We visited the Hocking Hills State Park in July to view a couple of the park’s waterfalls: Broken Rock Falls and the Lower Falls. We scheduled our hike on a sunny day following a rainy spell, so we hoped that lots of water would be flowing over the falls.
To get to these falls we passed by Old Man’s Cave, one of the park’s most famous attractions. The trail to all of these attractions passes through a scenic gorge.
Below are some of the sights that we took in on the way to Old Man’s Cave.
If you cross the stone bridge pictured above, the trail crosses the gorge and goes up and through Old Man’s Cave. However if like us you want to go to Lower Falls skip the bridge and stay on the side of the gorge opposite Old Man’s Cave. This trail is known as Grandma Gatewood’s Trail. After passing by Old Man’s Cave, we turned around and took the photo above. Below is a photo showing a bit of the trail between Old Man’s Cave and Lower Falls.
Midway through our hike we reached Lower Falls. It is pictured in the topmost photo of this post, but here are a couple, closer photos of the falls.
Next we continued on toward Broken Rock Falls. To do so we finally had to cross over to the other side of the gorge via a stone bridge. Portions of the trail were narrow and overgrown with nettles on both sides. But there was some more pleasant vegetation, too, like this Hosta that apparently escaped from someone’s yard and went on an adventure.
The micro-climate inside the gorge is a friendly place for many ferns. Below is one of many wood fern that we passed on the way to Broken Rock Falls.
As we went onward, the trail soon curved round a bend and revealed a small canyon to the right. Stone steps in serious disrepair rose up from the gorge floor on one side of the canyon. We went up them.
As we continued hiking up the side canyon, it soon became apparent how this falls got its name because the canyon was full of large, broken rock. It wasn’t long until we could hear the sound of falling water.
Shortly afterwards we caught sight of the falls.
After soaking up the scenery, we headed back out of the side canyon.
Here’s an interesting fungus that was growing in the area.
After enjoying our hike and the two falls, we returned to the parking lot. We didn’t retrace our steps, but instead stayed on the same side of the gorge as Old Man’s Cave. However this time we followed a trail back that was above the cave. To go this route you have to climb a lot of wooden stairs to get up on the rim. While we were on the steps, Deb looked back and took the photo below.
Once we got back to the parking lot, we drove to the nearby Dining Lodge of the Hocking Hills State Park where we concluded our visit over a nice brunch.
- ODNR: Map showing Lower Falls & Broken Rock Falls
- TrekOhio: Old Man’s Cave
- TrekOhio: An Overview of Hiking Trails in the Hocking Hills
- TrekOhio: Hocking County Parks & Preserves
- TrekOhio: Acquiring Ohio Topographic Maps – example of Old Man’s Cave topo maps