When Steve Roley saw an opportunity to purchase a Hocking Hills property in 2015 to develop into his own ecotourism/outdoor recreation attraction, he grabbed it. Roley launched High Rock Adventures in Rockbridge, Ohio, in April 2016. Since then, Roley and his crew have guided scores of visitors through on-site educational hikes and fun, fresh-air adventures.
“We are the only on-site climbing and rappelling company in the region,” Roley said. “This is private land and everything is guided, so we can keep it pristine. And, there’s no waiting because all tours and groups are scheduled, unlike at public parks and the state climbing area where another group may be ahead of you.”
All tours kick off in a cozy cabin where visitors receive a quick safety briefing and instruction on what to expect during their experiences. The ecology focus makes High Rock unique in that Roley and his team infuse environmental ethics into everything they do. During the tours, guests get a crash course in Hocking Hills geology, trees and plant life, while also squeezing in a little exercise to boot.
High Rock Adventures can host up to 30 people per tour, and accommodates all ages and skill levels. The company stays open year-round for rappelling and Rock Challenge tours, but typically conducts most of its nature-based outings between April and October.
“As long as we don’t have a lot of snow or ice, we can do the tours,” Roley explained. “Climbing requires above-freezing temperatures. Many days in the winter allow that, and we can rappel if it’s not icy and winds are under 30 mph.”
Roley hopes every High Rock guest goes home with a renewed respect for the natural environment.
“We want people to create awesome memories, but also to have a better understanding of nature, why it’s so important and our connection to it,” he said.
Look for waterfall and wildflower hikes and an edible/medicinal plant tour to join High Rock’s list of offerings in the next year or two. n
For more information call 740-385-9886 or visit highrockadventures.com.
By Amy Lynch