Winter Hiking in the Hocking Hills

Winter Hiking in the Hocking Hills

The best days are spent outside!

I’ve recently discovered my new favorite thing – hiking in the winter! No sweating, no mosquitos, no spider webs to accidentally walk through, and did I mention the no sweating part?!? We had a stretch of “warm” weather where the temps reached mid 40’s, so we decided to get the kids outside and enjoy mother nature. With all the flu and viruses going around, I didn’t want to take them somewhere indoors, but we were definitely going a little stir crazy being inside. Winter hiking became our perfect solution and it was a GREAT weekend!

God’s creation is really magnificent!

Saturday, we decided to head down south to the Hocking Hills area of Ohio. Beautiful countryside in the spring and fall, and now I’ve discovered in the winter as well! A few years ago, we explored “Rock House” down there, but I highly recommend you DON’T go with little kids!! The steep barely-there-stairs and all the slippery rock ledges were enough to still give me nightmares of Eli peering just a little too close to the edge of the ravine. So, this time, we headed to “Cedar Falls” and it was perfect ~ still a lot of ravines, but the paths are wider and the stairs more defined with gravel and wood borders.

Part of the water was frozen, so we had a little competition to see who could skim a rock across the surface the furthest without is falling through the ice 🙂

It was stunning to see half-frozen waterfalls, huge icicles hanging from the cliffs, and crystal clear water running under a thin layer of ice. I could have sat and daydreamed all day 🙂 But of course, Eli and Ava had other plans! Ha! They loved the icicles and Eli was thrilled to find a little “ice rink” in one of the rock crevices.

Eli’s personal ice rink!

We didn’t have exceptionally high goals of our hiking distance based on a recent flat walk around a park and the amount of complaining that happened, but the kids were so enthralled looking at everything that they actually wanted to explore and keep hiking. We went about 2.5 miles, which is huge with 6 and 4 year olds!

One of the sets of stairs!
More stairs!

We all really enjoyed the Cedar Falls trail, and Eli said he wants to go back and hike around Old Man’s Cave. I haven’t been there since I was little, so that’s our next destination!

If you decide to give Cedar Falls a try, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • The trails are not paved, so leave the stroller at home
  • For toddlers with unsure footing, it would be best to carry in a pack (just make sure the adult carrying said child has sure footing! Ha!)
  • There are a TON of steps getting down in the ravine to see the waterfall, which means a TON of steps to get back up to the parking lot! If you have bad knees, this might be a very challenging hike!
  • Hit the restrooms in the parking lot before you start hiking!
  • Definitely bring a water bottle…and snacks 🙂
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