If you’re seeing Hocking Hills on your timeline and wondering if it’s worth the trip, we can confirm it is! The Ohio State Park is a natural wonder with show stopping features that will leave you and your littles in awe. Whether you decide to make a day of it or an overnight trip, here are the things to know.

A four-hour drive from Detroit, southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills State Park is a geological gem that many Michiganders are just discovering. Just an hour outside of Columbus, but seemingly remote, the area is chock-full of impressive hiking trails, waterfalls and unique vacation rentals. We’ve teamed up with Jessica Pawl of @departingdtw to share the best travel tips for Michigan families.

Start your visit at the Hocking Hills State Park Visitor Center located at the Old Man’s Cave parking lot off State Route 664. The visitor center features interactive displays, exhibits and wildlife showcases about the Hocking Hills region. The visitor center is open daily from 10am to 5pm. There’s a large parking lot that will fill up quickly by early afternoon on nice days.

The trailhead to Old Man’s Cave is off the parking lot and the perfect way to start your trip. The one-way half mile trail takes 1 to 2 hours to walk depending on how long you want to stop along the way. It is not stroller friendly. You will want to wear your littles and prepare your bigger kids for hiking safety because there are slippery rocks and steep ledges. Along the way you’ll find waterfalls, caves and picture perfect bridges.

The most popular – and most stunning – hike in Hocking Hills is the fabled Old Man’s Cave Trail, which winds through a half-mile gorge and provides peeks of waterfalls, rock formations, scenic bridges and even a tiny tunnel. Both Ash Cave, a gigantic, horseshoe shaped recess cave, and Cedar Falls are moderate, short hikes with particularly pretty payoffs. For those a bit more adventurous, the Rock House trails allows you to climb inside the park’s only actual cave, nearly hidden inside a sandstone cliff. Check out the park’s Trail Map or download an app like All Trails for access to hike details and maps, even when you’re in cell-phone dead zones, which are aplenty in this area.

The 4 hour drive south is doable in day trip but if you want to make it an overnight adventure, here are a few places to check out:

More activities in and around Hocking Hills:

  • Columbus Zoo & Aquarium: Unlike any zoo you’ve ever been to, the Columbus Zoo features a 10,000 acre parks with open-range habitats you can explore vis an open-air safari vehicle, carnival rides and a massive waterpark!
  • Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens: In Columbus, stroll the gorgeous atriums, grab a bite at the cafe and play, climb and splash in the Children’s Garden.
  • Center of Science and Industry: Regularly voted the #1 Science Museum in America, COSI has 300+ interactive experiences, nine galleries featuring world class traveling and permanent exhibitions, live shows, and a Planetarium.

LittleGuide Detroit’s family adventures are brought to you by Southeast Michigan Ford Dealers: