Hocking Hills State Park in Ohio is a hiker's paradise, with its iconic gorges, waterfalls, and sandstone cliffs. But while many flock to other trails like Old Man's Cave and Conkles Hollow, a hidden gem awaits in the park's northern reaches: Cantwell Cliffs.

Cantwell Cliffs offers a unique experience, with its challenging trails, breathtaking views, and a sense of solitude rarely found elsewhere in the park. Rustic Ridge Lodge is proud to say that we're less than a mile away. from Cantwell Cliffs.

Embracing the Wild:

Cantwell Cliffs isn't for the faint of heart. The main trail is a one-way loop of about 2 miles, with two options: the Upper Loop and the Lower Loop. Both loops involve steep climbs, rugged terrain, and even a narrow passage jokingly called "Fat Woman's Squeeze." But the effort is rewarded with stunning scenery.

Cantwell Cliffs Hiking Trail Map
Cantwell Cliffs Hiking ODNR Map

Buck Run Creek carves a deep gorge through the sandstone, creating towering cliffs that reach 150 feet in some places. Lush vegetation clings to the rock walls, and wildflowers paint the landscape in vibrant colors during the spring and summer months.

Hidden Gems:

One of the highlights of Cantwell Cliffs is the large rock shelter at the head of the gorge. This natural cave provided shelter for Native Americans centuries ago and is a fascinating glimpse into the area's history.

Another must-see is Cantwell Cliffs Falls, a cascading waterfall that flows over the cliffs into the gorge below. The falls are especially impressive after a heavy rain, but even during dry periods, the sight of the water cascading down the rock face is mesmerizing.

A Hike for the Adventurous:

Cantwell Cliffs is not for everyone. The challenging terrain and remote location make it unsuitable for young children or inexperienced hikers. But for those seeking a more adventurous hike, it's an unforgettable experience.

Tips for Hiking Cantwell Cliffs:

  • Wear sturdy shoes with good traction.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks.
  • Be prepared for the weather.
  • Stay on the marked trails.
  • Leave no trace behind.

With its rugged beauty and sense of adventure, Cantwell Cliffs is a true gem of Hocking Hills State Park. So lace up your boots, grab your backpack, and head off the beaten path to experience this hidden wonder for yourself.

Remember: Always check the park website for trail updates and closures before heading out. Happy hiking!