Old Man's Cave Gorge in winter Photo courtesy Hocking Hills State Park
Hocking Hills State Park:
A Sparkling Gem Nestled in Southern Ohio Hills
This natural wonderland, encompassing 2,000 acres,
features fern-laden paths through caves and under waterfalls. The
Hocking region is characterized by massive sandstone outcroppings,
deep cool gorges, towering hemlocks and glistening waterfalls.
Among the areas abundant wildlife are white-tailed deer, barred
owls, grouse, and an occasional bobcat that make the wooded ravines
and ridgetops their home. The lush forest undergrowth contains a
profusion of fern, shrubs, and wildflowers. The park has many
outstanding rock formations, which include sandstone, shale,
limestone, coal, clay, and conglomerate rock. The park's numerous
streams are filled with sunfish, colorful darters, black-nosed
dace, and lamprey.
This area was once a rendezvous area for numerous
native American tribes. In the mid 1700s, the Wyandot tribe lived
along the Hocking River. Pioneers began settling the area in the
late 1790s. By the early 1900s, virgin woodlands of poplar, beech
and oak were threatened by encroaching lumbering operations.
Through the efforts of state forester Edmund Secrest, a state
forest law was passed in 1915, which enabled the state to acquire
areas of scenic value that would be suitable for recreation and
reforestation. In 1924, the state purchased its first parcel of
land for the park, which encompassed the area, Old Man's Cave. More
land was purchased during the next decade. In the 1930s, the Works
Progress Administration improved the park with trails, stone steps,
bridges, roads and tunnels. Extensive reforestation of timbered
land returned the surrounding area to its original primeval
The park features six separate and unique
Old Man's Cave: This popular area has many hiking trails that
past rapids, small waterfalls, a 40-foot waterfall, hemlock trees,
cliffs, and unique rock formations.
Cedar Falls: This remote primitive chasm is laden with hemlock
trees and bound by steep rock walls and accompanying grottos and
Ash Cave: This is the largest and most impressive feature in the
park, measuring 700 feet from end to end.
Conkles Hollow: This nature preserve is a rugged, rocky
Rock House: This is the park's only true cave-a tunnel-like
corridor situated midway up a 150-foot cliff.
Cantwell Cliffs: This area comprises a deep valley and steep
Documentation comprises a text report, park booklet, photos, and
Originally submitted by: Ted Strickland, Representative (6th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.