HIKING

A WELCOME NOTE FROM BYRON GUY,
THE OLD MAN’S CAVE SECTION SUPERVISOR

Hiking at Conkle's Hollow

Welcome to Ohio’s crown jewel, the Hocking Hills region. This incredible area of Southeast Ohio is known for its massive rock formations, tranquil waterfalls and cascades, and jaw dropping vistas. Created by the receding waters of the last ice age that never reached the far corner of Ohio, this region is referred to as the non-glaciated Allegheny Plateau. Formed during the Mississippian Period (325 - 360 million years ago), Ohio was near the equator and many layers of sand settled and hardened to form the distinct Black Hand Sandstone you see towering above, and below you sometimes. As the glaciers melted, they carved these massive gorges and hollows you will be hiking in and around as you explore and enjoy this wonderland.

Always keep in mind the dangers associated with most places you will encounter. Death’s, although rare, can be avoided by staying away from cliff edges, and being aware of your surroundings at all times. Appropriate footwear is recommended on all hikes. Not necessarily boots, but what you feel most comfortable in when traversing a varying type of footpath. Technical rock scrambling, creek crossings, and muddy floodplains are some of the few things you might encounter, so be prepared. Water, snacks, and hiking poles are recommended, but not absolutely necessary. Cameras, binoculars, and patience are.

Thank you for joining us, and remember, take only photos - leave only footprints.

HIKING ANYONE?
LET’S START WITH AN OVERVIEW OF THE MANY OPTIONS

The hiking adventures associated with our 2018 Trailfest Celebration start with a pre-event 5-day hiking adventure. It starts on Sunday, April 22 and will offer the ambitious hiker an opportunity to hike approximately 10 miles each day. We will set up base camp in Hocking Hills State Park, spot cars each day, and day-hike from one end of the Old Man’s Cave section map to the other. Interested to learn more? Details and contact information for this event are listed below in the “Pre-Trailfest Celebration Hiking” section.

The daily hiking choices during Trailfest Celebration will be many. We know that gaining BT/NCT trail miles are important and hikes “on-trail” of multiple lengths are available every day. For those of you interested to explore the many “off-trail” wonders in the Hocking Hills area, we have options for you too. In fact, our Trailfest Celebration attendees will have opportunity to hike on private lands – properties with names like Crane Hollow, Camp Oty’Okwa and Bison Hollow.

As you plan your Trailfest Celebration hiking experience, you’ll note that some hikes are pre-register and others are sign-up when you arrive. We’ve listed the choices below. You’ll also see that some hikes are repeated over the course of the event. We want everyone to have a fabulous time and leave wanting to come back for more.

PRE-TRAILFEST HIKING

Hiking at Camp Oty'Okwa

Start off 2018 TrailFest Celebration right! Each year, prior to the official opening of the festivities, Hiking In to the Buckeye TrailFest location has been offered. Make sure to join in on the fun this year as John Rethman and Byron Guy guide us through hiking the ENTIRE Old Man's Cave Section of The Buckeye Trail! That's right! You can mark the entire 51.5 mile section as completed before you even get to TrailFest! How awesome is that?!

Base camp is at Hocking Hills State Park and hikers will return there each night after completing that day’s hike. *Please note that since this is prior to the official TrailFest Celebration, you are responsible for making your own camping reservations at Hocking Hills State Park. The Hike In will run from Sunday, April 22nd through Thursday, April 26th, and of course, you are welcome to join in on any or all days. More information to follow on how you will sign up/register for these daily hikes.

