After leaving our RV park in the Amish Country we headed further south to the Hocking Hills. The reason for staying here was to visit Hocking Hills State Park. This is a beautiful and different area than the rest of Ohio. In the midst of lush forests lie large sandstone rock formations, caves, gorges, streams and waterfalls. I had heard about the Hocking Hills but initially wasn’t necessarily planning a visit here. Thanks to my friend Anette for encouraging me to not miss visiting the Park. I am very glad we did as this is a one of a kind, special place.
Hocking Hills State Park is divided up into seven major hiking areas and therefore does not have one main entrance to see all the attractions. As the Park is large, a little bit of driving is required to visit each area. One day I checked out three different spots, beginning with Ash Cave which involved a short and easy walk. This is a trail that anyone can access as it is paved and handicap accessible. Ash Cave is perhaps the most awe inspiring sight in the Park because of its size. It is the largest recess cave in Ohio at 700 feet long and 100 feet deep. Ash Cave Falls flows during the spring time, dropping 90 feet from the Cave’s rim and adding even more to the grandeur. I was pretty amazed by the sight of this Cave and Falls.
The Cave got its name after early settlers found huge piles of ash left behind by Native Americans.
After visiting Ash Cave I drove over to Cedar Falls. The trail involved a bit of a walk including 100 stone steps down to the Falls. They drop 50 feet into a large pool that looked popular with both kids and adults wading and swimming. I did read signs while visiting the different parts of the Park to not get into the pools or creeks, but for some, the temptation was irresistible.
The Falls got their name from early settlers who mistakenly thought the nearby hemlock trees in this gorge were cedars.
My next stop was Old Man’s Cave, the most popular spot in the Hocking Hills. This is an amazing gorge with a trail that winds for about a mile past rocky cliffs, rock formations, several waterfalls, stone bridges and into the Cave itself. There are a variety of stone steps to navigate and even a few rock tunnels so it is a nice little workout.
Like Ash Cave, Old Man’s Cave is also a recess cave but not as large or impressive. It was named for the “old man” Richard Rowe, a recluse who made the Cave his home in the 1800’s.
In the photo below you can see to the right one of the narrow rock tunnels leading to a set of stairs.
One of the beautiful stone bridges arching over Salt Creek which flows through the gorge.
In the photo below is a view of one of the large sandstone rock formations. Several kids were having fun playing in the cave like holes at the bottom of the cliff.
Upper Falls was my favorite waterfall in the gorge and in my opinion perhaps the most scenic part of the trail. The Falls were a beautiful sight dropping into the large pool with the stone bridge above.
In the photo below, I liked the way the tree with gnarled roots and the fern covered rocky cliff frame Upper Falls.
It was a day of scenic wonders at Hocking Hills State Park and I hope you enjoyed a look. Stay tuned for my next blog where I explore more of this Park.