Explore Columbus: Ziplining and Smoked Brisket in Hocking Hills

Sally Wenxin Xia Sally Wenxin Xia Explore Columbus: Ziplining and Smoked Brisket in Hocking HillsFly like Superman in Hocking Hills — All photos by Sally Wenxin Xia.
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The Zipline

Urbanites who long for adventure can look no further. Located just an hour southeast of Columbus, Hocking Hills may have just what you need, starting with ziplining. Having been to Hocking Hills to hike, I was surprised to find out about the other activities it also offers and paid it another visit.

Besides the wiggling mountain roads, it’s a fairly easy drive down US-33. However, it’s important to know that cell phones hardly work in the area, especially when you are deep in the woods (which makes a printed map a good thing to have). Once you see the sign of “Hocking Hills Canopy Tour” by the GoMart gas station, drive up the slope and you arrive the tour headquarters.


Five different tours are currently offered including the “Dragonfly”, specifically designed for kids, and “Twilight” and “Sunrise” tours that happen at their specified time of day. Prices range from $29 to $89 per person and there are usually 8-10 people in a group.

I took the Canopy Tour, which takes place on a one-and-a-half mile nature trail, which takes around three hours and features 10 zip lines, five skybridges across the trees, and a rappel back to the ground level when the tour ends.  After putting on our gear, tour guides Matt and Adam were extremely helpful and fun to be around, which helped to calm me down.

First they took us on a training cable to practice and run us through the security tips before the real zipline begins. After a three-minute drive into the heart of the woods and following the first skybridge, I found my first-ever zipline starting point: a wooden platform built in the middle of trees.


“It’s okay, I won’t die,” I said as I prepared myself, standing about 60 feet off the ground.

“Boy is this tall,” I thought as I looked down. My brain was already in escape mode, retrieving memories from when I forced myself to get on Cedar Point’s Millennium ride and how that ended very badly.

“Clear, clear, clear,” said Matt, who had already arrived at the other end of the zipline.

“You are good to go”, said Adam, who had readied my gear. Just to prove that I was as capable as the 10-year-old girl in our group, I took a deep breath and…

“Are you sure I am all hooked up to the line and won’t fall, right?”


“Are you sure?”


Okay. I finally put both of my hands on top of my head and I let go.

“Ahhhhhh……..” I screamed my lungs out over the sound of the zipline slider, which made me feel like I was in a racing car, except I was actually zipping through the trees. All shades of greens flew by along with sunshine. After 20 seconds of flying through the woods, I saw Adam at the other end signaling me to slow down.


I had to remind myself to breathe after landing. But after the first time, the zip line was no longer scary. Instead, it became so much fun and it grew on me as I took in the scenery on the rest of the tour.

However, if the traditional zip lines don’t sound exciting enough, you can also spice things up with the “SuperZip” like I did, which costs an extra $20. The platform for the jump is as high as 85 feet, and the SuperZip allows you to literally fly through the jungle in the Superman position. This zipline is over a quarter-mile long and the speed gets as fast as 50 mph. After 10 traditional zip lines, the SuperZip was a perfect to end my day of adventure.


The tour is open seven days a week and reservations are recommended (although the SuperZip requires no reservation). New tours called “The ‘X’” and the “Off-Road Segway Adventure” will open in June, and I totally recommend anyone that’s up for an escape from city life to go.

More information about Hocking Hills adventures can be found at www.hockinghillscanopytours.com.

The Brisket

A good day of activities relies on a nutritious meal and the Hocking Hills Dining Lodge would be just the right place to visit. The lodge is located right by the famous hiking spot known as Old Man’s Cave. Spacious and well-decorated, the lodge has giant glass windows that reveal the nature’s beauty wherever you look. Besides the scenery, the food is what makes people come back for more.


“We make everything from scratch, using nothing that’s processed or frozen,” said Chef Matt Rapposelli. “And we use as many Ohio products as possible.”

The menu offers a wide selection of American family-style dishes with good portion sizes and very reasonable prices ranging from $10 to $20. That includes salads, wood-fired pizzas, hand-cut steaks and entrée platters featuring different meats.

The most popular menu items, Rapposelli said, is the smoked brisket with BBQ sauce. The home-smoked brisket has become incredibly popular, and it’s not hard to see why. The Brisket Platter ($15.99) that I tried was very tender and juicy. Served with mashed potatoes and green beans, the meal was more than enough to keep me energized for a full day of activities. For veggie lovers, “Marco’s Favorite” ($12.95) would be a great choice with grilled marinated zucchini, mushrooms and Roma tomatoes, served with a baked sweet potato and a salad. The lodge also serves a buffet every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the price of $12.99.


The Dining Lodge is located at 20020 State Route 664 South, Logan, OH 43138. More information about the restaurant can be found at www.hockinglodge.com.

gallerie-bar-bistroColumbus Underground is kicking off the summer with Explore Columbus Week! From June 2nd to June 8th, we’ll be sharing unique places to visit and experiences to have all throughout the region, sponsored by our friends at the Gallerie Bar & Bistro. Gallerie Bar & Bistro proudly embraces Ohio’s rich agricultural heritage and remarkable craftsmanship by featuring items from local farmers and artisans who maintain sustainable practices in the creation their products. Starting July 10, on the second Thursday of each month we are offering a monthly Supper Club for our city to experience creative coursed dinners from the kitchen of Chef Bill Glover and his team matched with unique pairings of wine, spirits, and beer. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.galleriebarandbistro.com.

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