Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park
Man's Cave is part of the Hocking Hills
State Park near Logan, Ohio. The cave is one
of Ohio's most popular natural history
Old Man's Cave is located in a gorge of
Black Hand Sandstone. Thousands of years of
erosion, principally caused by glaciations
and Salt Creek, which flows through the
gorge, resulted in the cave. Sandstone is a
very porous substance and much more
susceptible to erosion than many other types
of rocks. While Old Man's Cave is relatively
small, the gorge, itself, extends for
approximately one-half mile. The gorge also
reaches a depth of approximately 150 feet at
its deepest point. Various forms of plant
life, most notably hemlock, black birch, and
Canadian yew, thrive in the gorge.
According to legend, Richard Rowe lived at
least briefly in the cave beginning in 1796.
He had migrated to Ohio with his family from
the Cumberland Mountains in Tennessee. He
eventually settled in the Hocking Hills, and
he is purportedly buried in the cave. As a
result of Rowe's occupancy of the cave,
locals named the structure "Old Man's Cave."
exists that various groups occupied Old
Man's Cave well before Rowe arrived.
Archaeologists have documented that Indians
visited the region perhaps as long as seven
thousand years ago. The Shawnee, the
Wyandot, and the Delaware Indians all
occupied the area at various times in the
1600s and 1700s. Rowe also might not have
even been the first white man to visit the
cave. It appears that two brothers,
Nathaniel and Pat Rayon, arrived in 1795.
They built a cabin near Old Man's Cave, and
it is rumored that they are buried either in
the cave or nearby it.
In 1924, the State of Ohio purchased 146
acres of land in the Hocking Hills. This
purchase included Old Man's Cave. First
owned and operated by the Ohio Department of
Forestry, in 1949, the Ohio Department of
Natural Resources and the Ohio Division of
Parks assumed control of Old Man's Cave.
Old Man's Cave Trail Map (pdf.)
Old Man's Cave Campsites/ Camping (pdf.)