Following is the tentative schedule:



HIKES THAT REQUIRE PRE-REGISTRATION

THURSDAY • April 26 pre-registration hikes
TIME WHAT DESCRIPTION DETAILS
AM Hike A: The Grandma Gatewood Trail:
Upper Falls to Ash Cave
Named in honor of the first female solo thru hiker of the Appalachian Trail and founding member of the Buckeye Trail Association, this is the highlight of the Hocking Hills, one of Emma ‘Grandma’ Gatewood’s favorites. Down into the Gorge of Black Hand sandstone carved by the melt waters of receding glaciers the trail leads around CCC stone work through the giant recess cave and on to Cedar Falls. Towering cliffs, waterfalls at their peak flow, hemlock trees, rare wildflowers and remnant plant communities from the glacial epoch make this one of the most popular outdoor destinations in the state. The hike continues past the historic fire tower, still accessible, and ends at the spectacular Ash Cave, the largest recess cave in the Midwest. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate
LENGTH: 6 Miles
On BT/NCT
Pts. 18-21 on BT Old Man's Cave Section Map
PM Hike B: Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve Located in northern Hocking County at the edge of the Hocking Hills Region, Boch Hollow provides an excellent opportunity to see a wide diversity of habitats ranging from riparian corridors, mature wooded hills, ridges, and old field remnants. The most notable botanical feature at Boch Hollow is the extensive population of the endangered Running Buffalo Clover – the largest such population in Ohio. In the past few years the Buckeye Trail Crew has worked with Preserve staff to construct 4 miles of the BT/NCNST through the preserve highlighting the sandstone rock outcroppings. A Boch Hollow naturalist will provide a permit only visit to scenic Robinson Falls during this educational hike. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate
LENGTH: 6 Miles
On BT/NCT
Includes Pts. 33-34 on BT New Straitsville Section Map
ALL DAY Hike C: Hocking Hills Hiking Highlights. Rocky Fork to Ash Cave This day long hike includes everything on the Grandma Gatewood Trail above… and more! This hike adds on 9 more miles of lesser used trail including views of Rocky Fork, Big Pine Creek, Table Rock, Big Spring, and the rock climbing area. The trail wanders through deep, water carved gorges, forested slopes, moss covered sandstone and sparkling waterfalls surrounded by tall ferns. Meeting location: TBD
Strenuous
LENGTH: 15 Miles
On BT/NCT
Includes Pts. 14-21 on BT Old Man's Cave Section Map
FRIDAY • April 27 pre-registration hikes
TIME WHAT DESCRIPTION DETAILS
AM Hike D: Crane Hollow Nature Preserve Crane Hollow Nature Preserve is a 2,000 acre privately owned dedicated state nature preserve adjacent to Hocking State Forest protected by William and Jane Ann Ellis beginning in 1977. The mission of Crane Hollow is to foster preservation, understanding, and appreciation of the plants, animals, and ecology of the hollow and surrounding area. The Preserve features a stunning community of native vegetation, along with soaring cliffs and ravines formed in Black Hand Sandstone. Because of the fragile ecosystem Crane Hollow has restricted access to protect the health of the hollow and provide a scientific research baseline for the Hocking Hills region. Join Preserve staff on a sponsored hike just for TrailFest Celebration registrants! This educational hike will lead down into the gorge and back to view and learn about the geology, waterfalls, wildflowers, and wandering without an organized trail system. Meeting location: TBD
