As an Ohio resident, I have tons of acquaintances that have been or are planning to visit Hocking Hills, Ohio. Hocking Hills is actually an area of quaint towns around an hour south of Columbus that have nature and outdoor activities in the forefront. Hiking, walking, ziplining, cliff climbing, and rappelling are everyday occurrences and we happily participated in all of them. If you ask folks that have been to Hocking Hills what’s the first place you must visit, the answer is always the same: Old Man’s Cave.
When I started researching Hocking Hills before my family’s trip, beautiful photos of Old Man’s Cave showed up in my Google feed and, quite honestly, I couldn’t wait to take some of my own. Old Man’s Cave was given its name after a hermit named Richard Rowe. Rowe, a Tennessee native, moved to the area with his family and on a venture with his two dogs, found the Hocking region and decided to live out his life in Hocking Hills. Previously, two brothers came to the area in 1975, built a cabin 30 feet from the cave’s entrance, and are now buried by it.
I don’t know about you, but I can see the face of an old man on the cave’s facade.
We had such pleasant weather on our morning hike, and I was definitely grateful for the respite from the humid July temps we had encountered previously on our trip. We visited the Old Man’s Cave and Lower Falls areas on our hike, but there’s actually five separate areas: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and Lower Gorge. Avid hikers can easily spend an entire day taking in the beauty of the connecting trails, and a hike through Old Man’s Cave can easily lead to a hike to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave, totaling six miles of trails.
Seeing on-line photos of the beauty of old Man’s Cave is one thing, but seeing the beauty with my own eyes was quite another. The Kid had a perma-smile for the two hours that we hiked and walked and I’ve never seen her eyes so full of curiosity.
Mr. Locke was just as stricken by the beauty, and I was happy to snap a couple of pics of him with morning sun rays as the backdrop.
if you are planning visit, plan on wearing comfy hiking/walking shoes! We had no problem hiking over and around large stones, up and down stone staircases, and jumping over tree trunks and other small obstacles. Oh, and stuff a couple of bottles of water and some snacks in your travel bag. All that hiking certainly increased my thirst!
I’m rarely in front of the camera these days, but Mr. Locke snapped a great photo of me and The Kid.
The Lower Falls/Lower Gorge area was so pretty-and cool! We walked around what looked like a small beach area and it was very easy to take beautiful photos.
So, what happens next when you hike to the bottom of a gorge? A hike back up, of course! Be prepared for a ton of steps and paths with some steep inclines.
this is one of my favorite photos from our morning hike. It’s the last set of steps on our ascent to the main park area, and the sun shining through the carved-out area made a heavenly view.
Now that I’ve been to Hocking Hills and have seen and hiked to Old Man’s Cave, will I tell everyone who asks me that it’s the first place to stop? You betcha.
Disclosure: I was hosted by Experience Columbus for my visit to Hocking Hills, Ohio. Old Man’s Cave is a free activity, but I still wanted to give them a shout out!