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Hocking Hills: A New National Park in Ohio?

Updated: Sep 4, 2023

I'm not one to spread rumors, but I must insist that the beauty and awesome topography of Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio, ranks up there with the splendor and grandeur of our national parks! Located about one hour south of Columbus, hikers can spend up to two days and see all that Hocking Hills offers.

Over 330 million years ago, this area of Central Ohio was submerged in the Atlantic Ocean.

The ocean eventually receded, and erosion from streams and groundwater cut through the sandstone and formed the region's iconic rock and land formations. There's quite a variety of locations to visit within the park. Old Man's Cave, Conkles Hollow, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave are among the most popular.

Hiking Hocking Hills State Park was quite inspiring and influential for my latest series of pastel paintings. After wrapping up my National Park series from last summer, I dug into my Hocking Hills reference photos.

I visited the park in mid-October when the fall foliage was not quite at its peak. Regardless, the geology and the water features were quite enhancing!

Below is a 12x16 pastel entitled "The Way Out." The pastel has a deep blue acrylic underpainting used as the basis of the dark cave.

"Hocking Hills Hike" was my first landscape of the state park. I learned about Hocking Hills while thumbing through Midwest Magazine. Two years earlier, I had hiked in Hoosier National Forest. It is interesting that there are similar geologic structures between the two parks, as they are at a similar latitude, although 300 miles apart.

"Hocking Hills Hike," 9x12 pastel on Uart 400 paper (sold).

Autumn was not quite at its peak when I visited Hocking Hills State Park. But these trees were nearly bald, their leaves having created a bold orange glow to the pond. The water levels in the park had declined by the time I visited the park in mid-October. Try early spring and I suspect that waterfalls and streams would be much more active.

The Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve is adjacent to Hocking Hills. Plenty of climbing along rocky ledges and stairways made largely of roots and rock outcrops.

The Conkles Hollow Nature Preserve includes a high altitude rocky ledge with a great view of the surrounding hills. This brilliant red tree and its shadows made for an enticing subject.

Other popular locations to hike in Hocking Hills State Park include Ash Cave, Cantwell Cliffs, Rock Bridge and the Rock House. At the John Glen Astronomy Park, also in Hocking Hills, you can enjoy a dark sky park and view nebulas, galaxies and star clusters, viewed with the naked eye as well as with telescopes, all while being entertained by a wonderful staff eager to tell you all about the mysteries of the universe!

Visit my shop to see the available paintings on this page as well as my collection of National Park pastels (and many others)! Soon I will be off to the western United States for more landscape art inspiration.

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