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On Saturday, January 15, 2022, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Hocking Hills State Park hosted 2,485 hikers for the 56th Annual Winter Hike. The 6-mile hike follows the trail from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave, the perfect backdrop to showcase the beauty of winter in our region. 

A Hocking Hills Tradition

The Winter Hike is a tradition started back in 1965 by Norv Hall, a Park Naturalist who wanted to bring more people out to experience the region in the winter. The first year there were only 60 hikers. Since then, the hike has grown in popularity, with 2010 drawing the biggest crowd yet, with 5,400 hikers. 

Students Provide Historic Interpretation

winter hike 03

New this year were historical items on display at Ash Cave. Hikers were able to see a native grinding mortar and pestle and see how it worked, along with several articles of clothing. The Parks and Museum Education Program offered at Hocking College brought students who discussed how the early settlers used the cave for camping, ceremonies or church services. Hikers also were able to participate in games and activities of that era. 

At Cedar Falls, the halfway point, hikers were offered a lunch of Kiwanis Bean Soup and Cornbread for a small donation. Then at the end of the hike, they enjoyed donuts, hot cocoa, and shuttle buses to return them to their starting point. 

Students Assist Law Enforcement

Students from the Natural Resources Law Enforcement Program offered at Hocking College had the opportunity to experience what it is like to assist with an event. They attended the law enforcement briefing before the event, then assisted hikers along the trail and at warming stations. 

Hocking College has been part of the Winter Hike since the late 70s. It allows students to hone their park education skills while networking with future park directors, managers, and fellow naturalists. 

If you are interested in learning more about Hocking College’s Parks and Education Program or the Natural Resources Law Enforcement Program please contact the admissions office at 740-753-7050 or admissions@hocking.edu.

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