Cruisin’ the Hocking Hills

hocking-hills-roadtrip

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Excerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler.

When Car and Driver Magazine took the Austin Martin Vanquish out for a test drive they headed for the Hocking Hills, their “Midwestern driving roads of choice” and put the performance car through her paces.   “The driving route is maybe the best in the world, this side of the Nürburgring,” says Car and Driver’s John Phillips.

Their route followed the southernmost loop of the Hocking Hills Scenic Byway past the iconic Hocking Hills State Park sites of Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave.   Car and Driver has used this loop since 1989. In fourteen short miles the route is perfect to evaluate performance over repeat runs.

Road & Track brought their top six contenders for the coveted title of Performance Car of the Year. BMW’s M235i and M3, Ford’s Mustang GT, Alfa Romeo 4C, Porsche’s 991 GT3 and Ferrari’s 458 Speciale all cruised through “the leafy crucible of Ohio’s Hocking Hills” in 2015.

For years, car clubs, collector car owners, car manufacturers and motorcyclists have discovered the joys of cruisi’n the Hocking Hills. As spring washes over the Hills the roads dip and twist through forests, over high vistas and around hairpin curves like a siren’s call to anyone who enjoys a country drive.

The inaugural Hocking Hills Cruise-In will take place this spring. The weekend event kicks off with a Car Party in historic downtown Logan on Friday complete with 50’s and 60’s rock & roll by the Gas Pump Junkies. Saturday will be filled with cruises, along-the-way activities, plenty of good food then show off your “baby” at the Show ‘n Shine Car Show. Complete details, including multiple cruise routes, are available at CruiseHocking.

The Hocking Hills Scenic Byway is a great place to start your cruise. It begins at US 33 and State Route 374. Follow State Route 374 till it merges with State Route 664 and travels a short distance north till it turns and heads south toward State Route 56. Drive west on State Route 56 to South Bloomingville where you pick up State Route 664 and head north back to State Route 374. TIP: Stop by Jimbo’s on State Route 56 in South Bloomingville for one of their legendary burgers.

Head to the southern Hocking Hills for a drive through the Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State Park. From US 33 exit at State Route 328 and travel south to State Route 56. Drive east on State Route 56 to State Route 278 then head south on State Route 278 to US 50. Turn east on US 50 to State Route 356 then drive north on State Route 356 to State Route 56. Head west on State Route 56 to State Route 328 then north to US 33. TIP: Have lunch al fresco overlooking Lake Hope at the Lake Hope State Park Lodge on State Route 278.

Now it’s time to head north. From US 33 exit on State Route 664 and travel north to Zwickle Road (Twp 72) turn left onto Zwickle and ride to Logan-Horns Mill Rod (Twp 32). Turn left on Logan-Horns Mill Road back to State Route 664 then south on State Route 664 to Walnut Dowler Road (Twp 44). This will bring you into historic downtown Logan. TIP: Plan to spend a little time on historic Main Street and enjoy shopping, dining and frozen yogurt.

Stop by the Hocking Hills Regional Welcome Center at 13178 State Route 664 S (US 33 & State Route 664) for the new Hocking Hills Road Tour map. Our friendly volunteers will be ready with directions, suggestions and everything you’ll need for a resplendent ride through the Hocking Hills.  Fuzzy dice are optional.