Two separate trips to Hocking Hills. Two separate visits to two separate caves, each one as beautiful as the other in its own way. Both have waterfalls when it’s rained, both have picturesque views worthy of framing. Both have hiking and walking trails surrounding each. If you’ve never visited, here’s the scoop on what makes Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave worthy of a visit and why you need to make a visit to each.
On our very first visit to Ash Cave, we couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day- or setting. We love waking up early to explore new areas, so up at the crack of dawn we were and we headed straight for the cave. It turns out we weren’t the only ones who love seeing the cave nearly empty with visitors.
We were extremely lucky in that we were able to catch the end of a wedding ceremony.
Ash Cave measures 700 hundred feet from one end to the other, is 100 feet deep, and its rim rises 90 feet in the air. Not only is it a beautiful spot to explore inside, there’s a hiking path that leads above the cave and heads through the woods. If you’re ambitious enough, you can actually take that path and it will lead you to the end of Old Man’s Cave.
Good to Know: There are bathrooms right at the trail’s head and the walk back to Ash Cave is about a half mile long. The path is paved and is handicapped and wheelchair accessible.
Old Man’s Cave
Old Man’s Cave is considered the most popular of the cave systems in Hocking Hills, and I can only guess it’s because of its vastness and various sections. The cave was named after a hermit who moved into the area in the very late 18th Century to start a trading post. He made a trip up Salt Creek, discovered the cave, and lived the rest of his life in the area.
Five sections make up Old Man’s Cave: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls and Lower Gorge. The distance of the gorge is right around 1/2 mile in length, and it cuts straight through Blackhand sandstone carved by the its creek.
If you happen to hit the cave on a rainy day or during the rainy season, you’ll have the pleasure of seeing its waterfalls in full force. The low-lying areas of the cave tend to be foggy as well, but the cooler temps definitely encouraged us to hike more.
Good to Know: Bathrooms are adjacent to the large parking lot at Old Man’s Cave. During the warmer weather months, the cave can get very populate with hikers and tourists. If you like getting up early, your best bet is to head there in pretty early in the morning. You’ll also beat the heat that way as well.
Have you hiked the caves in Hocking Hills? Which is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below!