Cedar Falls is one of the most popular natural history destinations in Ohio and offers an absolutely gorgeous gushing waterfall. Located on Queer Creek, the falls drops approximately 50 feet over a rocky cliff face, pooling in the picturesque ravine below before flowing further along the hiking trail.
Cedar Falls and is the largest waterfall by volume in the Hocking Hills region. It is one of the 7 major hiking trails in Hocking Hills State Park, located in Southeastern Ohio about an hour SE of Columbus on Route 33 in Hocking County. Visitors to Cedar Falls will find a picnic area and restrooms located in the parking lot within a short walk from the falls.
Accessing the falls, hikers descend The Democracy Steps, consisting of nearly 100 large steps created by Akio Hizume, an artist, architect, and mathematician. He designed a staircase that descends gently down the hillside amongst the moss-covered rock faces and hemlock trees to the lower gorge where the trail follows the stream back to the falls.
Hikers pass through a chasm thick with hemlock trees, lined by steep rock walls, grottos, and additional waterfalls. The hike loops back up a wooden staircase and connects to other parks like Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave. It’s a medium-difficulty walk that most visitors can manage.
HIKE CEDAR FALLS
The Hocking Hills State Park system includes Ash Cave, Old Man's Cave, Rock House, Conkle's Hollow, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, and Whispering Cave Trail. Each offers something truly unique and wonderful, with over 25 miles of one-way looped trail systems that are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk. From forested trails to massive natural rock formations, the Hocking Hills region is a breathtaking gem hidden in the upper Appalachian Basin for all to visit and enjoy.
Download a Trail Map for Cedar Falls and enjoy this relaxing walk in nature.
WELCOME TO CEDAR FALLS
Cedar Falls is located within Hocking Hills State Park. Just one of 7 hiking areas to explore, the lower gorge of Old Man’s Cave is host to spectacular falls which rival any local falls. Find out more about the history of Cedar Falls, how to access it and what to expect when you arrive.
Built in the mid-1800s, the falls were home to two different grist mill operations. A man-made waterfall, it was the result of a 20-ft tall dam on Massie Creek and boasts the largest water volume in Hocking Hills. The falls are not the only thing that draws people in. An old grist mill still stages amongst jagged rocks and moss-covered cliffs as a testament to its early beginnings. This semi-circular cliff boasts a recess cave behind the falls formed by the sapping action of the plunge pool. The towering hemlock present in the falls was mistaken for cedar when it was discovered. Although it was a mistake, the name Cedar Falls stuck.
To arrive at the trail, start from Indian Mound Reserve parking lot. Look for signs to follow the trail through the woods to the right. The signs will guide people to the right place, starting with a sign to Lower Gorge Trail. The base of the cliffs will get people close to the amazing drop off of water into the pool below. Surrounded by hemlock on all sides and moss-covered cliffs, the views are breathtaking. Where the Lower Gorge Trail ends, take the stairs to the top and follow the Upper Gorge Trail for another 0.4 miles to cross another bridge over the gorge. There is an observation platform now far away to view the falls. The roundtrip hike is not far but the views are worth the short hike in and out of the falls.
One major feature of Cedar Falls that sets it apart from other natural attractions is the Democracy Steps leading down to the falls. Created by architect and mathematician Akio Hizume, he used his love of nature and numbers to design a staircase that leads from the parking lot to Cedar Falls. His goal was to create a peaceful walk to the falls while presenting it eloquently and with grace. The 100 steps are meant to help people relax and ease into the falls. Walkers and hikers may not notice the attention to detail like varied individual steps or the way their feet will alternate as they develop a cadence and rhythm to their walking journey. All of this leads to a more mindful experience for everyone who stops to visit Cedar Falls.
With beautiful rock formations, an illustrious waterfall and gorgeous views, there is much to be said about Cedar Falls. It is a timeless space that will bring people together who enjoy nature and spending time in a tranquil space. A short distance from the parking lot (and everyday life), Cedar Falls is the perfect place to get away from it all for a time and just enjoy the view.
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