Conkle’s Hollow is on Ohio State Nature Preserve located in the Hocking Hills State Park. It is one of the most scenic natural history areas in Ohio. Conkle’s Hollow’s sheer sandstone cliffs, carved from Blackhand sandstone, rise nearly 200 feet above the valley floor. Conkle’s Hollow was named for W.J. Conkle, an early visitor to the area, who in 1797 carved his name and the date into the Black Hand sandstone on the west wall of the gorge.
According to a local Hocking Hills legend, a group of Native Americans once hid stolen money in a small opening high up on the gorge’s west wall. As the legend goes, they robbed a group of settlers traveling along the Ohio River of a large amount money. Then they journeyed to Conkle’s Hollow to hide the stolen goods. To reach the opening high up the cliff wall, the they chopped down a tall hemlock tree and then climbed up, using it as a ladder, to hide the money. They then pushed the tree to the ground, so it could not be used again. In order to find the cache, they carved an arrow on the eastern wall of the gorge pointing to the secret hiding place. They had intended to use a second tree to reclaim the money, but a storm knocked the tree down before the natives could return for the money. According to legend, the money was never been found although many early settlers claimed to have seen the arrow carving.
Conkle’s Hollow’s valley floor is lushly covered by a profusion of native plants, wildflowers, and hardwood forests. While the growth is so thick in places that little or no sunlight reaches the deep valley floor, the Lower Gorge trail was recently redesigned to accommodate visitors of all abilities. The trail leading up the narrow, as little as 300 feet from cliff to cliff in some places, half-mile long ravine is surrounded by vertical cliffs rising over 200 feet above. Experienced hikers may also want to try the rim trail on top of the cliffs circling the gorge. The cliffs at the top of Conkle’s Hollow are some of the highest in the Hocking Hills State Park and provide visitors with magnificent views.
Conkle’s Hollow is approximately 12 miles south of Logan on State Rte 664, 1 mile north on State Rte 374, and 1/4 mile east on Big Pine Rd to the entrance. Visitors to Conkle’s hollow will find access to parking, restrooms, and an extensive trail system.
When visiting Conkle’s Hollow, please be sure to abide by the Nature Preserve Rules and Regulations that have been published by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.