What if I told you that there was an attraction that draws in more than 2 million people worldwide every year and it's right here in our backyard?
The Hocking Hills is southeastern Ohio’s scenic wonderland and if you attend Hocking College you are right in the middle of it. Students are literally able to step away from the stress that is college and connect with nature.
There are several great destinations that are perfect for a weekend getaway.
Lake Hope State Park
Lake Hope State Park located in McArthur Ohio it is a natural beauty with over 2,900 acres it's great to hike and experience nature. It has remains from abandoned mining industries that help you learn of the areas rich history. The lake is surrounded by rugged forest that when autumn hits the park is turned into a land out of a movie. The park offers boating on the lake which just adds to the ways to experience the beauty.
If spooky is more your thing then visit Moonville Tunnel, located 10 minutes from Lake Hope, this old train tunnel offers a unique experience for students. The tunnel is open to the public 365 days a year with trails going to it but during fall is the time to go with the leaves changing color as you approach the tunnel legend has it you might just see something not of this world.
The tunnel, originally built in 1856, is reportedly haunted by an old engineer who died in 1880 after an accident at the tunnel. Today, it is said a figure in white will appear holding a lantern, perhaps still working on the railroad.
During the month of October they hold a Midnight at Moonville event where you can go to the tunnel from 3pm to 11pm with craft vendors, food, storytelling, wagon rides to Moonville Cemetery, and Local Musicians. The best part is all you have to do is pay for parking and the rest of the activities are free.
Old Man's Cave
The most popular destination in the Hocking Hills is Old Man's Cave and for good reason.
It got its name from a man who lived out his life in the area and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave. The area can be broken up into five different parts Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge.
Along the length of the trail, the magnificent gorge cuts through the entire 150-foot thickness of the Blackhand sandstone. Carved by the creek, the gorge serves as an avenue for visitors to peer into the earth's subsurface.
Every inch of the park makes an incredible picture, but the pictures do not do it justice. Some of the most popular spots includes the breathtaking waterfalls.
If there's one thing that I recommend everyone do before their time is up in this area, it is to go see Old Man's Cave -- it really is spectacular. They have several cabins that are close to the caves if getting away for a weekend is more your thing.
The Hocking Hills is one of the best natural beauties in the region and we are lucky enough to be within a couple miles of it. There is a reason more than 2 million people a year come from all over to see its beauty whether through kayaking on the river, zip lining through the forest, exploring parts both new and old, or simply just getting away from the hustle and bustle of today's world.
About the Author
This blog was written by Dakota Crist, a student intern in the Marketing Office at Hocking College. Dakota is in the Animal Assisted Therapy - Canine program and hopes to either open his own boarding facility in the Hocking Hills, or work as an investigator for the Humane Society.