Hike the Cantwell Cliffs Loop

Cantwell Cliffs Parking

Cliffs of Black Hand Sandstone loom over a hidden gorge that cuts through the Hocking Hills.

Cantwell Cliffs is one of the more northern units of the overall Hocking Hills State Park Region. Located off of OH SR 374, a short 0.1 spur trail takes you from the parking lot to the rim of the gorge and the area's namesake cliffs. From there, you have two choices: Turn left and descend through "Fat Woman's Squeeze," a narrow staircase of rock cut into the cliffs to the valley floor below, or take a right and follow the rim trail for 0.4 miles around the cliffs to wind down to the valley floor. Each trail intersection is marked by a sign with a corresponding letter to each location, making orienting yourself a breeze. Also the combined set of trails is under 2 miles in length, so some intersection signs are close enough to be seen from various other intersections.

The bottom of the gorge has a 0.7 mile loop trail that follows the course of Buck Run, a smaller tributary of the nearby Hocking River. Established stream crossings along this path are few and far between, with most being stepping stones or logs thrown in the creek.

I've found that Cantwell Cliffs is one of the least trodden parts of Hocking Hills, and has some of the best opportunities for solitude during the hike. That being said, on nice weekends, it can have a large number of visitors as well, just no where near the numbers that descend upon nearby Old Man's Cave.

All in all, Cantwell Cliffs is an excellent hour-long adventure during a longer visit to Ohio's famous Hocking Hills!

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Water Bottles
  • Trekking Poles (optional)
  • Camera
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RT Distance 1 Miles
Elevation Gain 100 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Loop
Features
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Groups
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

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Favorite In The Area

I just returned from a camping trip to Hocking Hills, my first time in this area. Out of all those we hiked at, including Old Mans Cave, Cedar Falls, Rock House, and Conkles Hollow, this was my favorite! The views were gorgeous, as all of those spots are, but I really enjoyed the more challenging terrain and elevation changes that it had. It was the perfect hike!


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