The Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, OH., is made up of six major scenic areas, Ash Cave, Cedar Falls, Conkle’s Hollow, Cantwell Cliffs, Old Man’s Cave, and The Rock House. The features of these areas are carved in Blackhand sandstone from bedrock that was deposited more than 350 million years ago. Over millions of years weathering and erosion has created many unusual formations in the park such as the recess caves at Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave.
Old Man’s Cave – derives its name from the hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the large recess cave of the gorge. Rowe lived out his life in the area and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess 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. The full distance of the gorge is approximately one half mile.
Ash Cave – in the southernmost reaches of Hocking Hills is beyond doubt the most spectacular feature of the entire park. Ash Cave is the largest, most impressive recess cave in the state, and is named after the huge pile of ashes found under the shelter by early settlers. The horseshoe-shaped cave is massive; measuring 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet high. A small tributary of the East Fork of Queer Creek cascades over the rim into a small plunge pool below.
Cedar Falls – was misnamed by early white settlers who mistook the stately hemlocks for Cedars. Cedar Falls itself is the greatest waterfall in terms of volume in the Hocking region. Queer Creek tumbles over the face of the Blackhand sandstone displaying the awesome force of water power. In the mid 1800’s, a grist mill was built above the falls to utilize this water power for grinding grain.
Conkle’s Hollow – is a rugged, rocky gorge – considered one of the deepest in Ohio. The hollow was named for W.J. Conkle who left his name and the date 1797 carved into the sandstone on the west wall of the gorge.
Cantwell Cliffs – is an area that many visitors proclaim to be the most picturesque in Hocking County, and at 17 miles from Old Man’s Cave its remote location discourages visitation, but those who travel the extra distance will not be disappointed. A unique feature of the area is the number of concretions that occur on the cliff face. Concretions occur where the cementing agent, iron oxide, has been concentrated to such an extent that the sandstone has been discolored to a dark reddish-brown.
The Rock House– is unique in the Hocking Hills’ region, as it is the only true cave in the park. It is a tunnel-like corridor situated midway up a 150-foot cliff of Blackhand sandstone. This House of Rock has a ceiling 25 feet high while the main corridor is 200 feet long and 20 to 30 feet wide.