Hocking Hills Tourism Association
Hocking Hills: What To Do
Hocking Hills: What To Do

Ash Cave


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, Ash Cave was used by the Shawnee 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 experience Ohio 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 " Ash Cave" 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 past.

The Indian Salt Trail, from the Pickaway Plains to the salt springs where Jackson, Ohio is located, entered Hocking County near the Perry and Good Hope 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 Ash Cave. 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.

The Ash Cave 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 black bear.

Ash 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 in Hocking Hills State Park.

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


Historical Areas

 

Hocking Hills State Park

Old Man’s Cave

Cedar Falls

The Rock House

Cantwell Cliffs

Conkle’s Hollow

Tar Hollow

Lake Logan