The 7 Hiking Trails in Ohio with Waterfalls
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Ohio is home to some beautiful waterfalls. There are plenty of places where you can see waterfalls with impressive volumes of water. Most of them are located in state and national parks and can easily be reached on pleasant hiking trails through the wilderness. Many of these trails are suitable for all skill levels. The hiking spots here offer other recreational opportunities like lakes for swimming and fishing, picnic facilities, and waterfalls of course.

Below are some of our favorite waterfalls hikes in Ohio. Find your sense of adventure and explore your home state.

1. Ash Cave Falls Trail

  • Waterfall Height: 90 feet
  • Distance: 0.5 mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 111 feet
  • Location: Hocking Hills State Park

Ash Cave Falls

Ash Cave Falls is located in Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio. The trail features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. It is primarily used for hiking and nature photography and is best used from April until October. The Falls runs only in the spring and is best seen early. If you want to see the falls, April is probably the best time for a visit. In winters, it freezes and forms an ice column. Ash Cave Falls runs from the rim of Ash Cave, this is one of the highlights of Hocking Hills State Park.

Getting to Ash Cave Falls is easy. The main parking is well-signed and it is off of SR 56. It is a five-minute walk from the parking area to the falls. The trail goes behind the falls and up to the brink. If you prefer, continue on the Grandma Gatewood Trail. This is a segment of the Buckeye Trail, for 3 miles to reach Cedar Falls.

Ash Cave is the largest recess cave in the entire Eastern United States. It is 700 feet long, 100 feet deep and 90 feet tall. The name “Ash Cave” came when settlers first came across this cave in the 1800’s they found a pile of ashes nearly 100 feet wide and three feet deep within the cave. Plan your visit after heavy rain if you want to see Ash Cave its best.

2. Cedar Falls Trail

  • Waterfall Height: 50 feet
  • Distance: 0.9 mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 157 feet
  • Location: Hocking Hills State Park

Cedar Falls - Ohio

Cedar Falls is located in Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio. This is an impressive 50 feet waterfall that features a lake and is good for all skill levels. The waterfall looks much bigger in person than in pictures. The water slides down a massive chunk of sandstone, splits in the middle and then meets up again before plunging into a pool, creating a rather unique looking waterfall.

Cedar Falls and the area surrounding the falls provide great satisfaction and relief from civilization. The falls can be more beautiful with an early morning hike after a good amount of rain. You can continue to explore the trail up the gorge enlightens all of the senses, the smell of the dusky hemlocks, the babbling creek, soaring intricately eroded cliffs and so much more.

Getting to Cedar Falls is easy. It is one of the 6 main spots Hocking Hills. This is a well-maintained and well-marked area so finding the trailhead shouldn’t be too difficult. Once there, go left out of the parking lot. Remember, the trail is about half a mile long (one way). It will take you down to the creek-level and then follow the creek up to the falls. Enjoy the beautiful site with an easy hike and take some good photos because there’s plenty to see. A worthy hike!

3. Brandywine Falls Trail

  • Waterfall Height: 62 feet
  • Distance: 3.8 mile
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 534 feet
  • Location: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Brandywine Falls

Stanford House to Brandywine Falls is a 3.8-mile scenic and loop trail near Northfield. It is one of the impressive waterfalls of Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The falls can be reached from Stanford Road. The hike is rated as moderate and it is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. The trail is accessible year-round. Dogs can use this trail but must be kept on leash.

The waterfall offers some breathtaking views and it is best viewed after a decent amount of rain. The hike is even better because you don’t need to hike far. It is within 200 yards of the parking. Remember, the parking lot is not designed to park tons of vehicles so finding a spot is tricky! You may encounter issues with people parking right up on your vehicle.

The hike has a few difficult parts like hiking up and down the hills, but it is rewarding. You walk in the beautiful forests (about one hour) and it has some flat terrains. You will hike a gradual uphill, well-marked trail through fields and then beautiful forests for about a mile and a half. The hike back is a lot easier, as it is more downhill. Do yourself a massive favor, plan on getting here first thing in the morning or wait until later in the afternoon.

4. Buttermilk Falls Trail

  • Waterfall Height: 20 feet
  • Distance: 0.8 mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 16 feet
  • Location: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Buttermilk Falls - Ohio

Buttermilk Falls is located in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park near Cleveland, Ohio. The hike features scenic views and it is rated as an easy hike. The trail can be used for hiking, nature trips, and is good for all skill levels. The trail is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The hike to the falls is a 20-minute walk and you will pass the small Blue Hen Falls on the way.

