Don’t let a crowded parking lot scare you

Conkles Hollow gorge trail

A couple of weekends ago, October 31, 2021, to be precise, we decided to hike the Conkles Hollow gorge trail with visiting friends. We started out around 11 am from our home, which is about 4.5 miles from Conkles Hollow. The weather was fine at that time and the parking lot was crowded when we arrived. There was a person on duty directing parking, which we found very helpful. From the beginning of our hike to the end, there were very few people on the gorge trail – a very pleasant surprise. Perhaps they were all up on the rim trail. All we know is that the parking lot promised a crowded trail, but the reality was blissful peace. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

By the end of our hike it began to lightly rain, but by then it was time for our planned lunch at Grandma Faye’s, a Hocking Hills landmark. We ate outside on the covered porch. Everything we ordered was delicious. After that, we attempted to start the trail to the base of Big Spring falls at the rappelling area, but trail conditions were muddy and the rain decided to be serious at that point. So we drove home, had some hot chocolate and watched some football.

As I end this little post, it’s snowing outside, 35 F, at 12:30 pm, on Sunday, November 14, 2021.

Mary at Marsh Hollow

Hiking Conkles Hollow Rim Trail & Rappelling Area

Conkles Hollow Rim Trail

Dave and I always start each new year with a hike along the Conkles Hollow State Nature Preserve’s rim trail. From the parking lot, it’s about a 3 mile hike, but the rim trail is only about 2 miles around. The climb up is steep, but once you’re up top, it’s pretty flat. However, the trail is quite close to the cliff edge, so you need to hike with care. I asked my daughter when she was going to take her children. She answered, “when they’re adults.”

We hiked on January 2 in the afternoon. The parking lot had plenty of cars but was not filled up. We were delighted that the rim trail was not crowded. We probably saw a total of 10 people. To achieve social distancing, in 2020, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources made this trail one way around. You must climb up the east rim side, then exit from the west rim side. We prefer to hike it the other way around, but this small change is not a big deal.

Buckeye Trail around the rappelling area

Table Rock

Table Rock

On January 8, we decided to hike another favorite of ours. I wrote about it in 2017 (Along the Buckeye Trail – Table Rock), but this time we didn’t hike as far. It was a Friday afternoon, and again the trail was almost all ours. We saw a total of three other hikers, plus two who were starting as we left. Similar to Conkles Hollow, the trail requires a climb up, but once up, it’s pretty flat. this is also a horse trail, but the horse trail splits off and returns once past the tricky parts. Note that this is also a part of the Buckeye Trail, so just follow the blue blazes. Oh, and parts of it can be quite wet year round. I am hopeful we will continue hiking weekly during the winter because  it’s so nice to have private time in the forest.

Some other photos of these hikes:

Mary at Marsh Hollow