"For 36 years, the park's Annual Winter Hike has drawn thousands of outdoor enthusiasts from near and far," said Dan West, chief of Ohio State Parks. "We expect this year will not be an exception."
West said a cold and snowy start to winter has already turned the park's waterfalls into crystal and graced its ravines and rock formations with a blanket of white. Thousands of hikers are expected to soak in the spectacular winter scenery as they trek six miles from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave, stopping for a hearty lunch of bean soup, cornbread and hot chocolate at the Cedar Falls mid-way point. The hike is expected to take about five hours.
Pre-hike activities, including naturalists' programs, games and refreshments, will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 19, at the Hocking Hills State Park Dining Lodge. Hikers should arrive at the Old Man's Cave starting point no later than 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Assembled hikers will depart continuously between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Park officials will provide return transportation from Ash Cave to Old Man's Cave following the event.
"Dress warmly and wear sturdy hiking boots," West cautioned. "We hike whether it rains, snows or shines."
The event is free to the public. Donations are encouraged for refreshments. Winter hike souvenir patches and hiking staff emblems will be available for purchase.
Hocking Hills State Park is located on State Route 664 in Hocking County, about 12 miles southwest of Logan. For further information about the Annual Winter Hike, call the park office at (740) 385-6841.