Strenous
LENGTH: 3-4 Miles
Not BT/NCT
ALL DAY Hike E: Hocking Hills Hiking Highlights. Big Pine to Ash Cave A slightly shorter version of Thursday’s day long hike includes everything on the Grandma Gatewood Trail above… and more! This hike adds on 5 more miles of lesser used trail including views of Table Rock, Big Pine Creek, Big Spring Hollow and the rock climbing area. The trail wanders through deep, water carved gorges, forested slopes, moss covered sandstone and sparkling waterfalls surrounded by tall ferns. Meeting location: TBD
Stremous
LENGTH: 11 Miles
On BT/NCT
Includes Pts. 16-21 on BT Old Man’s Cave Section Map
SATURDAY • April 28 pre-registration hikes
TIME WHAT DESCRIPTION DETAILS
AM Hike F: Bison Hollow Preserve Join renowned naturalist Paul Knoop on a guided hike to this older growth wooded preserve close to Ash Cave of Hocking Hills State Park, the reported location of one of the last native Ohio bison. The bison is now a memory but the wild beauty of Bison Hollow remains. Thanks to our friends at the Appalachian Ohio Alliance land trust these wooded acres will forever protect the singing waters of the east branch of Queer Creek, act as a buffer to Ash Cave and the nearby Buckeye Trail and provide a home for locally rare plants such as the recently discovered Autumn Coral Root Orchid. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate
LENGTH: 3-4 Miles
Not BT/NCT
PM Hike G: BTA Pretty Run Preserve Purchased thanks to the Clean Ohio Trails Fund beginning in 2010, these rugged 230 acres are a showcase of the resilience of Ohio’s hardwoods. Join BTA Volunteer Land Stewards on a loop hike around the preserve, passed the 1830’s log cabin, hiker shelter house, wildflowers and trickling streams. Come hear how this northern Vinton County property was saved, and has since been managed to serve hikers. Meeting location: TBD
Rugged
LENGTH: 4.5 Miles
On BT/NCT
Includes Pts. 23-25 on BT Old Man’s Cave Section Map
ALL DAY Hike H: Wayne National Forest, Village of Shawnee to Dutch Ridge Hike Join us as we hike all day through Ohio’s only National Forest! Beginning in the historic Village of Shawnee, home to the BTA office, the relationship between history and nature is apparent. The boom and bust of the late 1800’s coal mining era can be seen in historic buildings on main street, and in the scars hidden in the surrounding landscape. And yet, thanks to one of America’s first restoration projects and benign neglect, a beautiful and biodiverse forest has returned on these once barren hills. Join us and learn of our big plans and progress to ‘Re-Boot’ the Wayne as we hike through the rugged hills of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region. Meeting location: TBD
Rugged/Strenuous
LENGTH: 11 Miles
On BT/NCT
Includes Pts. 22-27 on BT New Straitsville Section Map

