Cantwell Cliffs is one of the six major areas of the Hocking Hills State Park, and has been described as the most picturesque location in Hocking County. Many people believe this area contains some of the park’s most beautiful features.

Standing approximately 150 feet high, the cliffs overlook Buck Run, which spills from above as a waterfall and flows over a portion of the cliffs. Erosion from the waterfall has created the deep valley, steep cliffs, and rock shelter beneath.

Visitors can access Cantwell Cliffs by way of two trails, the valley floor trail or the rim trail. Those who choose the East Rim Trail will be rewarded by a scenic view of the cliff and rock shelter at Lookout Point. Hikers approaching the rock shelter will find that the trail winds its way through narrow passageways caused by large slump blocks that have fallen away from the main cliff.

Despite it’s unparalleled beauty, Cantwell Cliffs is the least visited of the Hocking Hills State Park attractions.

The History

Cantwell Cliffs was not originally included in the 1924 purchase of land by the State of Ohio in the Hocking Hills region. Eventually, additional land was purchased and the cliffs were included in the state park. The cliffs are named after the Cantwell family, one of the earliest settlers of the Hocking County region from Virginia. Some accounts say it’s named after Joseph Cantwell, the eldest brother. However, his younger brother Josiah eventually died here, leading some to believe it was named in memory.