This is an easy hike and a nice spot for people who can’t do trails. Begin by parking in the lot right across the street from the trailhead and in less than 20 minutes you are looking at pretty nice falls. The view of the waterfall from its base is much better and it isn’t too difficult to get down to. It is perfect to add to any day trip.

In summer, if you’re willing to get your feet wet, you can frolic in the pool at the bottom of the falls. That’s where crayfish play hide-and-seek in the cool and shady shallows. Be sure to pack a hearty snack and enough water to enjoy down there because it’s a steep climb back up!

The trail is also ideal for those hikers who are getting acquainted with a new pair of boots or testing their relationship with a heavy pack before a camping trip.

5. Blue Hen Falls Trail

  • Waterfall Height: 15 feet
  • Distance: 0.5 mile
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Elevation Gain: 78 feet
  • Location: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Blue Hen Falls

Blue Hen Falls is a small yet scenic waterfall in Northeast Ohio. It is known to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Blue Hen Falls is located barely a half-mile from the parking lot trailhead off Boston Mills Road. There are a few parking lots available at the given address but there is an overflow lot right across the street. The parking usually fills up early in the morning. It is recommended to arrive early if you would prefer to park at the trailhead.

The hike is rated as easy to moderate and it is enough for families with young children, folks with unhappy knees, or couch potatoes just relearning the art of more strenuous activity. Nature lovers, photographers, and artists are going to love it, too. You stop at the falls, gawk at its glory, and then turn around and return to your car.

Blue Hen Falls is a modest torrent of water and getting to it is easy. The trail has a wooden footbridge crossing Spring Creek that ultimately leads you to the sandstone-and-shale waterfall. Remember, the area beyond falls containing a sensitive riparian habitat. Please be respectful and stay on the trail. Overall, it is a great little hike with a waterfall and amazing views. You can stand on top of it and even go behind the waterfall. It is a peaceful and nice walk.

6. Charleston Falls Loop

  • Waterfall Height: 37 feet
  • Distance: 1.8 mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 134 feet
  • Location: Charleston Falls Preserve

Charleston Falls

Charleston Falls Preserve is the most visited Park District property in Miami County. The park is beautiful and the place is good for wildlife sightings. The trail to Charleston Falls is a 1.8-mile loop trail located near Tipp City, Ohio. Charleston Falls also known as “Miniature Niagara” because its rock strata are the same as Niagara Falls. Originates from small underground springs, stream creating the falls plummets 37 feet then continues its meandering journey to the Great Miami River.

Charleston Falls is very pretty with some amazing views. If you prefer, there’s a wooden stairway that can take you down to the bottom of the falls and back up to the other side. Getting to the falls is easy with little to no hills. After a rainfall, some of the sections of the trail can get pretty muddy but for the most part, they keep the mud to a minimum with gravel.

Be sure to bring your GPS or a good map with you. There is no brown attraction sign for Charleston Falls on either I-75 or I-70. Parking is free in the large lot and there are restrooms at the trailhead. The park can be visited only in daytimes and closing time posted each day. If you leave your car in the parking lot after closing time, your car will be towed. So no one is allowed to begin a hike 30 minutes or less before the posted closing time.

7. Dundee Falls Trail

  • Waterfall Height: 15 feet
  • Distance: 2.1 mile
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Elevation Gain: 252 feet
  • Location: Dundee-Wilmot Road Northwest, Dundee

Dundee Falls

Dundee Falls Trail is a 2.1-mile out and back trail located near Dundee. It features an amazing waterfall and other numbers of activities. The trail is accessible year-round and it is suitable for all skill levels. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

There is a parking lot available off Dundee-Wilmot Road. The trail can be accessed via a primitive leading off a small parking area adjacent to Dundee-Wilmot Road, the short path. The area, where the Falls is located contains its fair share of the beautiful scenery typical of Ohio. Unfortunately, it’s hard to focus on the splendor of the forest and meandering stream due to an excessive amount of litter. If they could patrol it at all, it would surely help prevent all the litter. Out of all the Ohio Parks, this was by far the most littered wildlife area ever. This is so sad. It could be cleaned up and turned into a high tourist area.

Overall, Dundee Falls is a great and scenic trail. It is a very pretty and easy hike down to a nice little grotto with a waterfall. If you prefer, take about a 10-minute walk, follow the river and see what else is past the falls!

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