Fall In Love With Hocking Hill’s Shifting Colors
SEPTEMBER ~ OCTOBER ~ NOVEMBER
Perhaps the apex of the Hocking Hills experience in terms of seeing at its maximum beauty, autumn in the hills is also a great opportunity to connect with the region’s culture via various events. It kicks off in September with the Hocking Hills Trail Run, if an easy stroll through the forest ain’t your thing. The event starts at the Naturalist Cabin (by the Old Man’s Cave Welcome Center) and has various tiers depending on your level of fitness, starting at 5k all the way up to 60k (!!!) heats.
The Hocking County Fair is another September highlight. The family-friendly event includes a little bit of everything: carnival rides, tractor pulls, lots of local food options, livestock shows, live music, a demolition derby, and more. Another agriculturally based festival is the Jackson Apple Festival held at the end of each September. Expect all things apple: contests, live music, cooking competitions, and a parade in tribute to the fruit.
The Jack Pine Studio is a year round attraction where you can book a glass blowing class/workshop or buy some handcrafted souvenirs, but they take it up a notch at the studio in September by holding their annual Glass Pumpkin Festival. The outdoor art celebration features the studio’s most noteworthy creations while also bringing in other area artists and food vendors.
In mid-September, the town of Albany, OH hosts their annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival. This fest is dedicated to the Pawpaw fruit, the continent’s largest edible native tree fruit. There’ll be Pawpaw-centric foods, music, contests, craft brews, education, and more.
The Hocking Hills Artists and Craftsmen Association (HHAC) holds their annual Fall Show towards the end of each September. This showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen/craftswomen across various artistic mediums (paint, sculpture, photography, etc.).
Grandma Gatewood’s Fall Colors Hike in October is inspired by one of the original ultra hikers, Grandma Gatewood, who was a trailblazer in the area as well as others (she was the first woman to solo hike the entirety of the Appalachian trail and the first person, man or woman to hike the trail not only twice, but three times! Her first venture was at the ripe young age of 67, when she was the mother of 11 and grandmother of 23). It’s considered a somewhat strenuous 6-mile hike that includes a 3-mile stretch of the Grandma Gatewood (Buckeye) Trail that she helped forge. If visitors feel up to the challenge, the trek is an ideal path to seeing the awesome fall colors of Hocking Hills.
Another major October event is the Circleville Pumpkin Show. For about a week each year, the town of Circleville genuflects to the awesomeness of pumpkins. The highlight is the Largest Pumpkin competition (past winners have exceeded 1,800 lbs.), but the event also features a parade, Miss Pumpkin and Little Miss Pumpkin shows, live music, and plenty of pumpkin-inspired cuisine.