About Old Man's Cave
Old Man’s Cave is one of Ohio’s most popular natural attractions, and is one of seven state parks of the Hocking Hills region. The cave is a natural formation, carved from a gorge by the flow of the Salt Creek and melting glaciers. While the cave is relatively small, the gorge runs 1/2 mile and reaches a depth of 150’. The area is marked by five distinct areas, including Upper Falls, Upper Gorge, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and Lower Gorge.
Old Man’s Cave is located just off Route 664 across from the parking lot at Hocking Hills State Park. For those interested in hiking the gorge, Grandma Gatewood Trail runs 5 miles from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave. Along the way visitors will enjoy fantastic rock formations such as Devil’s Bathtub and Sphinx Head.
Archaeologists have documented that Native Americans visited the Hocking Hills region thousands of years before European settlers came to Southeast Ohio.
The cave was given its name in the 1800s after Richard Rowe, a recluse who lived in the cave. Rowe moved from Tennessee to Ohio in the late 1700s with his family and two dogs. He was known to travel along the Scioto River in search of wild game, and it was during one of these trips he came across the Hocking Hills region. According to legend, Rowe’s final resting place is within the cave.
In 1924, the State of Ohio purchased 146 acres of land in Hocking Hills, including Old Man’s Cave. The park was owned and operated by the Ohio Department of Forestry until 1949, when the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Division of Parks assumed control of the cave. In 1975, brothers Nathan and Pat Rayon built a cabin near Old Man’s Cave and are believed to also be buried near the cave.