The Hocking Hills region of Southeast Ohio is an oasis of beauty, tranquility and plenty of options for finding your way through flavor. Travelers looking to relax and unwind in style will find all they crave with a trip this direction thanks to the many restaurants, entertaining venues and shopping destinations that await. While these wonderful opportunities and establishments are bound to thrill, above all, this area of Ohio is known and loved for its outdoor beauty and appeal. Whether you love to hike, bike, explore or spend a day having a picnic with those you love most, there are a seemingly endless number of locales in which to do exactly that. There are plenty of places to choose from when it comes to outdoor adventure but when you’re looking for one that’s sure to impress, make sure a trip to Lake Hope State Park tops your list of must-see destinations.
A Gem of Southeastern Ohio
Nestled into the greater Zaleski State Forest in the Big Sandy Run Valley, Lake Hope State Park occupies 2,983 acres of land out of the massive 28,614 acres that belong to Zaleski State Forest. Rugged and adorned with thick, lush forest, Lake Hope State Park is graced with steep ridges and captivating gorges that are well worth a visit while you’re here. Hikers and bikers are drawn to Lake Hope State Park in the name of taking on the many trails that zigzag through the challenging terrain while historians are generally intrigued by the fact that this land houses the remains of abandoned iron mines and shafts.
Lake Hope State Park is home to a 120-acre lake that’s perfect for boating, kayaking, and canoeing when the weather is right. The lake enjoys a single boat access ramp and paddle equipment is readily available for rent when visitors don’t come geared up with their own. When fishing is more your style, the Lake Hope State Park waters are home to catfish, crappie, bass, and bluegill when you’re looking for the next big catch. Designated swimming areas are clearly marked for those looking to take a dip on a hot afternoon while a picnic on the beach is always a lovely family-friendly experience.
Things to Do Nearby
Spending quality time at Lake Hope State Park, whether you’re one for fishing, swimming, kayaking, hiking or simply taking in the sights is sure to be a highlight of your trip to Hocking Hills. Fortunately for visitors, the options for fun and excitement don’t end there. Hocking Hills is overflowing with opportunities to get out and explore and once you’ve had your fill at Lake Hope State Park, you’ll want to be sure to add these stops to the list to make your trip completely unforgettable from start to finish.
Hike Hemlock Bridge Trail
Taking your adventures away from Lake Hope State Park means picking them back up once you decide to hike Hemlock Bridge Trail. This moderately difficult trek is a great one for those that are experienced and looking for a more leisurely route or those hikers that are new to the sport. Situated in Logan within Hocking Hills State Park, the Hemlock Bridge Trail can be approached as a 2-hour trek out and back with options to view the charming rope bridge that extends over the creek, or can be pushed into a day trip as this trail links up with Whispering Cave routes as well. Be sure to wear sturdy shoes and pack plenty of water for this journey that takes you into the forest and provides options for observing foliage and wildlife in equal measure. For a more tranquil experience, hit up this trail in the early morning hours before the afternoon rush of visitors arrives.
Dine at Rhapsody Restaurant
When you’re looking for a place to enjoy a meal where the flavors are savory and live music is part of the fun, head over to Rhapsody Restaurant. This popular stop is located at the square in historic downtown Nelsonville and is generally a bustling place due to its reputation for flavor, friendly service and a fantastic atmosphere to match. Rhapsody Restaurant is a great place to enjoy Appalachian-inspired dishes ranging from chicken and steak to salads and seafood. The restaurant is open Wednesday and Thursday from 5:00 pm until 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday until 10:00 pm and on Sundays between 12:00 pm and 2:00 pm. For large group reservations, be sure to call 740-753-5740 in advance.
Once you’ve wrapped up a meal at Rhapsody Restaurant, a stroll through downtown Nelsonville is always a fun idea. This charming area of town is packed with boutique shops, art galleries, cafes and more. When you’re hunting for that perfect souvenir to take back home for yourself or a loved one, this area is a great place to find everything from antiques, handmade crafts, art, home goods, apparel and more.
Ohio State Parks
No matter when you arrive, Hocking Hills is a destination that captures the imagination. Let the team at Buffalo Cabins and Lodges help you make the most of accommodations as well by booking you into a gorgeous rental cabin for your stay. Contact us today to start planning your trip!
Here are a few of our rental options by size to help you decide: