park. The closest towns with a variety of options will be to head up to Logan (about 20 miles) or out to Chillicothe (about 35 miles).

Dining at Hocking Hills State Park

Within the state park, the camp store has a few snacks, but there are no proper dining facilities. There are six different picnic areas, however, that are a great place to enjoy an RV-prepared meal. There are latrines and drinking water at each of these sites which is a great convenience.

Dining outside of Hocking Hills State Park

Immediately outside the park, the Inn at Cedar Falls offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner service. The atmosphere is quaint, and the food is American (think steak, chicken, burgers, eggs and bacon). There’s a wider array of choices up in Logan where you can find Mexican, pizza, and BBQ among the standard American cafes and grills. Out in Chillicothe, you’ll find a whole bunch of burger, pizza, and Italian chains.

Whether you stay in the park, or a little off the beaten path, you’ll find something for everyone during your visit to this southeastern Ohio gem. Make sure Hocking Hills State Park is on your list for your RV adventure through the Buckeye State.