The other weekend, my sister and I decided to take the kids out for a quick hike in Hocking Hills. I’ve heard of Balanced Rock but hadn’t seen it, so we decided to give that a try.
Hike Distance: About 2 miles, about 30 – 45 minutes depending on how fast you hike.
Trail Condition: This trail is largely on a bridal trail. The horses tear up the path quite a bit. So it can get very muddy and sloppy if it’s been wet. If it’s a nice day, watch for Horses coming. There are a couple of spots with significant drop offs. The trail is wide, but keep a hand on small kids that are prone to running off.
Date Hiked: May 22nd
The Crew: My sister and I and a brood of children. She had an extra with her, so we had kids that were 14, 11, 8, and 2 that were 6-ish. We also had 1 dog.
The trail head is near Conkles Hollow on County road 11/Big Pine Road. Park in the lot for the Rappelling/climbing area. Then cross the street. You’ll see a small kiosk near the road and a couple of brown wood posts marking the area.
From the kiosk near the road, follow the path back and cross the I-beam Bridge. (Points to the 2nd Grader for realizing it was a big I-Beam.) Once across the beam, you’ll come to an intersection where a main trail goes left and right and a small trail goes straight back. There is another Kiosk here. Take the trail to your left.
From here, the hike is quite simple. Just stay on the trail. You’ll see blazes every now and then but they aren’t overly necessary. The property adjacent to the trail is all private property, so don’t wander off the path. (Pro tip: Blazes are a great way to keep the middle kids busy when hiking. Make then responsible for spotting them.)
The hike winds up a hill which is a bit steep but certainly manageable. You’ll come along side some really neat rock faces and walk along them for a while, eventually coming to a bit of a rock shelter. Going on up you’ll see a crevice open up a bit and then come to a wide open area with a small fence for tying up horses. Balanced Rock is behind you.
As mentioned above, the trail can get pretty muddy from horse traffic. There are a couple spots that were pretty deep with mud. We managed to generally find edges of dry to walk along. We had to cross a very small stream. The adults could step over, but the kids needed a hand to avoid wet feet. Those of us in Keen sandals had no issues.
Be prepared for mud. Bridal trails seem to be a bit mucky year round. Hiking shoes or a change of shoes are a good idea here.
This trail isn’t so long that you need snacks. If you are joining several hikes in the area, the open area 1/2 way through this one is a good spot to stop and sit.
What It Cost Us
Not a thing, other than gasoline to get there. …and we all crammed into my car, so even gas was a bargain.
This is not the nicest trail in the area, but the cliff faces and Balanced rock are worth the effort. All of the kids were able to manage this hike easily, but we did keep the smaller ones close. Not too many people walk this trail, so we had it pretty much to ourselves on a nice day.
(whoops…forgot to stop the app when we took off, so I don’t have accurate statistics.)