Cantwell Cliffs - Hocking Hills State Park
"The quieter you become the more you can hear." ~ Ram Dass
Cantwell Cliffs - Hocking Hills State Park
Cantwell Cliffs is an absolutely beautiful Hocking Hills State Park. However, it is not for everyone. There are steps, steps, steps, and more steps. But if you can handle all the steps, the park is definitely worth a stop.
Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills State Park is one of the often overlooked parks. It is about 20 minutes from Old Man’s Cave. It sits back off a winding country road, which discourages people from visiting.
THE TRAILS AT CANTWELL CLIFFS HOCKING HILLS STATE PARK
The trail map shows there are 2 trails at Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills State Park. However, when we visited the park, there was no way to get from point D to G of the Cantwell Rim/Red Trail. Even though this park is an amazing place to visit, the trail system does need some work.
The Trail Map for Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills State Parks shows:
Cantwell Gorge Trail
Cantwell Rim/Red Trail
Starting From the Parking Lot
The one-way trail starts at the northwest area of the parking lot. Almost immediately you come to a large shelter house.
Once you come to the shelter house, you start your step taking journey. I cannot stress how many steps there are.
After you make your way down the first set of steps, you will find yourself at a narrow set of steps that wind down between the large blackhand sandstone cliffs. These steps are not uniform, and they are very slippery when they are wet. So, you must take your time and be very careful making your way down.
When you reach the bottom of this set of steps, you will see one of the waterfalls in front of you and cliffs stretching up around you.
From the waterfall area, you will make your way down some more steps. At first, the steps are stone, then they turn into wood and dirt.
Once you reach the bottom of these steps, you have a short path through the woods. Take the beauty in and enjoy this easy walk. Since you descended all this way, very soon you will have to make your way back up.
You will walk for a very short distance, then you will see a stone arched bridge up on top of the cliff.
You will decide if you want to go up the steps on the right and shorten your hike, or finish the trail and go to the left.
Following the trail around to the left, you start your ascent. Of course, there are stairs. And plenty of them. The steps are a little wobbly and uneven.
At the top of the steps is a thin natural path that continues up at a slight incline and ends at a set of steps.
Once you get to the top of that set of stairs, you will come across a small shelter house.
A little further down the path, you will come across the arched stone bridge you were able to see before you climbed up the steps. You must walk down some steps to get to it.
As you walk across the bridge, stop, and take a look at all the beauty at Cantwell Cliffs. Under the bridge, you will see the cliffs and some of the steps. On the opposite side of the bridge is a waterfall that runs under the bridge.
After the bridge, you will come upon another set of steps that make their way up from the right. These are the steps that you could have chosen to take earlier to shorten your hike.
Near the end of the Cantwell Cliffs trail, you will come upon another waterfall.
To get back to the parking lot, you will cross over a small footbridge and then walk uphill past the large shelter house.
The parking lot is a decent size with approximately 40 parking spaces. The lot is blacktop. There are a handful of picnic tables and a restroom.
We really enjoyed our trip to Cantwell Cliffs. It is a beautiful park, hidden in the middle of nowhere. When we travel, we always run into people that talk about how flat Ohio is. If you are looking for a place to visit, that is not flat, check out Cantwell Cliffs. Your legs will definitely get a good workout.
Cantwell Cliffs is a gorgeous park to visit, but we would not recommend taking young children. There are a lot of dangerous, steep drop-offs. Someone could definitely get hurt here if they were not careful.
We would also recommend not visiting Cantwell Cliffs when there is snow, ice, or rain. The steps are already slick, and it is very easy to lose your footing. There have already been several fatalities at the Hocking Hills State Park. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying on the trail and watching your footing.
What You Can Expect at Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills State Park
Please note that trail rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for the Cantwell Cliffs as of June 2022.
There are bathrooms located at the parking lot
Bicycles are not permitted on the Cantwell Cliffs hiking trails.
We would think that the birding would be good at Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills State Park. However, with all the steps, it is hard to look around.
A couple of bridges.
Concealed carry is permitted.
Pets are permitted at Cantwell Cliffs Hocking Hills State Park.
Trail is natural and can get muddy and slippery in spots.
Blacktop parking lot has roughly 40 parking spaces.
There are picnic tables located at the parking lot.
There is no playground.
There are no benches along the trail.
A lot of shade.
Large shelter house at entrance. A small shelter house on the trail that does not have seating.
Trail is easy to see.
Trail is moderate. There are a lot of steps.
We did not see any trash cans.
A few waterfalls.
2 ADA parking spots.