Cantwell Cliffs is the northern-most of the state park areas. It is primarily a large horseshoe shaped cliff with a sheer drop-off of 150 feet. It also has a rock shelter or recess cave. The trail down to the valley floors takes you through narrow passageways between large blocks of Black Hand sandstone.
A very unique part of the trail is well known as “The Fat Woman’s Squeeze”. A narrow trail cut through rock.
It remains one of the lesser used of the six parks that comprise the Hocking Hills. Keep this in mind if you are visiting on a busy holiday weekend and want to get away from the crowds.
Cantwell Cliffs is just south of the village of Rockbridge and located directly on State Route 374.
Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve
Conkle’s Hollow is a deep and rocky gorge that is considered to be the deepest in the state. It received its name from a 1797 inscription found in the area bearing the name of an early settler, W. J. Conkle. Conkle’s Hollow offers a leisurely one mile hike through the valley floor where you can view the towering rock cliffs rising 250 feet above ground level. The landscape of this trail includes small caves and waterfalls along the trail.
Most of the trail through the gorge at Conkle’s Hollow is wheel-chair accessible which makes it an option for baby strollers as well.
For the more adventurous there is a 2 1/2 mile Rim Trail that encircles the gorge and offers a view of the gorge below and the surrounding area. Extreme caution must be taken on this trail because is can be very dangerous, even in the summer for the trail has no guard rails and is near the edge at times.
The grotto or small cave is on the path at Conkle’s Hollow. Tall Hemlock trees and lush ferns abound at Conkle’s Hollow.
Conkle’s Hollow is located at 374 and Big Pine Road.
Rock House State Park
Rock House is not only an unusual name, but an unusual place. It rates very highly on my “Can’t Miss It List”.
The Indians were probably the first to take shelter in this rock formation. They were followed by a rather bad group of people that included horse thieves, robbers, murderers and later bootleggers who used the cave as a hide out. Today Rock House is visited by tourists who enjoy its natural beauty and scenery. The trail down to Rock House is quite steep. It is marked by orange blazes that help you take the best way down.
Mother nature and time created “rooms” behind a 150-foot tall cliff. Weathering actually created a long tunnel-like corridor complete with window-like openings. It is the only true cave in the Hocking Hills and is quite dark inside. Additional hiking trails wind through the surrounding forest for the hiker who wants a firsthand look at the area’s vegetation and animal life.
This area was so popular in the 1800’s that in 1835 a 16-room hotel complete with ballroom and livery stable were built where the park shelter house now stands. It even housed a U.S. Post Office that remained in use until 1925.
It is one of my favorite places in the Hocking Hills. Try to not miss a visit to Rock House State Park during your visit to the Hocking Hills.
Rock House is located on State Route 374 and Thompson Road.
Excerpt from “The Best Kept Secrets of the Hocking Hills” Guidebook
Copyright 2015 Terri Baker
There are six state parks that comprise the Hocking Hills:
- [Old Man’s Cave State Park]
- [Cedar Falls State Park]
- [Ash Cave State Park]
- Rock House State Park
- Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve
- Cantwell Cliffs State Park