The Devil’s Bathtub sounds a bit suspicious up front, but there is quite a history behind this unique and special place in Hocking Hills. The name for Devil’s Bathtub comes from a pool that froths along the streambed in the trail known as Old Man’s Cave. Accessible to many trail walkers and hikers, the Devil’s Bathtub is a famous geological feature sure to impress visitors of all ages.
What is the Devil’s Bathtub?
Don’t expect a typical waterfall. The shape is formed as stream water from nearby waterfalls slides down into a pool in a hollowed out sandstone bowl. Devil’s Fork Creek flows right through into the tub. Not to be outdone by other waterfalls, Devil’s Bathtub in Hocking Hills swirls, rotates, and moves in a turbulent swift motion down to the pool basin and then empties out in the lower falls section of the cave. Just don’t get caught trying to hitch a ride. Although beautiful, it can be dangerous and is only for viewing purposes. Hiker’s have fallen in and gotten hurt so be careful when taking in views of the falls, especially if crossing over the footbridge.
History of Devil’s Bathtub
Various stories have been written and changed over time regarding the name’s origin. More than 300 million years ago, it started with a shallow sea covering what is now Ohio. Over those millions of years, streams carved out gorges from sandstone. One stream was Devil’s Fork of Old Man’s Creek by early settlers. Unlike most waterfalls, the Black Hand sandstone at Devil’s Bathtub Hocking Hills has eroded into a natural bowl shape, giving it a unique feature. The water then glides on down and hits the bottom of the pool, swirling and foaming all the way to the lower falls below.
Location of Devil’s Bathtub
Hocking Hills State Park boasts this beautiful feature, just 0.1 miles south of the Grandma Gatewood trail, south of Upper Falls at Old Man’s Cave. When driving from Cleveland, expect about a 3 hour trip, 2 hours from Cincinnati and roughly an hour’s drive to the park from Columbus.
Devil’s Bathtub Trails
Visiting the Devil’s Bathtub is easier than you think. Start at Grandma Gatewood trail near the Upper Falls parking lot. Head south for 0.1 miles to reach Devil’s Bathtub. Heading into the trail, check out a few other features along the way. Continue past the Bathtub towards Sphinx Head and Lower Falls. This ancient gorge attracts lots of visitors for its beautiful trees and wildlife. Expect a 2 mile hike all around for this combined trip.
A Trip for All Seasons
The Hocking Hills is open to visitors all year round. Every season offers something different at Devil’s Bathtub. In winter, snow glistens and waterfalls form icy cascades. Blossoms in spring and growth of trees and wildlife in summer make it a great place to visit any time of year. Autumn is especially charming for visitors who want to come in cooler weather to see autumnal colors. The waterfall is at its peak with waterflow late winter/early spring after snow melts and rain pours down easily.
A visit to Devil’s Bathtub will bring delight and wonder to visitors of all ages. Check with Hocking Hills Visitor’s Center for more information on trail accessibility and help with any questions.