HIKES THAT YOU CAN SIGN UP FOR WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT CAMP

Each day we will offer 6-10 hikes, between 1 ½ and 12 miles distance. Our goal is to get as many people as possible out on the trail to appreciate and experience Hocking Hills area. The hikes will be of varying distances, so that everyone can find a hike that’s right for their abilities.

THURSDAY • April 26
TIME WHAT DESCRIPTION DETAILS
AM Camp Oty'Okwa – Hike to Counselors’ Cave This special hike is only available to folks who are registered for TrailFest/Celebration. This scenic hike will take participants past the hardwood ridge tops of Camp Oty’Okwa into beautiful hemlock groves. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate difficulty
LENGTH: 1.5 mile hike right at camp. Estimated to be 2-3 hours.
This hike is not on the BT/NCT.
AM Whispering Cave to Cedar Falls We’ll start on the Hemlock Bridge Trail which takes you to Whispering Cave, the newest trail in Hocking Hills State Park. Just opened last year, Whispering Cave is a recess cave that’s nearly 300 feet wide with a drizzling, 105-foot waterfall pouring from its rim. From there, we’ll hike over to Cedar Falls which is the greatest waterfall in the area, in terms of volume. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate difficulty
LENGTH: 5.2 mile hike. Estimated to be 3 ½ to 4 hour hike.
A portion of this hike is not on the BT/NCT.
ALL DAY Hike the Big Three – Rock House, Cantwell Cliffs and Conkle Hollow These three, not to be missed natural formations, are among the most well known hiking areas in Hocking Hills. Rock House is the only “true” cave in Hocking Hills State Park. It is situated in 150-ft Blackhand sandstone cliff. Cantwell Cliffs is in the northern part of the park and presents steep cliffs and a deep valley. Conkle Hollow is a rugged, rocky gorge that is considered one of the deepest in Ohio. It is a state nature preserve where you’ll find ferns, hemlocks, wildflowers and hardwoods Meeting location: TBD
Moderate to Strenuous.
LENGTH: Estimated total miles between 6 and 8 miles.
This hike is not on the BT/NCT.
PM Ash Cave to Old Man's Cave/Upper Falls For those of you arriving Thursday morning, you can still hike The Grandma Gatewood Trail. This is the same hike as the pre-register Hike A – just in the opposite direction. See Hike A (above) for the details. Meeting location TBD
Moderate difficulty
LENGTH: 6 miles
Estimated to be 3 to 4 hours.
FRIDAY • April 27
TIME WHAT DESCRIPTION DETAILS
AM State Forest Rappelling Area to Upper Falls One of the most popular features in the Hocking State Forest, the rappelling area holds some of the largest cliff walls and tallest waterfalls in the region. Hike in and among these features from below, and above, as you make your way to the spectacular views on top of Big Spring Hollow. Spring wildflowers, panoramic views, and pristine hollows all are to be found on this hike. Meeting location TBD
MODERATE
4.1 miles
On BT/NCT
AM Camp Oty'Okwa This special hike is only available to folks who are registered for TrailFest/Celebration. This hike will lead participants through Camp Oty’Okwa’s Alpine Unit. It goes down through hardwood and hemlock forest to one of the Camp’s largest caves. The hills are steep and the cave is hidden, but the view atop the waterfalls are worth it. Meeting location TBD
1.5 to 2 miles
Not BT/NCT.
AM Airplane Rock Looking for the ultimate view in Hocking Hills? Take this easy, but hilly, out and back to the appropriately named Airplane Rock in Hocking State Forest. Protruding out of a cliff like the nose of an airplane, high above the 1,285 acre Crane Hollow State Nature Preserve, get unobstructed 270° views of the gorgeous Hocking Hills of southeast Ohio. Don’t forget your camera on this adventure. Meeting location TBD
Easy to Moderate
4.2 miles
Not BT/NCT
PM Night Hike at Oty'Okwa After spending the afternoon in Logan with the Urban Air and Grandma Gatewood festivities, let’s regroup at camp and take a nighttime hike. Be sure to bring your headlamps and hiking shoes. It will be dark after all. This special hike is only available to folks who are registered for TrailFest/Celebration. Meeting location: Dining Hall at Camp Oty’Okwa
Moderate hike due to darkness.
Total mileage approximately 2 miles.
Not BT/NCT.
SATURDAY • April 28
TIME WHAT DESCRIPTION DETAILS
AM BTA Pretty Run Preserve **This is the same hike as the pre-register hike later in the day. Only select one of these hikes. Purchased thanks to the Clean Ohio Trails Fund beginning in 2010, these rugged 230 acres are a showcase of the resilience of Ohio’s hardwoods. Join BTA Volunteer Land Stewards on a loop hike around the preserve, passed the 1830’s log cabin, hiker shelter house, wildflowers and trickling streams. Come hear how this northern Vinton County property was saved, and has since been managed to serve hikers. Meeting location: TBD
Rugged
LENGTH: 4.5 Miles
On BT/NCT
Includes Pts. 23-25 on BT Old Man’s Cave Section Map
PM Natural Arches of Ohio Geology Hike Join Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist, Petra Schmalbrock, and explore the geology of Hocking County at Rockbridge State Nature Preserve. We will hike through an area where large river deltas deposited sand in the shallow sea covering Ohio millions of years ago. At that time, pressure bonded the sand into Black Hand Sandstone which became exposed to the elements when the Appalachian Mountains rose and erosion formed scenic gorges, cliffs, cave recesses and arches. Our hike takes us to Rockbridge Arch to explore geologic features and spring wildflowers. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate difficulty
LENGTH: 3-4 Miles
Not BT/NCT
PM Boch Hollow State Nature Preserve Join us to hike one of the newest sections of trail to come “off road” and hike these 4 miles of BT/NCT through Boch Hollow. Hike highlights include sandstone rock outcroppings, stream crossings, wildflowers and spring beauty. Meeting location: TBD
Moderate difficulty
LENGTH: 4 Miles
On BT/NCT Pts 33-34 of BT New Straitsville Section Map.