The caves are not subterranean - they are actually massive overhanding shelves of rock. When I was there 10 years ago you were allowed to walk right along the cliff edge. And because the Hocking Hills are not very well known outside of Ohio, there weren't very many people there even though it was a weekend. (It's probably more crowded in the summer.)
- National/State Park
Tour Old Man's Cave
Other features of the rock include cross-bedding, honeycomb weathering and slump blocks. The first is noticeable as diagonal lines in the rock intersecting horizontal ones. It is actually the cross section of an ancient sand bar in the delta and was caused by changing ocean currents. Honeycomb weathering looks like the small holes in a beehive comb. They are formed by differential weathering which comes about when water, moving down through the permeable sandstone, washes out small pockets of loosely cemented sand grains. Finally, the huge slump blocks of rock littering the streams tumble from near by cliffs when cracks widen to the extent that the block is no longer supported by the main cliff.
Although the glaciers never reached the park areas, their influence is still seen here in the form of the vegetation growing in the gorges. The glaciers changed the climate of all Ohio to a moist, cool environment. Upon their retreat, this condition persisted only in a few places such as the deep gorges of Hocking County. Therefore, the towering eastern hemlocks, the Canada yew and the yellow and black birch tell of a cool period 10,000 years ago
Kids enjoyed crossing the creek
This section begins northeast of Logan at SR 664 and Walnut Dawler Road. The trail meanders southwest through Enterprise and skirts the SE side of SR-33 were it enters Lake Logan State Park at the levee. Near here, we honor one of the Buckeye Trail's founders, William (Bill) Miller, by naming a short section after him. Cross Duck Creek on a new narrow foot bridge and continue south on back country roads, through the hemlocks in Hocking State Forest. The trail crosses Big Pine Creek on a large-elevated steel bridge and continues into the Old Man's Cave area. Here you will find primitive and class "A" camping after hiking a steep paved road. The main attractions in this area are: Conkles Hollow, Old Man's Cave, Cedar Falls and Aah Cave. Old Man's Cave area offers, parking, tables, toilets, water, and dining lodge. Here too, we honor a famous founder, Grandma Gatewood, by naming a portion of the trail in her name. Stop, rest and view 350 million years of geology and thousands of years of human history. We leave this area at Ash Cave by crossing SR 56 and entering TWP 254. Hiking back country roads and steep hills we leave the Old Man's Cave section and enter the Scioto Trail section at SR 327 and Clark Hollow Road.
Another view of the Hiking trails Old Man's Cave
One of the most popular attractions at Hocking Hills State Park, Old Man's Cave is a grand display of nature's beauty with its covering of Eastern Hemlocks, cliffs and waterfalls. Thousands of years of water flowing through the valley have cut away the Blackhand Sandstone and provided a trail for visitors to follow.
check out Suspension A frame bridge on trail.
Local Attractions The hollows and caves of the park complex have long attracted the peoples of Ohio. Evidence of the ancient Adena culture illustrates man first inhabited the recesses more than 7,000 years ago.
In the mid 1700's several Indian tribes traveled through or lived here including the Wyandot, Delaware and Shawnee. Their name for the river from which the park gets its name was Hockhocking of "bottle river." The name comes from the bottle-shaped valley of the Hocking River whose formation is due to its one-time blockage by glacial ice.
After the Greenville Treaty of 1795, numerous white settlers moved into the region and Hocking County was organized in 1818. The area around the parks began to develop in 1835 when a powder mill was built near Rock House and a grist mill was constructed at Cedar Falls.
The cave areas were well-known as scenic attractions by 1870. In 1924, the first land purchase by the state was made to preserve the scenic features. This first parcel of 146 acres included Old Man's Cave. Subsequent purchases built acreage while the areas existed under the Department of Forestry as State Forest Parks. The Department of Natural Resources was created in 1949 and the new Division of Parks assumed control of the Hocking Hills State Park complex, which today includes the six park areas. A dining lodge and cottages were opened in 1972. These cottages, together with a campground, provide overnight facilities in one of the most beautiful areas of our state.
Upper Falls at Old Man's Cave
The most popular of all the Hocking areas is Old Man's Cave, located on State Route 664. Here at the Upper Falls, the Grandma Gatewood Trail begins its six-mile course connecting three of the park's areas: Old Man's Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave. This same trail has been designated as part of Ohio's Buckeye Trail as well as part of two national systems - the North Country Scenic Trail and America's Discovery Trail.
