What You Need to Know About Old Man’s Cave

What is your favorite attraction in the Hocking Hills State Park? If you said Old Man’s Cave, you have a very popular opinion. As one of the most-visited areas of the park, you could spend hours exploring around it. Follow a trail through the cave and explore its surrounding rock structures, cliffs, and waterfalls, or spend the afternoon photographing wildlife. Discover even more attractions when you access our free Vacation Guide!

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Old Man's Cave historical markerHistory of the Cave

Who is the legendary old man of Old Man’s Cave? This cave derives its name from Richard Rowe, a hermit who lived under the rock shelter in the early 1800s. Rowe’s family moved to Ohio from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee He stumbled upon the Hocking Region while traveling along the Scioto River. Rowe lived out his life in the area, and legend says he is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave.

Nathaniel and Pat Rayon were even earlier residents of the cave. These brothers came to the area in 1795 and are also buried near the rock formation. Additionally, the cave served as a stopover for the Shawnee Native Americans on their route from West Virginia to villages along the Scioto River.

What Do I Need to Know?

Old Man’s Cave is a natural formation carved into a gorge by the flow of the Salt Creek and melting glaciers. While the cave is relatively small, the gorge runs for about a half mile and reaches a depth of roughly 150 feet. It’s marked by five distinct areas: Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and Lower Gorge. You can find the famed Devil’s Bathtub, a unique tiered waterfall, between the Upper Falls and Old Man’s Cave. For those interested in hiking through the gorge, Grandma Gatewood Trail runs five miles from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave.

Hiking at Old Man’s Cave

Old Man’s Cave is easy to get to from the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls! The Grandma Gatewood Trail starts at the Welcome Center and takes a relatively straight route through the gorge to Old Man’s Cave. The trail then continues to the Sphinx Head and Overlook rock formations. With plenty of man-made steps and bridges along the way, this route is an easy stroll for visitors of all ages. There are also alternate trails that offer more remote views of the area. If you continue along the six-mile Grandma Gatewood Trail, it will take you to Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. Print out this map to plan your route!

Old Man’s Cave Events

Hocking Hills Winter Hike

If you’re planning to visit Ohio in the winter, make plans to attend the annual Hocking Hills Winter Hike on the third Saturday in January. This guided, six-mile trek takes hikers from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls to Ash Cave. The hike features plenty of fascinating stories along the way. Bundle up, enjoy the walk, and indulge in a bean soup, cornbread, and hot chocolate provided by the Kiwanis of Logan.

Grandma Gatewood’s Fall Colors Hike

Every October, locals and visitors gather together to celebrate the season’s colors at Grandma Gatewood’s Fall Colors Hike. Guests meet a naturalist at the Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center for a strenuous hike on the Grandma Gatewood Trail. You’ll traverse the section that runs from Old Man’s Cave to Cedar Falls while enjoying the region’s incredible scenic beauty.

Book Your Getaway Today

Inn at Cedar Falls Rocking ChairsMake the Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls your home base for your adventures! Our expansive property is surrounded on three sides by the Hocking Hills State Park, so you will have easy access to all the experiences inside. Whether you want to see Old Man’s Cave for yourself or just want to take a leisurely stroll, the serenity of the forest is sure to clear your mind. Browse our variety of accommodations to start planning your stay. We look forward to seeing you!