After getting back from Paducah, Kentucky, I decided to wait one week before leaving out on another short getaway adventure. I wanted to go somewhere that it wasn’t too hot or sunny out and a place where we could possible adventure a few caves. Due to my oldest son’s planned trip with he’s father sister to Tennessee; our household including two people with respiratory issues. I knew I needed to go somewhere that was at least 3 to 5 hour drive going and coming back. I also wanted the adventure to include much-needed family fun, but have some level of control over our environment, so we wouldn’t pass out from walking in the hot.
Honestly, my family and I were talking about cave visiting with the kids, before school started session. So we just started looking up close cave places and stumble upon The Hocking Hills State Park in Logan, Ohio. The only thing we knew about the area was it just started back opening up local places, including the state park and attractions. We just said let’s go and visit the place!
So we all decided to travel at the end of July and spend at least a few days in Southeastern Ohio exploring the area. The drive didn’t feel long at all, but of course I wasn’t doing the speed limit…LOL! We got to Logan, OH in under 3 1/2 hours; we probably could’ve keep our drive time down but there were a lot of construction going on leaving Indianapolis and headed into Cincinnati area that drove me crazy. My family was laughing at me the whole way there; all I was saying was “What the bloody hell!?…Shit!…My lord!…Are you serious!” I give my little sister permission to drive back; even though, the drive back was way smoother and faster than going.
WHAT IS THE HOCKING HILLS STATE PARK?
The Hocking Hills State Park is located in Southeastern Ohio. From the information provided, it is more than about 10,000 acres long with breathtaking forests that are stunning all year around. The park features a variety of adventurous destinations and if you are into hiking, you would definitely love exploring this park; whether it is for 1 day or 2 weeks. There’s much to do!
When finally arriving to Logan, Ohio! We had to stop at the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center before entering the state park. Even though, the Hocking Hills State Park is located on State Road 664…it is very easily to get lost if you don’t seek help first or a map; especially if it’s your first time going there. The Welcome Center is located right off US 33 and State Rd 664, you can’t miss it! The tour guide person helped out a lot with our family have kids and Curious George kids at that. We wanted to explore a few safe caves, before headed to the more cautious ones. She told us a little bit about the park, trails, caves, and eating areas. But suggested to explore the Old Man’s Cave first before venturing off to other ones.
We started our expedition headed to the Old Man’s Cave first!
HIKING ADVENTURE in HOCKING HILLS
Most of our time was spent hiking the incredible trail of the Old Man’s Cave. We were trying to focus on these trails listed, because of how the park is split:
- Old Man’s Cave
- Ash Cave
- Cedar Falls
- Rock House
We knew that it was possible to hike at least two trails each day and planned it well; until we enter the parking lot of Old Man’s Cave.
First we had to find parking! Then prepare what items we needed to take and the items that should stay in the vehicle, even though I wanted to cry. The stroller had to stay like the tour guide said, but I am glad we did listen cos the pathway wasn’t a joke.
It took us about 20 minutes to start the trail, we went the wrong way to start…Come to think about everyone went the wrong way that visit LOL and my sister’s rubber band that connects to her braces kept coming off. It was like the rubber band didn’t want us to enter the trail. She get it back on and then it would pop off…CONSTANTLY AFTER, like it was saying “You thought you had me on sucka!…Stay your ass right here and fix me!”
When we finally got on the trail. My sister, niece, and son notice this sign about What Not To Do and looked at me.
As if I was the person, who would do the opposite of what the sign stated not to do…ACTUALLY, come to think about I am that person indeed!
Anyhoo, the trail was short and a person can easily forget their plan on tackling 4 trails like we did, just admiring the beautiful scenery of the cave. Is was a one-way in and out trail, which made my sister a little cautious LOL. But I think it’s only like that to enforce the social distancing guidelines, since nobody can’t wear face masks walking through trails like that. It was cool to see the different cliffs, the waterfall, and two short tunnels we went through. My niece stop everyone at the first tunnel. She show a huge spider that nobody else saw and I am so glad I didn’t because I would had to find another way around. But you can hear my sister voice echo in the tunnel loud as hell…“SIS…OMG, WAIT!!”
LOL, I am not going to lie..my daughter was trying to go back and help. I was like “Oh, hell to the naw…keep moving!”
I told my sister…“Just haul ass, cos I am not about to stop in the middle of this tunnel.” Damn near fall, cos the tunnel didn’t have any light.
FYI be sure to bring a flashlight or use your flash on your phone, you’ll need it!
Due to our time in the Old Man’s Cave, we didn’t get to finish the other (3) liked we planned. The kids were getting hungry and my sister had to head back to finish some school work. So, we finished up and headed to Jack’s Steakhouse.
Hocking Hills State Park has plenty to do besides hiking trails, includes: fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, camping, ziplining, and so much more.
DINING at JACK’S STEAKHOUSE
OK, now before someone comments about my experience. Please note that was our first time in Logan, Ohio and not sure what great places were open to eat in Hocking Hills.
All I know, we were carving for steak, salmon, burgers, mash potatoes, rice, fries, and etc. So, when we seen the steakhouse we thought it would be similar to the steakhouse restaurants in Indianapolis.
As much as I would’ve like to have given this restaurant a good rating, the experience there didn’t feel so good. I do have to say this much some of the local diners were very nice and staff tried to go above and beyond apologizing for us waiting nearly 1 1/2 hour to be served, after the majority of the dining room had left. It was bad, people after us were dining in and getting served less than 30 minutes of sitting. With similar to or more of the order we placed.
I am just so glad, the kids were patient as we were cos I would’ve left if they started acting a fool. But they were laughing and holding conversations with some of the locals, including the staff. My son never seen Amish people before and he was interested to know little bit about their culture.
Once we received our meals, we all dug in and started eating. Nobody complained about their meal, which was a plus compared to long wait. So, in fair this time…I will not be rating this restaurant, but if someone were to ask it wouldn’t be a high rating. I still left the waitress a tip because she was very kind to my children and family; even though I knew that she knew…we were about to start getting inpatient.
I remember one of the locals on the trail, including the tour guide asked if we will be dining in town. They both mention the La Cascada Mexican Restaurant, nobody was in the mood for mexican food but we know next time to listen to the locals. THEY LIVE HERE!
WILL THERE BE A NEXT TIME to the HOCKING HILLS?
Despite the food services being very slow at Jack’s Steakhouse. We still had a great time overall in Hocking Hills. Upon leaving, we realized that in the short time that we stayed; we still did not get to fully experience of the area like we prefer. So, YES!…we will definitely be back to the area. We actually started planning other attractions that we didn’t get to experience and we know it’s a MUST DO!
When people travel to new places they have never been. We are always researching turning to decide if it’s going to be worth our time and money. I GET IT!
But if you spend your time worried about those things, you will never know what is truly out there. Whether it’s 30 hours or 30 minutes away. If you’re thinking about traveling somewhere in the late summer or fall and interested in outdoor activities, just plan a trip to the Hocking Hills State Park. It will be worth the trip!
Heck, maybe your experience your at Jack’s Steakhouse would be better than ourselves. The food was good and super hot when it finally got to our table.
Here are some more highlights of our trip: