Old Man’s Cave – Hocking Hills Ohio

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If you are planning to visit Hocking Hills, Old Mans Cave is one trail you definitely need to do. It is, without a doubt, the best hiking trail in Hocking Hills.

It has waterfalls, a recess cave, stone bridges, concrete bridges, even a bathtub!

Bring your child or your dog because Old Mans Cave in Hocking Hills Ohio is perfect for both.

Since Hocking Hills State Park re-opened in July, 2020, the trails are one way. In fact, they plan on making this a permanent change. Signage is clear and tells you where to begin your hike.

Hiking Old Mans Cave is a moderately rated 1 – 1.5 mile hike depending on where you exit. I thought it was pretty easy, but there are quite a few steps – maybe that’s what makes it a moderate rank. In addition, there are several connector trails to take from here if you’d like. We’ll discuss those later in the post.

Let’s get into the park details!

Stone and wooden 2 story building in background with a sign in front reading Welcome to Old Man's Cave Hocking Hills State Park
Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center

Old Man’s Cave Hocking Hills, Ohio – Directions

Coming from Cleveland, the route I take is around 3 hours, depending on traffic within Columbus (I like taking the 270 bypass):

  • 71 South to Columbus
  • 270 East toward Wheeling
  • US 33 East to Lancaster
  • Exit OH 664 South

From downtown Columbus, it’s only about an hour to Hocking Hills.

  • 71 South
  • to 70 East toward Wheeling
  • US 33 East to Lancaster
  • Exit OH 664 South

From Cincinnati is slightly less than two and half hours:

  • 71 North
  • Take Exit 65 to US 35 towards Washington Court House 
  • Take OH-104 exit to OH-207
  • At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto OH-159
  • At the traffic circle, take the 1st exit onto OH-180 E
  • Turn right onto OH-56 East
  • Go straight to continue on OH 664 North

Old Man’s Cave address:

19852 State Route 664 Logan, OH 43138

GPS: 39.437176, -82.539667

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Parking at Old Man’s Cave

The parking lot easily holds 100 cars, although I didn’t count!

It is a nicely paved lot right in front of the new Hocking Hills Visitor Center. Much larger than at Ash Cave.

We arrived quite early on a summer morning around 8:15 and there were less than 10 cars parked.

Old Man’s Cave Visitor Center

Stone and wooden two-story structure with the words Hocking HIlls State Park in the middle of the building
Hocking Hills Visitor Center

This visitor center is amazing! Opened in the summer of 2019, it’s 8500 square feet of knowledge and history of the area. Plus, a 5000 square foot verandah.

Interactive exhibits help visitors learn about the geographical nature of Hocking Hills, in addition to helping plan visits to all areas of the state park.

Learn about the various trails and safety considerations for your stay.

There’s even an indoor cave to give a unique one-of-a-kind perspective about the area’s gorges.

Stop here either before or after your hike to use the restrooms or fill up your water bottle at the filling stations. There’s even a small gift shop if you want to take home a souvenir.  Use the Visitor Information Desk to get any questions answered or to pick up trail maps before you head out.

Young girl walking across a wooden and stone bridge on a dirt trail in a forest
Entering the one-way trail to Old Man’s Cave

Upper Falls

Unless you need to stop at the Visitor’s Center first, the beginning of the trail starts on a path in front of the parked cars and to the left.

The first natural beauty you come to on Old Man’s Cave trail is the Upper Falls.

Our hike was in the summer so the ‘falls’ were more like a ‘trickle’ at this point. However, it was still gorgeous and worth going down the path to get the shot in the picture below.

These waterfalls drop into a stream that meanders its way through a variety of recessed caves and rock formations. Due to this, we get the breathtakingly beautiful views we see today while hiking through the Hocking Hills region.

Rock structure supporting a small waterfall into a pond below it with green trees all around.
Upper Falls

Take the side trail to the sandy bottom of the waterfall and take a look at one of the many Hocking Hills caves you’ll see in this region.

In the middle of a forest with many tall green trees and a sandstone recess cave
Cave next to Upper Falls

Devil’s Bathtub

The sandstone in the rock known as Devil’s Bathtub is tightly cemented together. Because of the direction of the stream, the only place for it to go is down. This is what creates the oval bowl shaped like a bathtub.

Can you swim in Devil’s Bathtub Hocking Hills?

Although it may look like a great place for a cool dip in the water, no, you are not allowed to swim in Devil’s Bathtub. 

In fact, with the tub being several feet deep, it is actually almost impossible to get out of. There is no swimming or wading allowed due to it being dangerous, prohibited and possibly cause wildlife damage.

Stone bridge with a dirt trail overlooking a recessed smooth cave filled with water
Devil’s Bathtub at the base of the stone bridge
Close up view of a smooth oval hold carved into concrete holding water
Close up of Devil’s Bathtub

Old Mans Cave Trail

As mentioned before, this is a one-way trail of moderate intensity. I love this trail because there are interesting twists and turns to it. Don’t forget to wear your best-hiking boots.

Whether that’s climbing up steps, climbing down steps through a tunnel, walking on concrete stepping stones over shallow water or walking across stone bridges, there was something different at every turn.

It was not boring at all!

That’s what makes it my favorite Hocking Hills hiking trail.

Here’s a link to an Old Man’s Cave trail map, as well as the other trails within Hocking Hills State Park.

Young girl walking up concrete steps on a path through the forest
Hiking the trail
Dirt hiking trail lined with large rocks and a rope barrier surrounded by tall green trees
Walking towards Old Man’s Cave
Concrete bridge of individual steps across a shallow pond in a forest
Unique concrete stepping stones
Narrow concrete steps surrounded by concrete walls on a trail in the forest
Narrow rock formations

Old Man’s Cave

The recess of Old Man’s Cave is the most exquisite and unique feature in this park.

It sits 75 feet above the stream and measures 250 feet long.

Legend has it a recluse named Richard Rowe lived in this recess along with his two dogs in the 1800’s. Because of this, people started calling it Old Man’s Cave.

From the trail, cross over the bridge to get to the stone steps leading up to the cave, walk through it and come out the other side. The scenery leading up to the cave is the prettiest in the whole park.

Light colored rock of concrete steps peering out at a bridge and a dirt trail in a forest
View from Old Man’s Cave
Recessed cave rock formation with a river below it and stone steps leading to it
The Cave

Exit the cave, hike up some steps and find the end of Olds Man Cave trail. This is the first exit point and you will have hiked 1 mile. You’ll be led to the back of the Visitor Center which you pass and then see the parking lot in front of you.

Exiting from Old Man’s Cave

Lower Falls

If you did not turn-off to explore Old Man’s Cave by crossing the bridge, the path continues on to the Lower Falls. At this point, you are on the Grandma Gatewood Trail.

While not as popular as the Upper Falls due to their location, these falls are less crowded and definitely worth a look.

Just so you are aware, this path adds a half-mile to your trail hike.

The Lower Falls are another 25-foot drop into a large pool at the bottom. From here, climb up wooden and stone steps to exit the gorge and make your way toward the back of the Visitor’s Center.

Waterfall pouring over a rock structure into a pool of water with green trees around it
Lower Falls

Old Man’s Cave Connector Trails

It’s really hard to even begin to explain all the connector trails. If you plan to do more serious hiking, I suggest you stop in at the Visitor Center Information desk and pick up some Hocking Hills trail maps or even talk to someone about it.

However, let me at least mention a couple of places you can venture from the Old Man’s Cave trail.

Take a look at the picture below showing you how several of the popular Hocking Hills parks are intertwined.

For the die-hard adventurous, take the trail all the way to Ash Cave. It’s a 6-mile one-way hike, however, there is no return transportation unless you leave a car there.

You could also take the Buckeye Trail or the Gorge Trail over to Cedar Falls. This is a 6-mile loop. If interested, the folks at TrekOhio give a great description and directions. I, personally, have not done this, but it does look amazing.

Next time I am in the area, I plan to do the Hemlock Bridge Trail and see Whispering Cave. This is one of the newest trails in Hocking Hills with a 105-foot waterfall there to greet you. 

Picture of a trail map in Hocking Hills OH
Hocking Hills State Park trails

Hocking Hills State Park

Even as an Ohio native, 2020 is the first year I’ve been to Hocking Hills. Really, I don’t know why I waited so long! If you are looking for a great hiking area, you definitely need to come here.

As part of the Hocking Hills State Park, there are 6 parks and 2 nature preserves:

Please note that dogs are not allowed in the nature preserves, but they are allowed in other areas of the State Park.

Where to Stay in Hocking Hills

If you are looking for a large name-brand hotel chain, you won’t find any here. While there are a few small motels nearby in Logan, OH, you want to get the classic experience by staying in a log cabin.

Ever wanted to try a treehouse? Yep, they have them here! Click here to connect to VRBO and search for your treehouse in Hocking Hills.

Most cabins have private hot tubs, outdoor areas for grilling or sitting around a fire pit. A cabin is perfect whether you want an intimate place for two or several bedrooms to keep the kids sleeping in a different room.

 We loved Sandstone Ridge with Carefree Cabins in Hocking Hills. Absolutely recommend it for parties of up to four people.


Want to see this in a web story? Click here to see the Old Man’s Cave story.

Old Man’s Cave Hocking Hills Summary

As one of the best trails in the state, Old Man’s Cave Hocking Hills is one you definitely don’t want to miss. Whether you like waterfalls, recessed caves or just gorgeous scenery, you will find it all right here.

Have you hiked Old Mans Cave in Ohio? If so, what is your favorite trail in Hocking Hills State Park? I can’t wait to go back and check out some more!

Save this for your next hiking experience! Please PIN it!

Young girl walking across a wooden and stone bridge on a dirt trail in a forest

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  1. Can’t I get printable pamphlets?

    1. Christine Zelina says:

      Hi Chuck, Thanks for reading! Unfortunately, I do not have any pamphlets as I am blogger that loves to go to Hocking Hills, therefore I am not associated with the state park. For the sake of privacy, I deleted your address. Please contact Hocking Hills State Park to see if they have what you need. Thank you!