Old Man's Cave


Upper Falls

Lower Falls

In early 1800's Richard Rowe took up residence in a large recess cave in southern Ohio that is now known as Old Man's Cave. Nearly 200 years later his home has become the heart of Hocking Hills State Park, one of the most popular state parks in the area, receiving millions of visitors a year. This wild hermit's refuge is now the location of the visitor center, with the obligatory gift and snack shop, and a modern campground with a swimming pool. I am not sure what the Old Man would have thought of all this, but I can hazard a guess. The gorge that he loved remains pretty much the same however.

The gorge trail is only about a 1/2 mile long. There are four different sets of stairs that lead into the gorge. To see the entire length of the gorge, start at the east end, where you will find the Upper Falls. This waterfall is about 15 feet high. Above this waterfall are some smaller drops. Like all the creeks in the area, this one gets pretty thin in summer.

The trail continues down the gorge. The creek has carved out interesting shapes and caves in the rocks. A minor fall tumbles into the gorge on the right, but it is only a trickle in late spring.

The trail continues down the gorge, crossing bridges, before going down a set of stone steps and through a tunnel. Another bridge takes you to the Old Man's Cave. This is a recess cave and does not provide a lot of privacy, although the sandy floor indicates that it stays dry. Personally if I had a choice of where to live I would choose the Rock House.

You can leave the gorge at Old Man's Cave and head up to the visitor center or continue down to the lower falls. Here Old Man's Creek drops another 25 feet into a large pool. The trail then makes a spectacular exit from the gorge, climbing up a series of stone and wooden stairs, passing underneath a seasonal waterfall, and then up through a tunnel to the rim.

The gorge trail is very popular and can be rather crowded. If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous and secluded, there is a 2 mile trail from the lower falls to Cedar Falls. This trail follows Old Man's Creek down to its confluence with Queer Creek, and then follows Queer Creek up to the falls. It is a very pretty hike, with a lot of variety and is considered to be one of the best hikes in the park. Along the way it passes some seasonal waterfalls such as Whispering Falls. If you continue hiking another three miles past Cedar Falls you will reach Ash Cave.

Nearby Falls

The Hocking Hill area is full of seasonal waterfalls. If you visit in early Spring you will likely find dozens of waterfalls. If you visit in late summer you might find none at all. Cedar Falls and Ash Cave Falls are both a short drive, or a good hike, away. Back towards Logan you can find the small but interesting Rockbridge Falls.


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Last Modified: Thursday, 24-Sep-2009 18:40:57 MDT.

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