Ohio Department of Natural Resources’Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park
Credit: Ohio Department of Natural Resources
19852 State Route 664 South
Logan, OH 43138Website
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Situated in the southern region of Hocking Hills State Park, Ash Cave is the largest recess cave in the state, measuring 700 feet from end to end. It was formed as a result of the erosion-resistant Blackhand Sandstone. The one-fourth-mile narrow gorge approaching Ash Cave boasts multiple varieties of hardwoods and wildflowers leading directly into the cave’s overhang at nearly 90 feet high. Adding to the picturesque view is the small waterfall created by East Fork Queer Creek. Named for the massive piles of ashes found in the location by early settlers, it is believed Native Americans used the cave for shelter and that the ashes resulted from their campfires.
The Nature Conservancy has long recognized the Hocking Hills region for its rich biological diversity as well as the size and quality of its forest habitat. In 1999 the Conservancy acquired 200 acres in Hocking Hills and shortly thereafter transferred ownership of the land to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Why it Matters
The rugged topography of the Hocking Hills region has given rise to exceptionally rich and diverse plant and animal communities. Here, extensive forests offer refuge to one of the most diverse assemblages of breeding birds in Ohio, including 120 nesting species—22 of which are warblers. Rare plant communities like skunk cabbage seeps, sedge meadows and sandstone outcrops are embedded throughout the landscape along with globally rare plants such as northern monkshood and small whorled pogonia.
Part of Hocking Hills State Park, Ash Cave is an important historical landmark. Native Americans treated the space as a workshop to prepare meals, craft weapons and skin game. Later, it provided shelter to travelers migrating along the Indian Trail between the Shawnee villages of the Kanawha River region and the Scioto River at Chillicothe. It was also a resting place for captured prisoners being transferred by way of the Trail during the frontier wars. In more recent years it has served as a meeting place for locals, the Pulpit Rock landmark making an appropriate prop for Church services.
Natural Treasures Landmark
Join hundreds of others who have chronicled their adventures! Take a picture of yourself at Pulpit Rock at Ash Cave entrance and upload it to our site
Fun Things to Do and See
While on the hunt for the landmark, enjoy the abundant adventures this Ohio treasure has to offer. The thrill of nature can be experienced at any level!
- Take the paved, beech tree-lined Gorge Trail one-fourth of a mile to view the massive Ash Cave. While there, test the abilities of the whispering gallery.
- Visit Ash Cave by way of the half-mile Rim Trail. Be on the lookout for the vast array of wildflowers the trail has to offer. Can you spot the leaves of the jewelweed?
- After exploring the spacious interior of Ash Cave, take the connected six-mile hike along the Grandma Gatewood Trail to the famed Old Man’s Cave and see how it compares.