Planes, trains, automobiles and more showcase stunning Hocking Hills fall color

Leaf peepers wowed by region’s spectacular aerial, off-road Segway, train and kayak tours

Conkel's Hollow

LOGAN, OH — More than 10,000 acres of unbroken forest in Ohio’s Hocking Hills region — dotted with outdoor adventures and wildly unusual lodging options — offer some of the nation’s best fall foliage. Travelers will never forget views of the idyllic blend of fiery red Maples, blazes of orange Sassafras and yellow Hickory, brushstrokes of brown Oak and pops of green Hemlock and Pine. Though they’re encouraged to book their accommodations quickly via ExploreHockingHills.com, as lodging fills up quickly in fall, the area’s high season.

The area is an easy, scenic drive from most major cities and an hour from Columbus. The region’s ribbons of winding roads are so much fun to drive, they’re where expert automotive writers and engineers head to test-drive new car models, including the pros at Car and Driver. Visitors seek out the Hills for some of the most beautiful drives, hikes and tours in the country. Miles of varying elevations and twisting roads ensure picturesque views of the vibrant fall leaves that wait around every corner.

Carved eons ago by glaciers, the Hocking Hills’ extraordinary rock formations, rushing waterfalls, soaring cliffs and craggy caves draw visitors from around the globe. Travelers can immerse themselves in the beauty of the region with a hike to Whispering Cave, Rock Bridge, Old Man’s Cave, Ash Cave, Conkle’s Hollow, Cedar Falls, or on any of the region’s many hiking trails. For those seeking more expansive views of fall color and the unspoiled geological footprint of ancient times, Hocking Hills Scenic Air Tours flies visitors high above the forests and waterfalls for better-than-drone eye candy. The seriousness of Harry Sowers’ 40-year pilot pedigree and the depth of his area knowledge are skillfully juxtaposed against his endless stream of goofball puns and ba-dump-bump one-liners.

Hocking Hills Canopy Tours, with its Super Zip and an XTreme Canopy Tour that takes travelers right through a waterfall and into a cave for a truly unusual birds-eye view of the season’s splendor. Meanwhile, an off-road Segway tour gives visitors a ground-hugging experience that’s a total departure from the usual scenic autumn ride.

High Rock Adventures takes visitors on guided eco tours and heart-pounding rappelling trips, giving adventure seekers a ringside seat for what may be the most beautiful autumn scenery on earth. Guided night, sunrise and daytime kayaking trips with Touch the Earth Adventures helps travelers reconnect to the earth and to one another while as the area’s magnificent fall show reflects on the water. Horseback riding and the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway offer even more ways visitors can immerse themselves in fall foliage, while other guided or self-led hikes and adventures let leaf peepers make the most of Hocking Hills’ autumn beauty.

The season’s crisp nights often mean crystal-clear skies, punctuated by the absence of city lights. Guests can experience the stunning sea of stars and planets made visible by Hocking Hills’ dark skies at the just-opened John Glenn Astronomy Park. (The lack of city lights means that the region’s night sky is nothing short of dazzling.)

A stop at the Bowers & Daughters Apple House in Laurelville is another way to experience fall in the Hocking Hills. The third-generation, 107-year-old, family-owned Laurelville Fruit Farm produces a wide selection of hard-to-find apple varieties. The Bower family also makes some of the freshest, juiciest cider available, thanks to a perfect blend of apples and pasteurization that doesn’t cook the flavor out of the cider. Fresh apples and cider, along with vinegar with mother, apple butter and local honey are available to take home. For a really special treat, Laurelville cider is also offered in frozen slushy form to enjoy on site.  At Hocking Hills Orchard in Logan, apple expert Derek Mills offers variety tastings, apples for sale and select dates to pick your own.

When you’re looking for a place to lay your head after a day of adventure, the area is home to a dizzying variety of lodging choices, offering the perfect accommodations for any budget or lifestyle. From cozy cottages, historic B&Bs and charming inns, to well-equipped cabins and massive lodges that sleep more than two dozen, many offer fully loaded gourmet kitchens, entertainment centers and game rooms — ideal for huge groups. Most are outfitted with deluxe amenities, such as a pool table, foosball, gas grill or telescope for viewing fall color and local wildlife — or for stargazing. Large hot tubs offer the perfect way to experience Hocking Hills’ magnificent star-filled skies. Primitive or deluxe camping, authentic Sioux tipis and Mongolian yurts, vintage train cabooses, treehouses and more offer unusual overnight options.

Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio’s Hocking Hills region offers once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make every day feel like Saturday, with plenty of free activities. Unique gift and antique shops, artists’ studios and hands-on activities add to the allure of the Hocking Hills as the perfect place to unplug. Complete traveler information is available www.ExploreHockingHills.com or 1-800-Hocking (800-462-5464).

 

###

Comp or press rate trips and images available. MEDIA Contact Amy Weirick, amy@WeirickCommunications.com, M: (614) 296-8513 or O: (614) 848-8380. 

Hocking Hills visitors wowed by stunning monarch butterfly releases

Sept. 6, 2019

LOGAN, OH – Visitors to southeast Ohio’s Hocking Hills region this month have a one-of-a-kind opportunity for hands-on immersion into the lifecycle of iconic monarch butterflies. A team of volunteer naturalists is tagging this year’s bumper crop of the insect beauties – almost daily — at the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center, encouraging visitors to take part and experience firsthand the uniqueness of monarch migration. Tagging and releasing the newly emerged monarchs takes place nearly every day (except in the rain), depending on their emergence.

Naturalists, with the help of Hocking Hills visitors, place tiny, numbered sticky dots on Monarch wings before they’re released. They can then be tracked and logged on the Monarchwatch.org website when spotted in other locations. The practice helps researchers learn more about monarch migration. The Welcome Center team ordered 500 tags, but very few remain as they used far more tags than anticipated.

“Monarch migration is truly one of the world’s greatest natural wonders,” said Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist Andrea Jones, who spearheaded the program. “Huge numbers of monarchs have been sighted in the Hocking Hills this year, spending the summer and laying their eggs in Ohio before their offspring pupate, emerge and instinctually take off to fly some 2,300 miles south to Mexico for winter.”

Jones added that beginning in early summer, monarchs stop in Logan, OH to refuel and lay eggs for the next generation, with nearly 1000 caterpillars pupating in the area from late summer to fall. During the chrysalis stage, Jones and her team move the jade green chrysalides into the Welcome Center’s educational monarch display for up to two weeks before the larvae naturally emerge as adult butterflies. They’re then tagged and released. The program will continue in 2019, with plans in place to expand the garden and tagging operations.

Unfortunately, this natural marvel is threatened by habitat loss, with a more than 90 percent decline in monarch populations over the last 20 years serving as an ecological red flag. Thus, the volunteer naturalists created the Monarch Waystation at the Welcome Center by planting a butterfly garden filled with nectar-producing flowering plans that attract the blazing gold, yellow, orange, black and white insects. In addition, naturalists planted milkweed, which inspires females to lay eggs by providing a rich source of food for monarch larvae. Frequent rain this season fed a prolific milkweed crop, resulting in an abundance of eggs. Jones encourages travelers who visit to create butterfly habitat by planting milkweed and native flowers in their own yards and natural areas at home.

Monarch Waystation Programs, like the one in the Hocking Hills, work together across North America to study the decline of the monarch population by tracking migration and encouraging conservation. Each fall, millions of monarch butterflies migrate from the United States and Canada to Mexico, Texas and California where they wait out the winter until conditions favor a return flight north in spring.

Located 40 miles southeast of Columbus, Ohio’s Hocking Hills region is marked by soaring cliffs, craggy caves, rushing waterfalls and 10,000 acres of unbroken forest woven with hundreds of miles of hiking trails. With an absence of city lights and resulting extraordinary dark skies, the area is also home to the John Glenn Astronomy Park. These and a host of other once-in-a-lifetime experiences emphasize nature, stewardship and unplugged quality time with friends, family and loved ones. Unique gift and antique shops, artists’ studios, Appalachian music and moonshine, hands-on activities, kayaking, canopy tours, eco tours and rappelling add to the allure of the Hocking Hills as the perfect place to escape and make meaningful memories. Complete traveler information is available www.ExploreHockingHills.com or 1-800-Hocking (800-462-5464).

###

Comp or press rate trips, video and images available.

MEDIA, Contact Amy Weirick, amy@WeirickCommunications.com, M: (614) 296-8513 or O: (614) 848-8380.