WORTH THE DRIVE: Trek through a glittering winter wonderland at annual hike in Hocking Hills

Did you know that soaring cliffs, deep gorges and stunning waterfalls existed right in your own backyard? If you haven’t had the chance to explore Hocking Hills, the 56th Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike might provide the perfect opportunity to take in the most breathtaking sights in the region.

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The 56th Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike takes place on Saturday, Jan. 18, kicking off the day at 9 a.m. with a six-mile trek from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave.

Visitors from around the globe will flock to the region to celebrate its glittering views and experience its famed winter activities. In addition, many cabins and inns are offering lodging specials and discounts in January.

The Winter Hike draws thousands of hikers each year to experience the Midwest's most magnificent winter scenes. The region's gorgeous rock formations, soaring cliffs, deep gorges and stunning waterfalls freeze to icy, crystal sculptures, making the Hocking Hills one of the Buckeye State's most popular winter destinations.

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The hike features continuous starts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Hot bean soup and cornbread, served midway at Cedar Falls by the Kiwanis Club, is free, though donations are encouraged. At Ash Cave, the Lions Club will have hot chocolate and doughnuts waiting for the tired hikers.

Because of limited parking at the visitor center, ODNR encourages visitors to carpool. Overflow parking will be available at Hocking Hills Elementary School, located at 19197 State Route 664 South in Logan. A shuttle bus will return hikers from Ash Cave to the Old Man's Cave parking lot.

Layered clothing and good traction footwear are recommended, as snow and ice can make trails slippery. Hikers are also encouraged to shoot photos and videos of the region’s majestic winter beauty and to post them to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, tagging #MyHockingHills.

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“Whether this is their first or fiftieth Annual Winter Hike, visitors quickly discover why January is an excellent time to view the rugged grandeur of the Hocking Hills,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR director. “Waterfalls, cliffs, recess caves and other geologic wonders are on display throughout the six-mile journey through the park.”

Immediately after the hike, head to Logan for the charming town’s Frozen Festival. The festival is in its fifth year and still dazzling visitors with more than two dozen massive glittering ice sculptures, ice carving demonstrations, live music, ice corn hole and Skee-Ball.

The free event also features local arts and crafts, food trucks and local dining fixtures like Chef Moe on the Go Food Truck, Schmidt's, Sausage Wagon and Kona Ice Truck.

For more information about the Frozen Festival, pay a visit to explorehockinghills.com.


What: 56th Annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike

Where: Hocking Hills State Park, 19852 State Route 664 S, Logan

When: Saturday, Jan. 18, with continuous starts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Cost: Free

More info: WebsiteFacebook

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