Photo Credit: Tabitha Hawk

While you may picture the Midwest as flat rolling cornfields, Hocking Hills is Ohio’s natural crown jewel. With rugged cliffs and deep, mysterious gorges, the area is actually comprised of multiple state parks, eco adventures, and a number of unique geographical features. Everything from zip lining and canoeing to horseback riding and hot air ballooning exists in the area so make it a long weekend of adventuring.

Also a 26.4-mile scenic byway, you can drive through the State Forest for some of the most amazing views in Ohio, or you can get out and explore then on your own.

Take the Grandma Gatewood Trail to Old Man’s Cave

A six-mile trail to three of the park's most popular areas, to Grandmother’s House we go! A great way to see Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave all in one day, the geographical wonder was named for a hermit who once took up residence in the cave. And once you see it, you may be tempted to, as well. An awesome region of black sandstone, cascading waters and gorges, you could hide out here for a day or two.

"Rock House, Hocking Hills, Ohio" by Morgan Paul via Flickr Creative Commons

Traverse the Tunnels of Rock House

The only true cave in the park, explore the Gothic archways, sandstone columns, and look for early signs of life via wall carvings and remnants of troughs or fire pits. According to local folklore, not so welcome visitors frequented Rock House including robbers, horse thieves, murderers, and even bootleggers, earning Rock House a reputation as Robbers Roost.

Walk the Rock Bridge

The largest natural bridge in the state, this 100 foot long walkway gracefully arches across a ravine for some truly amazing views and photos. Originating millions of years ago when Ohio lay under a warm inland sea, erosion over the years worked it’s magic, forming what’s there today.

Take a torchlit canoe tour

Is there anything more romantic (or eerie) than exploring by moonlight? Whether you opt for a one-day trip, camp along the secluded banks of the Hocking River or stay in a rustic cabin, it’s a great place to get one on one with nature and see what goes on in this unique ecosystem after-dark.