Ash Cave is certainly one of the most breathtaking natural wonders of the Hocking Hills region, and one of the easier hikes. It is one of the 7 major hiking trails in Hocking Hills State Park, located in Southeastern Ohio about an hour SE of Columbus on Route 33 in Hocking County.
Tucked away in the southernmost stretch of Hocking, Ash Cave is the biggest recess cave east of the Mississippi River with a horseshoe-shaped rim that spans 700 feet across. The cave measures 100 feet from the rear cave wall to the front rim that towers 90 feet overhead.
A small tributary of the East Fork of Queer Creek, which created Ash Cave over many centuries, still cascades over the rim into a small pool below. This seasonal waterfall flows the strongest in the early spring when the snow is melting, but can also be seen in the autumn and winter months, sometimes forming a massive ice mountain on the cave floor during the coldest months.
The approach to Ash Cave follows a wheelchair-friendly asphalt path from the parking lot to the main cave through a narrow cliff-wall gorge lined with sizable beech and hemlock trees. The valley floor offers brilliant displays of wildflowers in all seasons including large flowered trillium, Dutchman’s breeches, trout lily, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, and jewelweed.
From the primary cave, hikers may continue up a series of wooden steps to the rim trail that winds back to the parking or turn back and follow the path the way you came. The rim trail also connects to a 2.3 mile hike to Cedar Falls, marked with signs. Well-behaved pets are permitted on a leash and hikers are advised to stay on the marked trails. Wading or swimming is not allowed in the waterfalls or creeks. Restrooms and picnic facilities are offered adjacent to the parking lot.
HIKE ASH CAVE
The Hocking Hills State Park system includes Ash Cave, Old Man's Cave, Rock House, Conkle's Hollow, Cedar Falls, Cantwell Cliffs, and Whispering Cave Trail. Each offers something truly unique and wonderful, with over 25 miles of one-way looped trail systems that are open to the public year-round from dawn to dusk. From forested trails to massive natural rock formations, the Hocking Hills region is a breathtaking gem hidden in the upper Appalachian Basin for all to visit and enjoy.
Download a Trail Map for Ash Cave and enjoy this relaxing walk in nature.
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