LOGAN — More than 10,000 acres of unbroken forest in Ohio’s Hocking Hills region -dotted with outdoor adventures and wildly unusual lodging options – offer some of the nation’s best fall foliage.
Travelers will never forget views of the idyllic blend of fiery red Maples, blazes of orange Sassafras and yellow Hickory, brushstrokes of brown Oak and pops of green Hemlock and Pine. Though they are encouraged to book their accommodations quickly via ExploreHockingHills.com, as lodging fills up quickly in fall, the area’s high season.
The area is an easy, scenic drive from most major cities and an hour from Columbus. The region’s ribbons of winding roads are so much fun to drive; they’re where expert automotive writers and engineers head to test-drive new car models, including the pros at Car and Driver. Visitors seek out the Hills for some of the most beautiful drives, hikes and tours in the country. Miles of varying elevations and twisting roads ensure picturesque views of the vibrant fall leaves that wait around every corner.
Carved eons ago by glaciers, the Hocking Hills’ extraordinary rock formations, rushing waterfalls, soaring cliffs and craggy caves draw visitors from around the globe. Travelers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the region with a hike to Whispering Cave, Rock Bridge, Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Conkle’s Hollow, Cedar Falls, or on any of the region’s many hiking trails. For those seeking more expansive views of fall color and the unspoiled geological footprint of ancient times, Hocking Hills Scenic Air Tours flies visitors high above the forests and waterfalls for better-than-drone eye candy. The seriousness of Harry Sowers’ 40-year pilot pedigree and the depth of his area knowledge are skillfully juxtaposed against his endless stream of goofball puns and ba-dump-bump one-liners.
Dubbed the “Canopy Tour Capital of the Midwest,” multiple world-class zipline operators offer dozens of tours, such as Soaring Cliffs Canopy Tours, or Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, with its Super Zip and an XTreme Canopy Tour that takes travelers right through a waterfall and into a cave for a truly unusual birds-eye view of the season’s splendor. Meanwhile, an off-road Segway tour gives visitors a ground-hugging experience that’s a total departure from the usual scenic autumn ride.
High Rock Adventures takes visitors on guided eco tours and heart-pounding rappelling trips, giving adventure seekers a ringside seat for what may be the most beautiful autumn scenery on earth. Guided night, sunrise and daytime kayaking trips with Touch the Earth Adventures helps travelers reconnect to the earth and to one another while as the area’s magnificent fall show reflects on the water. Horseback riding and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offer yet two more ways visitors can immerse themselves in fall foliage, while other guided or self-led hikes and adventures let leaf peepers make the most of Hocking Hills’ autumn beauty.
The season’s crisp nights often mean crystal-clear skies, punctuated by the absence of city lights. Guests can experience the stunning sea of stars and planets made visible by Hocking Hills’ dark skies at the just-opened John Glenn Astronomy Park. (The lack of city lights means that the region’s night sky is nothing short of dazzling.)
When you’re looking for a place to lay your head after a day of adventure, the area is home to a dizzying variety of lodging choices, offering the perfect accommodation for any budget or lifestyle. From cozy cottages, historic B&Bs and charming inns, to well-equipped cabins and lodges that sleep more than two dozen, many offer a fully loaded gourmet kitchen, entertainment centers and game rooms — perfect for huge groups. Most are outfitted with deluxe amenities, such as a pool table, foosball, gas grill or telescope for viewing fall color and local wildlife — or for stargazing. Many feature a large hot tub, offering the perfect way to experience Hocking Hills’ magnificent star-filled skies. Primitive or deluxe camping, authentic Sioux tipis and Mongolian yurts, vintage train cabooses, treehouses and more offer unusual overnight options.
Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio’s Hocking Hills region offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make every day feel like Saturday, with plenty of free activities. Unique gift and antique shops, artists’ studios and hands-on activities add to the allure of the Hocking Hills as the perfect place to unplug.
Complete traveler information is available www.ExploreHockingHills.com or 1-800-Hocking (800-462-5464).