Old Man's Cave derives its name from the hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the large recess cave of the gorge. His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a trading post. He and his two dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game. On one side trip up Salt Creek, he found the Hocking Region. Rowe lived out his life in the area and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave. Earlier residents of the cave were two brothers, Nathaniel and Pat Rayon, who came to the area in 1795. They built a permanent cabin 30 feet north of the cave entrance. Both brothers are buried in or near the cave. Their cabin was later dismantled and relocated on the nearby Iles farm to be used as a tobacco drying house.
Lower Falls near Old Man's Cave
The Old Man's Cave area can be divided into five principal sections found along the valley of Old Man's Creek. In order, they are: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge. Along the length of the trail the magnificent gorge cuts through the entire 150-foot thickness of the Blackhand sandstone. Carved by the creek, the gorge serves as an avenue for visitors to peer into the earth's subsurface. The full distance of the gorge is approximately one half mile.
Trail Tunnels near Old Man's Cave
Description: This hike makes use of the Buckeye Trail and the white blazed Bypass Bridle Trail to create a loop hike. Two options offer either a 6 mile or 10 mile round trip. The hike starts on the Buckeye Trail where it crosses SR 664/374 near Old Man's Cave and follows the BT until it crosses SR 56. Here hikers switch to the Bridle Trail for the return trip.
This is a moderately hard hike down in the most beautiful gorge in Ohio. You will be walking under, over and around magnificent rock formations. You will see the twisted remains of the violent flooding destruction from 1997. All around, the stately hemlocks shelter you from the cold winds in winter and provide cool shade in the summer.
View of the Hiking trails at Old Man's Cave
Parking & restrooms: Park in the parking lot. There are restrooms located across the road and to the right from the parking area. There is also a snack bar open during the summer.
Maps: A good map is highly recommended. Obtain the Old Man's Cave Section map from the Buckeye Trail Association
Climbing around the caves
Old Man’s Cave is a scenic attraction of Hocking Hills State Park. The park is actually composed of six separate areas and encompasses some of the most diverse and fascinating terrain in the state. The area is administered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resource’s Division of Parks and Recreation.
The kids enjoyed hiking around the trails and climbing around the rocks and caves. Very fun and active day.
Upper Falls and Pool
Actually, along with the movement of the earth, it's really nothing more than water and erosion that made this place we call Hocking Hills. In fact, your own back yard might be able to take on this same effect with a hose, a shovel and some earthmoving equipment. Oh and you'll also need a few million years of patience too. That's about how long it took just for the water to erode away at the surface to form the deep pockets, cracks and grooves.
Devil's Bath Tub
Devil's Bath Tub is a fascinating piece of streambed in the Upper Gorge area of the Old Man's Cave unit of Hocking Hills State Park in southeastern Ohio. This pothole in the relatively weak middle layer of the Blackhand sandstone is constantly being enlarged and deepened by the swirling action of Old Man's Creek.
A local legend has it that this pool extends down into the depths of Hades, the devil's home. Personally, I find it too beautiful and awe-inspiring to feel any connection other than to the Creator.
Trail and Bridge above Devils Bathtub
This review is on a beautiful peace of heaven in central Ohio. About forty miles south of Columbus you will find one of the prettiest spots in the world. If you want to see one of the most beautiful places in the Ohio, go to Hocking Hills State Park. This park boasts some of Ohio's most beautiful natural features. The park as a whole includes three smaller sights: Old Man's Caves, Cedar Falls, and Ash Caves. While these aren't technically caves, they are all above ground; they're recesses of sandstone, they are still a wonderful sight to see.
There is a wonderful walking trail that connects each of the smaller parks. The trail is about 6 miles long, and takes about two and a half to three hours to walk. At each of the parks is a small picnic area where you can rest and have a snack. Old Man's caves has a large visitors center, where you can find out more on this history of the area, and maps to show you where to go. Old man's caves also has a camping area and a beautiful lodge to stay at.
The best time to visit this area is in the late spring, summer, or early fall. When it is colder, ice begins to develop, and many people have fallen and really hurt themselves. It's best to pick a nice sunny day to go; it's better not to go when it's too hot, but it is always cooler there than the surrounding areas.
Cedar Falls, Hocking Hills State Park
Located in the picturesque sandstone region of Southeastern Ohio, Hocking Hills State Park encompasses some of the most scenic areas in the entire state. Rock outcrops, deep cool gorges, and waterfalls are found throughout the 6 main park areas. The pristine beauty of the area is enhanced by the abundance of wildlife found throughout the Hocking region. Visitors to the park can almost bet they'll see Ohio wildlife such as white tailed deer, wild turkey or even the cumbersome box turtle