To celebrate our second anniversary, Luke and I decided to seek out a secluded cabin in the Hocking Hills so we could spend the week of Halloween hiking, exploring, relaxing, and watching scary movies.
We decided to bring Patronus and Naga along too, of course!
While Patronus is pretty much a pro at traveling and hiking by this point, this was Naga’s first time going on a vacation EVER and only her second time hiking. Fortunately, I think she’s a natural at it.
We pretty much spent the whole first day of our trip getting settled in. We cooked ourselves dinner, explored the trails around our cabin, relaxed in the hot tub for a bit, and spent the rest of the night watching Investigation Discovery.
The next morning, we made pumpkin spice waffles and coffee, then got ready to head out or the first actual hike of our trip.
The drive to the Old Man’s Cave area was relatively short and scenic down a winding road lined with colorful trees showing their last signs of fall leaves.
The trails in this area were like stepping out of reality and into a magical, enchanted forest.
The park itself is home to several waterfalls, and this area was no exception. In addition to the cave and gorgeous rock formations, there were waterfalls galore.
By the time we made our way through must of the points of interest, the gloomy skies that loomed overhead began to open up.
Patronus and I still wanted to keep hiking while Luke and Naga wanted a break, so we decided to keep going while they sought shelter in the car.
Since it was pouring, Patronus and I decided to check out a section of the rim trail on our hike together. It was relatively flat and had good traction, despite the rainy conditions.
There were a couple of points that allowed for views of fall foliage from the upper cliffs above the canyon.
In an effort to not bore Luke and Naga too much, we decided to keep our “solo hike” pretty short.
By the time we got back to the car, the rain was beginning to let up a bit. Rather than heading back to the cabin, we decided to make our way over to the Cedar Falls area to do a little more hiking.
The trail to the falls had even more stairs, but thankfully, the hike itself was worth it.
The trail descended down into a gorge that was carved into the rocky hills and filled with tall pines and pops of fall foliage.
That afternoon’s heavy downpour cleared most of the other hikers and tourists away, so we pretty much had the entire canyon area to ourselves.
All of the mud puddles and still waters got Naga in wild mode. If there’s anything our little Pyr pup loves more than playing in water and mud, we certainly haven’t found it yet.
In addition to offering an up-close view of the falls, the gorge proved to be a visually interesting place to simply hike around.
There were bridges and lots of fun obstacles, like hills with rocks and tree roots and uneven stone steps to climb. Patronus was all about this muddy hill and stone staircase.
After we finished exploring, we headed back to our cabin, where we spent the rest of the night eating pizza rolls, watching scary movies, and relaxing in the hot tub.
The next morning we awoke to the sound of pouring rain on the roof of our cabin. After a leisurely breakfast of waffles and coffee, we decided to spend some time soaking in the hot tub to see if we could wait out the rain.
Luckily, the weather let up in the mid-afternoon and we were able to head out for a Halloween Hike.
Our next trail to explore was the area near Ash Cave.
This hike has got to be a top contender for my favorite hike we did in Hocking Hills State Park, if not my favorite hike. It was visually very interesting, and after venturing forward from the main (handicap accessible!) hiking trail, there were enough obstacles to keep it interesting without making it feel like I was going to die every two seconds.
Because the weather was so gloomy, we almost had the entire cave to ourselves.
After spending a bit of time in the cave, we decided to keep hiking and explore some more of the trails. We hadn’t really planned on doing too long of a hike since Naga is still pretty young, so we decided to do an out-and-back hike in order to see a little bit more of this area of the Hocking Hills.
After a relatively short hike, part of which being through a haunted looking, Evil Dead-esque forest, we came to the top of a big hill, then wound in and out of a colorful forest until we eventually made it to a fire tower.
It was around this point that the wind began to pick up and the temperature started to drop rapidly. What started out as a hike in drizzly, slightly humid, mid-50s weather became a dry-but-windy trek back with temperatures hovering around 40 degrees.
Thankfully, we were relatively warm from hiking a couple of miles and had packed some extra layers, plus my rain coat and flash dry shorts kept me from being stuck wearing wet clothes. I did consider putting on my rain pants to help block some of the wind, but I ultimately decided not to because I didn’t want to get too sweaty.
After making our way through the haunted forest and descending off the hilltop, most of the wind was blocked, making the rest of the hike back much more enjoyable.
After the hike, we went back to our cabin to cozy up and enjoy a few scary movies, some pizza rolls, fancy wine, and candy. It was Halloween, after all!
The next morning, after a quick breakfast and some coffee, we decided to do another hike.
This time we made the drive to Rock House for a short but obstacle-y hike to another cave.
As weird as it is, I’ve always kind of wanted to explore a cave, so even though this wasn’t the hike I was most excited to do in the Hocking Hills, it was actually kind of a bucket list item for me.
As one would expect, the inside of the cave was pretty dark, with our only natural light source being a few openings carved into the rock.
The cave was home to pigeons (and who knows what else), so we had to take extra care to NOT let Patronus and Naga eat the bird poop or drink from the stagnant puddles of water that lay along the cave floor.
We took a few moments to explore the cave before heading back out to the trail.
I think Patronus and Naga may have liked showing off their “mountain dog” skills a little too much.
They loved climbing up on all the rocks, stone steps, and tree roots throughout the trail.
I was actually pretty proud of Naga. She did such a good job on all of the hiking trails, and this trip made me pretty confident that she will grow up to be a great hiking partner, just like Patronus!
By this time, we were all pretty tired. Patronus and Naga snuggled up in the back seat for pretty much the whole car ride back.
I think it’s pretty safe to say that all four of us enjoyed our time in the Hocking Hills!
For more information about hiking in this area, check out my Tips for Hiking in Hocking Hills State Park blog post.