The Rock House is one of the most unique hikes in Hocking Hills, Ohio. A tunnel-like cave in the cliffside lures hikers inside by offering incredible views out of its natural rocky windows.
As one of the Top Ten Hikes In Hocking Hills, the Rock House is a favorite as the trail is roughly a mile long. However, don’t be deceived. The trail packs a punch with plenty of rocky steps, steep drop-offs, and uneven surfaces, so watch your step.
This natural wonder is a popular tourist attraction since it is a unique experience in the Hocking Hills area.
Before gearing up to venture inside Hocking Hills’ only true cave, here are a few tips to make the most of your visit to the Rock House.
There are Two Trails: Both Are One Way
The Rock House Trails are currently one-way trails. This means that guests will begin their hike at the trailhead and exit in another location going in a single direction. Many tight squeezes and rocky stairs can make two-way traffic dangerous or cause long delays while waiting for other hikers to pass.
Depending on if you take the Rockhouse Rim Trail or the Rockhouse Gorge Trail, the length of the hike can vary from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Come Prepared: Bring A Flash Light
Hiking often requires a little preparation to ensure that everyone has a good time while staying safe. The Rock House Trail has plenty of uneven surfaces, tree roots, and rocky surfaces, so make sure you are in proper footwear. You will likely blow a flip-flop out in this hike.
Once inside the Rock House, there is very little light; therefore, bring a flashlight or use the flashlight on your cell phone. I witnessed several falls as there the rocks have small recesses between them, along with being at different elevations.
Use the rock walls for balance if you are trying to navigate Rock House without a flashlight.
Pigeons Are Living In The Rock House In Hocking Hills
Hear a rustling inside the cave? That is because the Rock House is home to not only bats but a family of pigeons. You can see them flying above and roosting in the rocky corners. Be careful because as they fly around, they may leave an unwelcome gift on a few shoulders.
Spray with Bug Spray and Bring Water
Bug spray and water may seem like standard procedures for many; however, some may opt to forego these basic rules since it is a short hike. The trail is well shaded and will dip into a ravine with a creek—a perfect breeding ground for mosquitos.
The Rock House Trail is breathtaking, with scenic overlooks, rock formations, and a cave. Prepare to spend extra time capturing that frame-worthy photo while taking in the natural beauty of your surroundings. Be sure to snag a photo in front of the cliff face to the Rock House.
The trek back to the parking lot is all uphill, so that water will come in handy, especially on warmer days.
The Trailhead and Trail Exit May Be In Two Different Parking Areas
After entering the parking area, there are two lots that hikers can park in. The first lot is going to be the parking lot the trail exits into by the shelter. The trailhead to the Rock House Rim Trail is found in this lot as well.
Venture up the hill to the second “upper” parking lot, where you will find the trailhead to the Rock House Gorge Trail. A small trail connects the two parking lots, so visitors don’t have to trek up a hill on the road.
Tip: I recommend parking in the first lot near the shelter. The end of the Rock House Gorge Trail is all uphill, which can be exhausting. As the trail exits into the parking lot, you will wish your car was in that lot and not the one near the trailhead!
Steep Drop Offs At The Rock House In Hocking Hills
The trail contains many steep drop-offs and tall rocky steps, making this unsuitable for most small children. I would recommend placing smaller children in a carrier while assisting older children down rocky steps and terrains. The Rock House is a neat spot but ensure to keep a close eye on children so that they don’t fall. If you are looking for a great hiking spot for younger children, try Conkle’s Hollow and Ash Cave.
Pack A Picnic
The Rock House has a picnic shelter that makes the ideal spot to grab lunch. Another great reason to park in the first parking area! A restroom is near the shelter as well.
History of the Rock House in Hocking Hills
The Rock House in Hocking Hills has a fascinating history full of local folklore. Dating back hundreds of years ago, the small recess in the cave’s rear wall once served as baking ovens for Native Americans. Others claim the Rock House was known as “Robbers Roost” because it served as a hideout for bandits, criminals, and bootleggers.
In 1835, Colonel F.F. Rempel of Logan built a 16-room hotel complete with a ballroom, livery stable, and a U.S. Post Office where the picnic shelter stands today.
Map Of Rock House Trails
Below is the trail map highlighting the shelter house, restrooms, and trailhead. The lower parking lot is located near the Shelter House. To check trail conditions at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for closures.
Other Fun Things To Do In Hocking Hills
If you enjoyed our article on the Rock House, be sure to check out these other fun activities and related articles.
- Tackle more great hiking trails like Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs and Ash Cave.
- Sip wine at the Hocking Hills Winery.
- Stay at a Tiny House In Hocking Hills.
- Go stargazing at the John Glenn Astronomy Park.
- Explore all the Things To Do In Athens, Ohio.
- Try Rock or Cliff Rappelling.
- See the Paul A Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum.
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