Ohio's Hidden Wonderland
Few people realize there is more to Ohio than tire factories and amusement parks, but there is actually considerable beauty hidden away on some of the back roads. On highway US-33, just south of Columbus and Lancaster, the road along the highway begins to get a little hilly. Kind of nice, but nothing exceptional. In fact, you wouldn't have any idea that anything of any real beauty is there. However, you need not drive more than 5 or 10 miles from the highway before you begin to run into what may well be the most beautiful sights in the state, Hocking Hills State Park.
Hocking Hills is an exceptional combination of gorges, cliffs, rock formations, waterfalls, pools lakes & rivers, and a whole lot more. The park is actually made up of 6 smaller state parks, all located within a short distance of each other. Every one of them is a sight worth seeing. The whole visit can be made in one day. In fact, I was able to make the visit, plus the 4 hour drive each way, in a single day. However, you end up rushing and only being able to examine the most superficial elements of the parks. The park is best seen over a period of 2 or 3 days. This allows you to visit the whole park, walk all the trails, and have the time to stop at several places to just sit and soak up the beauty of the place.
Below is a map of the Hocking Hills area, with the 6 state parks indicated by the colored dots. You can click on any of the colored dots to see pictures of that state park. They are all pretty beautiful, although the 3 southern-most parks stand out.
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