Travel the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

scenic byway hocking hills

When it comes to immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Hocking Hills, there’s no better way than embarking on a scenic drive. Whether you’re seeking panoramic views, winding country roads, or charming small towns, Hocking Hills offers a variety of routes that will take you on a memorable journey through the region’s picturesque landscapes. Among the notable scenic drives in the area is the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, a designated route that showcases the region’s most breathtaking vistas and points of interest.

The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway holds the esteemed recognition as one of America’s Byways, a prestigious national designation that honors the exceptional qualities and significance of a byway. This distinction is reserved for routes that possess intrinsic and distinctive characteristics, offer value to a diverse range of visitors, and demonstrate long-term sustainability as part of America’s Byways program. The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway stands proudly among the nation’s most treasured scenic routes, inviting travelers to explore its captivating landscapes and experience its enduring allure.

The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is a 26-mile stretch of road that follows State Route 374 and meanders through the heart of Hocking County, Ohio. This designated byway offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, cultural landmarks, and outdoor recreational opportunities. The route begins in Logan and takes you through enchanting forests, rolling hills, and stunning rock formations, providing a feast for the eyes at every turn.

Along the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway, you’ll encounter several must-see attractions, including the picturesque Lake Logan State Park, where you can enjoy boating, fishing, and hiking. The route also passes by the iconic Hocking Hills State Park, home to numerous hiking trails, waterfalls, and scenic overlooks. Make sure to stop at Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave, and Cantwell Cliffs to witness the awe-inspiring beauty that defines the region.

hocking hills scenic byway map
Courtesy of Hocking Hills Tourism Association

State Route 374

State Route 374 is another scenic drive that takes you through the heart of Hocking Hills. This 17-mile route starts in Rockbridge and leads you on a journey through dense woodlands, rolling hills, and charming rural landscapes. Along the way, you’ll pass by Rockbridge State Nature Preserve, a geological wonder featuring a natural bridge formation carved by the elements over centuries.

Continue on State Route 374 to reach Clear Creek Metro Park, where you can explore the park’s trails, picnic areas, and scenic overlooks. The drive also takes you near the picturesque town of Laurelville, where you can stop for a meal or visit the quaint local shops.

Route 56

For a scenic drive that showcases the charming small towns and rural landscapes of the region, consider traveling along Route 56. This highway stretches across Hocking County and provides a glimpse into the area’s agricultural heritage. As you drive, you’ll encounter expansive farmlands, rolling hills, and the opportunity to explore the small communities along the way.

Make a stop in the town of South Bloomingville, where you can visit local shops, enjoy a meal at a country diner, or even venture off onto scenic side roads that lead to hidden gems. Route 56 is also an excellent option if you wish to visit Lake Hope State Park, a serene and picturesque destination offering outdoor activities and tranquil lake views.

County Road 9

County Road 9 is a less-traveled road that offers a peaceful and scenic drive through the countryside of Hocking County. This winding route takes you through rolling hills, past charming farms, and alongside babbling creeks. The road is particularly beautiful during the fall season when the foliage transforms into a vibrant display of colors.

County Road 9 connects to various other scenic routes in the area, allowing you to create your own customized scenic drive. Consider combining it with State Route 664, which leads to the Hocking Hills State Park area, or explore the nearby Zaleski State Forest for additional natural beauty and outdoor adventures.

Driving the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway

When embarking on a scenic drive in Hocking Hills, it’s important to drive safely, obey traffic laws, and be mindful of other road users. Take your time to soak in the stunning vistas, capture photos of the captivating landscapes, and make occasional stops to explore attractions or enjoy a picnic amidst nature’s beauty.

As you embark on these scenic drives, here are a few tips to enhance your experience:

  • Plan ahead: Before setting out, familiarize yourself with the route, attractions, and points of interest along the way. Consider picking up a map or guidebook to help navigate the area and identify scenic viewpoints or places of significance.
  • Pack essentials: Ensure you have all the essentials for a comfortable and enjoyable drive. Bring along snacks, water, a camera, binoculars, and any other items that will enhance your experience and allow you to fully appreciate the scenery.
  • Take your time: The beauty of a scenic drive lies in the journey, not just the destination. Allow ample time to savor the surroundings, pull over at designated viewpoints, and take leisurely breaks to soak in the sights and sounds of Hocking Hills.
  • Embrace serendipity: While having a plan is important, don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore the lesser-known roads and hidden gems. Sometimes the most memorable experiences come from unexpected discoveries along the way.
  • Respect nature and communities: When exploring Hocking Hills, it’s vital to respect the environment and local communities. Stay on designated roads, dispose of waste properly, and be mindful of noise levels and private property. Leave the area as you found it, ensuring its beauty can be enjoyed by future generations.

Hocking Hills’ scenic drives offer a wonderful opportunity to connect with nature, unwind from the bustle of everyday life, and immerse yourself in the region’s stunning landscapes. So, hop in your vehicle, roll down the windows, and let the beauty of Hocking Hills unfold before your eyes as you embark on a scenic journey through this enchanting region.

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