Posted in Hiking, Park review, Southeastern Ohio

Hocking Hills State Park: Rose Lake

Rose Lake is in the Hocking Hills State Park. The lake’s also known as the Hocking Hills Reservoir. When hiking between Old Man’s Cave and Cedar Falls, Rose Lake marks the halfway point. The annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike follows this very path every January, so depending on the weather it will be frozen or partly frozen then.

Rose Lake with a bit of ice

An earthen dam is responsible for this 17 acre man-made lake which has concrete spillway on one edge. Fishing is permitted with a valid Ohio fishing license. Just up the hill from Rose Lake is the Hocking Hills camping area.  Swimming is not permitted, but there is a pool available to campers near the park’s dining lodge.

Hikers making their way to the top of the earthen dam
I take a photo of the “Swimming Prohibited” sign every winter. It never gets old.

A field of grass and wildflowers grows on the side of the earthen dam. If you go there in summer, you’ll see dragonflies perched on the grass and butterflies sipping nectar from the flowers.

Widow Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula luctuosa), male
Great Spangled Fritillary Butterfly (Speyeria cybele)
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio glaucus)

If you go in the spring or fall, you may see water fowl who are migrating through the area like the coot below. Note the cool red eyes!

American Coot (Fulica americana), sometimes referred to as “mud-hens”

That trail approaching the dam from below goes by a number of dogwood trees. If you’re there in the spring, you might catch them in blossom.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

And the lake itself is beautiful in every season.

The lake decked out in fall colors. There’s also a faint rainbow in this one.
Rose Lake in summer

And last but not least, there is a park bench to rest for a spell before continuing on with your journey.

Additional Information

  • Directions: People typically hike there from either Old Man’s Cave or from Cedar Falls.
  • GPS Coordinates: 39.424898, -82.537901
  • Google Maps: View on map or get directions

In our article, Old Man’s Cave / Cedar Falls Loop Hike, we describe hiking to Rose Lake from Old Man’s Cave, and then on to Cedar Falls. Below is a GPS trace of that hike. It show the position of Rose Lake relative to Old Man’s Cave (identified by the red marker at the top of the trace) to and to Cedar Falls (near the far right of the trace).

GPS trace of our six-mile, loop hike at the Hocking Hills, courtesy of Google’s My Tracks app. To view a larger version at Google Maps, click here.

More on Hocking Hills State Park

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and 2012 to 2021

11 thoughts on “Hocking Hills State Park: Rose Lake

    1. Kathy, I am including an excerpt from the official trail map below. If you click on it, you can see a larger version.

      Excerpt of trail map shows trail from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave. Note that the trail goes by Rose Lake, but not around it.

      If you look at the map above, there is a purple-dashed trail that goes by Lake Rose, but it does not go around Lake Rose. We posted an article about hiking this trail from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls: This is a three-mile hike one way, so the Round Trip is six miles.

      To hike from Old Man’s Cave, past Rose Lake, past Cedar Falls, arriving at Ash Cave is six-miles one way. During the annual winter hike (we posted a description of that here), you do the six-mile hike one way, but then a bus takes you from Cedar Falls back to where you parked at Old Man’s Cave. Other than at this annual event, you either have to hike back another six-miles, or you have to take at least two cars, parking one at Old Man’s Cave, and the other at Ash Cave.

  1. Nice place. This lake is also habitat to the little known species of freshwater jellyfish. They look just like salt water ones but are about the size of a dime. They exist in clean, clear, well established lakes and ponds. We also have freshwater sponges.

  2. That seems to be a wonderful place in any season! Great photography, and nice to see an image of the American Coot – they are only slightly different from the Eurasian ones indeed… 🙂

  3. Hocking Hills/Old Man’s Cave is one of Ohio most tranquil and beautiful places. There are some beautiful cabins to rent in Hocking Hills. Many are great for large groups.

    1. It sounds like you’ve been here many times. I love this area, too. Even at night, it is nice to be away from the city lights and actually get to see the stars.

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