In mid June, we headed west – destination: Hocking Hills, Ohio. First timers, we had only heard stories of the caves and hills of this region. We needed to see for ourselves. Living in Pittsburgh, we found it hard to believe that Ohio actually had the type of topography described by visitors instead of the plains that we tended to see miles before us just before crossing the Pennsylvania border.
We set our camp up in Top O’ the Caves Campground in South Bloomingville. It was close to much of the park and its website looked wooded, just what we like. We made reservations a few weeks before, requesting a shaded spot.
We arrived on a Friday mid-day to set up. You pull into a small building for check in and get directed to your site. Our was #63. If you look at the map tell me what you don’t see around this site… Yep, you got it – trees. Okay. It’s not a long trip. We’ll see how it goes.
We pull in the A-Liner and start setting up and realize that these sites are small! Once our neighbors for the weekend arrived, we all realized that the sites were so narrow there was no place to put anything where you were not right on top of each other. With an A-LIner and tent, the tent had to sit directly behind the A-Liner and the screen house along the road. Each site did have a picnic table and a fire ring. The picnic tables were a bit smaller than you normally see (and lighter weight to move them within the site) and the fire ring was a tire rim.
The restrooms were not a bad walk from anywhere in the campground. For a flush-toilet, indoor place, I would give them about a C-. They felt dirty and the toilets were not bolted to the floor. Very weird to have them tilt if you moved standing up. The entrances to the showers were not inside the main bathroom, but in stalls that opened directly to the outside. With efficient but awkward pull-type shower heads, you had no desire to linger. The positive was the water was a nice temperature. The doors on the shower stalls were flimsy and the locks may or may not have worked. They were all in various stages of disrepair.
Beware of the Dark
I have camped quite a few times, but here we were faced with the bravest raccoon visit ever. Sitting in the screen house playing games just after dark, we heard racket from the truck parked no more than 4 feet from our screen house (remember, narrow sites). We heard a PLOP. Flashlight in hand we all darted out to see what going on. We find a large canvas bag pulled from the truck bed onto the ground and a raccoon dragging off a full gallon-sized bad of dog food. We chased him. He darted into the woods across a ravine and sat there and ate it, knowing he was safely beyond our reach. The dogs? They were confused but pleasantly surprised with a breakfast the next morning of eggs, bread and rice cakes. And off to town we went to find more kibble.
Bottom Line: It okay, but not on my repeat list. If I head back to Hocking Hills, I’ll be trying a different campground.