One of my favorite places to hike and picnic is at Conkle’s Hollow, Hocking Hills. Conkle’s Hollow is a Nature Preserve located in the Hocking Hills Region of Ohio. There are many state parks, preserves, and hiking trails in the area. The biggest and most popular is Old Man’s Cave. Conkle’s Hollow was named for W.J. Conkle who carved his name and year (1797) into the sandstone on the west wall of the gorge. This gorge is one of the deepest in Ohio. On the valley trail, you will see a lot of ferns, wildflowers, and trees. Sometimes the trees are so thick that it’s hard for sunlight to reach the floor. This is kind of nice when you want to just take in nature while in the shade of the trees.
Hocking Hills Conkle’s Hollow
“A folk legend speaks of a petroglyph that was found on the gorge wall by early settlers. The carving was fashioned as an arrow pointing to the opposite side of the hollow. As the legend goes, a small band of Indians robbed a flotilla of settlers along the Ohio River of a large amount money. The Indians journeyed to Conkle’s Hollow to hide the stolen goods until the danger had passes. A small recess was located on the west gorge wall and was reachable only by climbing one of the two towering hemlocks growing at the base of the cliff. First, they had to cut one of the trees so that when it fell it served as a ladder to the recess cave above.”
“They hid the money and carved the directional arrow on the opposite side of the gorge which pointed to the hiding spot. The Indians then shoved the hemlock to the gorge floor leaving only one standing in order to retrieve the goods later. as time passed and efforts of the settlers to find the Indians had ceased, the thieves returned for the stolen property. Much to their chagrin, the other hemlock had been felled during a storm, and the stolen money remains to this day somewhere in the hollow. Many locals claim having seen the carving, but it has since eroded away.”
The Valley Trail
The valley trail runs through the bottom of the gorge. It’s about a half mile hike. Along the way, you will see the stone cliff walls of the gorge rising over 200 feet. As you get further into the gorge, the vertical cliffs rise up to 300 feet. The valley trail is easy to navigate. When you first start the trail from the parking area, there is a paved path for a little while. It eventually turns into dirt and rock. However, it is still easy to navigate. The reason I love Conkle’s Hollow so much is because of the beauty.
Don’t get me wrong, all the hiking trails and parks in the area are all gorgeous but there’s something special about the Hollow gorge. Compared to all the other hiking trails in the area, I thought this one to be more relaxed. There are many places where we stopped to admire our surroundings.
One of the places was this small cave-like rock. The kids liked sitting up there for a bit.
Another place we passed along the trail was the area you see in the above photo. At the bottom of those rocks was a little stream of water. We have seen that area before on previous trips after a bit of rainfall. Depending on if there was frequent rainfall, a bit of water would be falling there like a small waterfall. It’s really pretty!
The back of the gorge
Once you reach the back of the gorge, you will see a waterfall. Again, how much the waterfall flows is dependent upon how much rainfall there have recently been. It may not look like it much in the above photo, but there was quite a bit of water falling. You can see it bounce up on the rock underneath the waterfall.
You might be able to get a better idea of how it looked from this photo. I loved this area of the gorge. It was hot that day and when we arrived at the end of the gorge, it was about 20 degrees cooler back there where the little pool of water and waterfall was!
The Rim Trail
There is also another trail you can hike at Conkle’s Hollow. It’s the Rim Trail where you can hike the tops of the cliffs that circles the gorge. These cliffs are the highest in the area and I am told the scenery up there is beyond magnificent. There are a lot of steps you have to climb to get to the Rim Trail. Since we had our kids with us, we decided not to hike the trail up there. If it was just my husband and I, we definitely would have.
There is a nice area near the parking lot. Before we started our hike, we had lunch. We brought some things with us and stopped and grabbed a bucket of chicken. It was easier than bringing some hot dogs and burgers to grill.
So are you planning any trips this summer? I love exploring our home state and we love the outdoors. Visiting parks, taking hiking and canoeing trips, and checking out other places we have yet to see in Ohio. I have written many other posts about some of the things we have done, gone, and seen in addition to the Hocking Hills Region. I plan to compile them all in one post soon! That way you can have a start of a guide to Ohio!
For more information about the Hocking Hills Region, make sure to check out the Hocking Hills website!