Awesome color and scenic hiking await in the Hocking Hills

Scenic trails lead over bridges and down to waterfall streams in the Hocking Hills

Scenic trails lead over bridges and down to waterfall streams in the Hocking Hills

Now that the nights are cooler and the winds rustling the trees encourage leaves to fall, it’s time to get out on the road to enjoy nature’s colorful switch to autumn. It’s time to head for the hills, that is, the Hocking Hills of south-central Ohio.

In the Hocking Hills, overhanging sandstone formations make interesting caves to explore and trail destinations

In the Hocking Hills, overhanging sandstone formations make interesting caves to explore and trail destinations

Rolling hills, woodland trails, waterfalls and sandstone cliffs make great getaways every time of year. But they are even more popular as a fall destination

Therefore, think reserve ahead. B&Bs and resorts fill quickly,  particularly on weekends. The area also has camping and cabin sites. There are several accommodation choices.

My favorite is the Inn at Cedar Falls where cottages and cabins give you room to spread out, relax and make you want to stay longer. The problem is that the inn is also a favorite among those who try to make Hocking Hills an annual fall retreat.

Even if you can’t get a room until the end of the color season, a stay here is worth the wait. The inn is equally great as a romantic or girls getaway or for families with teens who love the outdoors. Think ziplining, horsebackriding, canoeing and hot-air ballooning.

Cozy, country-style cottages encourage extended stays at the Inn at Cedar Falls

Cozy, country-style cottages encourage extended stays at the Inn at Cedar Falls

Geared to the season, the kitchen turns out wonderful meals that are eaten in a cozy, log-cabin like dining room. Ask when you sign in if there are cookies to take back to the cottage. Be sure to reserve a table for the time you want to eat because the restaurant is a popular local spot.

An excellent  spa on site massages away your past work-week stress and any hiking aches from doing the Hocking Hills scenic trails. You will need an appointment because other vacationers and area residents also go to the spa.

Just as important are the knowledgeable and warm innkeepers, Ellen Grinsfelder who opened the inn with her mother, Anne, in 1987 and Ellen’s husband, Terry Lingo.

InnkeepersTerry Lingo and wife Ellen Grinsfelder are great resources for Hocking Hills trails and crafts

InnkeepersTerry Lingo and wife Ellen Grinsfelder are great resources for Hocking Hills trails and crafts

They know which trails are challenging or handicapped accessible and the back roads to scenic outlooks. They also know where to find traditional wood, glass and candle crafts you will want to take back as holiday gifts, that is if you are willing to part with the items.  (Hmm, better buy two.)

Definitely go over to Scenic Way for its handcrafted art glass  and to William Phillips’ three connected artisan shops: Windchimes,  Christmas Treasures and Candle Shop.

A fun side drive is over to the historic Columbus Washoard Company in nearby Logan. It is part museum and part working washboard supplier.

Hocking Hills scenic trails are a great getaway destination any time of year

Hocking Hills scenic trails are a great getaway destination any time of year

The inn is on State Route 374, a designated Ohio Scenic Byway. But no matter where you stay, bring bikes or hiking shoes and camera. The color and trails of the Hocking Hills are waiting.

Photos by Jodie Jacobs

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