Ash Cave — the largest recess cave in Ohio— is perhaps the most awe-inspiring feature of Hocking Hills State Park. With a horseshoe-shaped rim that spans 700 feet, Ash Cave is, in a word, enormous and open on one side. It measures 100 feet from front to back and 90 feet from the rim's edge to the floor below. Adding to the dramatic visual impact of Ash Cave is a waterfall that cascades over the rim of the cave. Those lucky enough to visit Ash Cave during an especially cold winter may enjoy a rare treat, as the Ash Cave waterfall has been known to freeze from top to bottom. Another notable sight for this Ohio cave is located at the entrance to Ash Cave. Here your will find Pulpit Rock, a slump rock that once served as a temporary pulpit for worship services held at the cave. Having remarkable acoustics,
used by the
and other Indian tribes as a temporary shelter and as a meeting room. Parts of
the cave are still known as whispering galleries.
Visitors may hike along two short trails at Ash Cave: the quarter-mile Ash Cave Gorge Trail and the half-mile Ash Cave Rim trail. A stretch of trail leading from the parking lot to Ash Cave is wheelchair-accessible. Hikers may enter the Grandma Gatewood Trail — a six-mile section of Ohio's Buckeye Trail — near the cave itself. Hikers looking for Ohio caves would be hard-pressed to find a more worthy destination for their adventure.
Ash Cave is the southernmost of six natural areas that comprise Hocking Hills State Park, and is a must see for all visitors looking to
caves. The cave is located off of S.R. 56. Picnic facilities are available near the Ash Cave parking lot. A shelter may be reserved.
The name "
came from the large ash piles that were found by the earliest settlers. In 1837
it was estimated that there remained 300 to 400 bushels of clean ashes "as
dry as they were on the day they were burned." Test excavations of the
ashes in 1877 revealed arrows, sticks, stalks of coarse grasses, flints, bits
of pottery and corn cobs. Found in later excavations were bones of elk, black
bear, skunk, deer, wild duck, rabbit, box tortoise, passenger pigeon, squirrel,
wild turkey and wildcat; all of which were a part of the food supply for the
Indians. To this day, no one knows the reason for the ashes; however, it is
speculated that the ashes are leftovers from Indian campfires of centuries
The Indian Salt
Trail, from the Pickaway Plains to the salt springs where
Ohio is located, entered
County near the Perry and
Townships line. It passed
by Cantwell Cliffs, Rock House, Old Man’s Cave, Cedar Falls and Ash Cave. It
was about 100 miles from one end of the trail to the other. The visitor walks
along part of this trail from the parking lot to
The Indian salt workers would walk from their villages to the salt springs,
where they would set up a salt camp. It took several days of grueling work to
evaporate the salt water. The workers would then load the dry salt onto their
backs and trudge the 100 miles back home.
trail has been used by man in a recreational and commercial way for centuries.
It was a communications link between Indian villages, as well as a hunting
trail for the Indian tribes who came to this area for elk, buffalo, deer and
Cave is the largest shelter cave of all
Ohio caves. Everyone who
sees it is overwhelmed by its grandeur, and they vow to return to the historic
Ash Cave Fees
Admission to Hocking Hills State Park is free.
Ash Cave Hours
Day-use areas of Hocking Hills State Park open half an hour before sunrise and close half an hour after sunset. The park is available for recreational use year-round; making Ash Cave one of the premier Ohio caves to visit.
Ash Cave Contact Information
Hocking Hills State Park
19852 State Route 664 S.
Logan, OH 43138
Park Office: (740) 385-6842
Hills State Park