Hocking State Forest
Hocking State Forest features 9,815 beautiful acres in Hocking County, including 59 miles of hiking on three trails, 40 miles of bridle trails, 23 horse campsites, a rockclimbing and rappelling area, and a fire tower. One of the special attractions of Hocking State Forest is the natural vegetation. Hocking State Forest has plant species commonly found farther north mixed with typically southern species to provide an unusual variety of native plant life and associated wildlife.
Ninety-nine acres of forest land have been set aside for rock climbing and rappelling. The area is located on Big Pine Road, one mile east of Conkle's Hollow. A parking area is within easy walking distance of the rock and cliff face. Be sure to use quality equipment and climb with experienced people.
The sandstone cliffs reveal a time 300 million years ago when rivers to the east flowed into a shallow sea covering what is now called Ohio. Over geologic time, the land rose and small streams cut through the rock leaving the spectacular cliffs and waterfalls present today.
Remnant communities of birch and hemlock tell of times when the climate was much cooler and glaciers threatened (but were stopped by hills just to the north). Large diameter 400 to 500 year old trees tell of simpler times and primitive technology. More recent changes are exhibited by old roadbeds, abandoned home sites, and stands of pine trees now growing in what were 19th century corn, wheat and hay fields.
The Ohio Agricultural Experiment Station, predecessor to the ODNR Division of Forestry, started buying Hocking County land in 1924. These lands were acquired to demonstrate the practical value of forestry. The lands were generally cut over with forest stands in poor condition. Timber harvests were regulated, erosion was controlled and abandoned fields were planted to trees. Species like beaver and turkey were reintroduced. The depression era Civilian Conservation Corp worked on improvements to the area. In 1949, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was formed and the Hocking Hills State Park was separated from the Hocking State Forest. In 1976, three State Nature Preserves were also designated on the state forest.
Today, Hocking State Forest is managed for a variety of objectives including demonstration areas of sound, scientific, sustained, multiple-use management. Timber harvesting is closely monitored so it can be sustained. Erosion is actively controlled. Outdoor recreation is developed and encouraged. Habitat is provided and managed for game and non-game wildlife species. The Ohio Division of Forestry state forest system is dedicated to providing an example of sound multiple-use land stewardship.
- Buckeye Trail
Rules for Hocking State Forest
- Hocking State Forest is open to visitors one half-hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset. Please note that riding/hiking on bridle trails is not permitted after dark.
- Operation of motor vehicles is restricted to roads provided for such travel. Speed limit on state forest roads is 30 MPH unless otherwise posted. Vehicles may not be parked where traffic or access to division service roads or trails are obstructed. OAC 1501: 3-4 Motor Vehicles
- Horses may be ridden along forest roads or on designated bridle trails.
- Fires are not permitted except in grills or fire rings provided, or in portable stoves. Fires must be attended to at all times.
- Trash must be disposed of in receptacles provided.
- Camping is only permitted on areas designated for such use. OAC 1501:3-3 Camping
- Hunting and fishing are permitted in most state forests as regulated by the Division of Wildlife. Shooting is prohibited within 400 feet of any building, facility, or recreation area and from or across any road or driveway. Discharge of any firearm is not permitted except during lawful hunting season.
- Public display or consumption of any alcoholic beverage is prohibited.
- Disturbance, defacement, or destruction of any property, material, natural feature, or vegetation is prohibited. Berries, nuts, and mushrooms may be gathered and removed except from posted areas.
- State forest boundaries are indicated with yellow blazes on the trees and/or posted signs.
- Other general rules for visitation are found at OAC 1501:3-2 Rules for Visitation
Horse Camp Rules
- The campground is for horse riders only. Horse campers are to register at the Self-Registration Booth. Only one unit is permitted per campsite.
- Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis; saving campsites is prohibited.
- Groups wishing to reserve the Group Horse Camp must complete a Special Use Permit.
- Fires and camping are allowed in designated areas only. Do not leave fires unattended.
- Please park all equipment on your campsite; do not park in the grass.
- Maintain your campsite in a clean and sanitary manner.
- Please observe quiet hours from 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m.
- Open display and consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
- Well water at the Horse Camp is out of service December 1 through March 15 each year.
Hocking State Forest is managed under the multiple-use concept with special emphasis on maintaining or creating a forest cover that will enhance woodland recreation. The area is also managed for timber and wildlife habitat, forestry research and demonstrations of good forest management, natural beauty, tree seed for forest nurseries and protection of soils and watershed.
Timber products obtained from harvest, stand improvement and thinning operations include saw logs, veneer logs, pulpwood, firewood, fence and guard posts and poles. Proceeds from state timber sales are split among the state of Ohio and county and township governments where the timber originated.
During the spring and fall fire season months -- March, April, May, October and November -- a main objective of the division is to prevent, detect and suppress wildfires that occur on state and private land within Hocking County and parts of Vinton and Fairfield counties.
The many gas wells and transmission lines that you see are a result of the development of a natural gas storage field underlying the forest area.
In case of emergency, dial 911.
David Glass, Forest Manager
(740) 385-4402 ext. 100
Hocking State Forest
19275 State Route 374
Rockbridge, OH 43149-9749