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Outdoor Adventures after COVID 19
Someday soon state parks and businesses will open to full capacity, and life as we knew it is going to resume. Partaking in outdoor adventures will once again be the warm weather norm. We will co-exist in crowds (wearing masks will also become the new norm) and our spirit of enjoying the natural wonders among us will blossom in full.
As our life and economy begin to rebound from this COVID 19 pandemic, I encourage everyone to access your local businesses first. Our communities in which we live will need a jump start, so I am providing some ideas of things to do in southeastern Ohio, once they again open their proverbial doors.
Most Ohioans are familiar with Hocking Hills, located in Hocking County, the southeastern part of Ohio. It has been an area of family friendly outdoor adventures for countless years. The Hocking Hills area has miles of hiking trails, lakes, caverns, cliffs, rock shelters, gorges, waterfalls, horseback riding, camping, treehouses, ziplining, dining, canoeing, kayaking, antiquing, bird watching and many other outdoor adventures and opportunities. Outlined below are 5 popular family friendly outdoor adventures.
Hocking Hills State Park
The most popular attraction is Hocking Hills State Park. Due to its uniqueness, it has earned international as well as national recognition as one of the most visited parks to pay a visit. The beauty of the park changes with every season. It offers stunning views with waterfalls, cliffs and hiking trails amid the gorges. Check their official website for information of park hours of operation and events. Please dress in layers, as the temperature drops as your exploring the caves compared to hiking in the woods. Having appropriate attire makes a difference in your comfort while you enjoy your day. You may want to explore proper hiking gear attire for outdoor adventures as part of your planning process.
Caves and Waterfalls
Within the Hocking Hills State Park you can explore Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave, all connected by a 6 mile one-way hiking trail. There are no services to bring you back to your beginning, so make sure you plan ahead your routes. Old Man’s Cave isn’t what you picture a traditional cave to look like. It’s actually divided into 5 sections following the valley of Old Man’s Creek. According to the Department of Natural Resources, it is divided by the Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge. The natural beauty is captured year round, not only in the summer months. Finally, follow the Hemlock Bridge Trail which leads to Whispering Cave.
It is recommended you spend an entire weekend, if not at least 3 days, in the Hocking Hills area to fully appreciate much of what it has to offer. The most popular type of lodging to solidify the outdoor adventure experience are rustic or luxury cabins. Buffalo Lodging Company offers a variety of styles with accommodations ranging from 2 up to 20 people in their cozy cabins or large luxurious lodges. They’ve been in business since 2009 and will most certainly be able to meet your lodging needs.
There are 4 local places to enjoy water activities of canoeing and kayaking. Hocking Hills Adventures offers canoes, kayaks, rafts and tubes for 2 hours to 2 day trips. They offer riverside rustic cabins and camping areas. Hocking Hills Canoe Livery offers Torchlight and Moonlight canoe trips. They are a full service livery providing canoe, kayak and raft rentals. Murray’s Landing Canoe and Kayak Livery runs on a first come, first serve basis. They are a locally owned and operated LLC open 7 days a week. Be sure to wear water shoes as opposed to flip flops. If you end up in the water unexpectedly, sometimes the shallow depths feel slimy or muddy under your feet, not to mention stepping on jagged edged rocks. Ouch.
In addition to water sports, you can enjoy some good old fashioned horseback riding! We found 3 businesses offering this activity, but there are likely more than we list here. The Spotted Horse Ranch is actually a working ranch. You can bring your own horse or ride one of the Appaloosa horses. They host a 16-site campground and use their lighted arena for horse shows and other events. Another option is Uncle Buck’s Riding Stable and dance barn. They offer trails for riding, a saloon and beer garden. Finally, Equestrian Ridge Farm offers horseback riding for individuals up to groups of 10. Prior to riding a trail, they offer basic training before setting you free to ride. Due to limited rides per day, reservations are required.
Talk about outdoor adventures! You don’t get more adventurous then ziplining! Hocking Hills Canopy Tours won the “Best of Ohio Reader’s Pick Winner of 2018”. This park offers multiple adventures including the “X-Tour”, a professionally guided extreme ziplining adventure, their original canopy tour, off road Segway adventures, a total of 9 different adventurous packages. Another business Soaring Cliffs offers a 10 line 2.5 hour guided tour. You get to explore 3 different caves and they claim to have the tallest zip course in Ohio!
Rock Climbing and Rappelling
Hocking State Forest Rock Climbing and Rappelling has 99 acres specifically designated for rock climbing and rappelling enthusiasts. They do not offer training or climbing with provided guides. They recommend you bring your own quality equipment and participate in this sport with other experienced climbers. If you’re looking for guided tours, visit Adventure Treks. They offer different packages for different rappelling with introduction into rock climbing, rappelling down cliffs or down Ohio’s largest waterfall – Big Spring Waterfall. Call ahead for reservations. Please note, in addition to rock climbing and rappelling, they also offer other outdoor adventures such as guided tours, archery, belly boat fishing and other artistic events.
So Much to Do!
As a result, there is much to do while in Hocking County, Ohio. Outdoor adventures are a plenty! When COVID 19 isolation mandates finally lift and life can resume once again, let’s get out there and PLAY!! If you need a jump start with travel planning, you can find some information with Travel Planning Sites – The Top 5.
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