Hocking Hills is the most visited state park in Ohio and for good reason. There are numerous waterfalls, caves, miles of hiking trails, and other activities like canoeing and ziplining. So what’s in hocking hills for photographers? plenty!
Below is a list of my favorite places to photograph in and around the park with some tips on photographing them.
Old Man’s Cave
Old Man’s Cave is one the most popular destinations in the park. It also offers the most to photograph. Make sure you get there early and preferably on a weekday to beat the crowds.
Some of my favorite photo opportunities in Old Man’s Cave are:
- Upper Falls and Stone Bridge over the falls
- Devil’s Bathtub – upper part of the falls spiraling into a bathtub shaped basin. Devil’s Bathtub has nice colored rock formations and a stone wall and bridge to include in your composition. After you descend the stairs, don’t miss crossing the creek to photograph the lower falls with the stone bridge above the falls.
- Old Man’s Cave – large cave structure, also with a waterfall.
- Lower Falls – single fall with a large aqua colored pool with large boulders
- Bridge by Lower Falls – stone bridge opposite the falls with the creek running under it.
The gorge trail is about a ½ mile long relatively easy hike. There are quite a few stone stairs to climb especially near the lower falls
A scenic waterfall that has the largest volume of water flow in the park. The falls split into multiple streams around a rock then come together again.
The trail to cedar falls is short (.3 miles), but it does have quite a few stone stairs to climb near the parking area. Also look for reflections in the creek along the path for photo opportunities.
Cedar falls is close to Old Man’s Cave (2.1 miles) so you may be able to photograph both in the same morning.
A large cave structure with a waterfall flowing from the top. You may have to photoshop people out of your photo if you arrive too late – they love to stand under the waterfall. There is also a short trail to the right as you near the cave that will take you up near the top where you can photograph the waterfall at the same level.
It’s a short, flat hike to Ash Cave (1/4 mile).
The main photography attraction at Conkle’s Hollow is the lower falls located at the very end of the trail. Keep going after the paved trail ends. You will also need to cross the creek near the end of the trail – there are stones to step on.
This is a seasonal waterfall but normally has a flow unless it has been very dry. Bring a tripod and ND filter for long exposures. With the light coming through at the top, you can also get some terrific colors in the rocks.
Reckworth falls is another seasonal waterfall not quite at the end of the trail. But, the flow is not really good unless you visit after a good rainfall.
An 100 foot long natural rock bridge with a waterfall. There are two good compositions. One at the top and one at the bottom of the bridge. I prefer the bottom. There is a small, short trail that leads down to the bottom where there is a small shooting area that is roped off (big enough for only 2-3 people).
The waterfall is not large and may not be running if there hasn’t been a lot of rain. But if you hit it right, you can get some terrific compositions.
There is a 1 mile long natural trail to the bridge that is slippery after a rain. There is a larger 2.75 mile trail system at Rock Bridge. Take the trail where it branches off to the left for the shortest path to the bridge.
Smaller cave structure with small openings in the cave. This is a good spot for HDR photography where you capture the dark interior of the cave with the bright forest outside the cave. You may need to be patient and wait for people to move out of your shot, especially later in the day.
From the parking area to Rock House, it’s about a .9 mile hike that is fairly steep in some areas.
A picturesque little lake near the town of Logan. It’s a good spot for fall landscape photographs with the colors near peak. I like to photograph it in the morning where you can get compositions from the marina, fishing pier and beach.
Clear Creek Metro Park
Scenic metro park close to Logan. There are several old cabins and barns to photograph in the park. There is also a large, colorful rock (Written Rock) on the road just west of the park Headquarters. There are also miles of hiking trails if you want to try some macro or bird photography.
Johnston Covered Bridge
Located just a few miles west of Clear Creek Metropark in Two Glaciers Park. A white covered bridge with a decent sized creek underneath.
A Couple of Tips for Photographing Hocking Hills
- Like I mentioned previously, Hocking Hills State Park and the surrounding area get busy especially on weekends, but even on weekdays. Try to visit the most popular spots early in the morning on weekdays.
- There is no cell service in most of the park. Plan on bringing a GPS for navigation instead of only using your cell phone. Also if you want to keep in touch with someone while hiking, bring walkie talkies.
Written by Martin Belan