Types of Caves
- Solution caves are formed in carbonate and sulfate rocks such as limestone, dolomite, marble, and gypsum by the action of slowly moving ground water that dissolves the rock to form tunnels, irregular passages, and even large caverns along joints and bedding planes. Most of the caves in the world-as well as the largest-are of this type.
- Lava caves are tunnels or tubes in lava formed when the outer surface of a lava flow cools and hardens while the molten lava within continues to flow and eventually drains out through the newly formed tube.
- Sea caves are formed by the constant action of waves which attacks the weaker portions of rocks lining the shores of oceans and large lakes. Such caves testify to the enormous pressures exerted by waves and to the corrosive power of wave-carried sand and gravel.
- Glacier or Ice caves are formed by melt water which excavates drainage tunnels through the ice. Of entirely different origin and not to be included in the category of glacier caves are so-called "ice caves," which usually are either solution caves or lava caves within which ice forms and persists through all or most of the year.
- Recess caves or overhangs - This kind of cave is usually an opening above the ground that is carved out by centuries of water and wind erosion. These caves are usually found in another type of rock called sandstone.
Ash Cave is the most spectacular feature of the Park
Ash Cave is the largest, most impressive cave in the state. Carved by water erosion in the Blackhand sandstone, this spectacular area of Hocking Hills State Park offers spectacular scenery. The path to Ash Cave is a narrow gorge lined with stately trees. The path displays wildflowers in all seasons including lily, trillium, Dutchman's breeches, Jack-in-the-Pulpit and jewelweed. The trail through the gorge is one-fourth mile in length. You will be overwhelmed at the beauty of this area in any season. You can feel a overwhelming sense of the past. You may sense the presence of the ancient Indian tribes. You can almost visualize the Indians as they cooked and sheltered themselves here.
Ash Cave History
One of your tasks is to find out why this cave is called "Ash Cave".
Recent uses of Ash Cave were for camp and township meetings. The large boulder / block at the cave's entrance served as the pulpit for Sunday worship service until a local church could be built. Weddings are often held here.
Park Facilities & Hours
Picnic facilities, shelter house and restrooms are offered adjacent to the parking lot. The restrooms and trail leading to Ash Cave are wheelchair accessible.
PARK CLOSES AT DUSK
Trail to the Top
The horseshoe-shaped cave is massive; measuring 700 feet from end to end, 100 feet deep from the rear cave wall to its front edge with the rim rising 90 feet. A small tributary c ascades over the rim into a small plunge pool below seasonally. The best waterfalls are during spring. Ash cave was formed by the middle layer of the Blackhand sandstone being weathered or eroded while the more resistant upper and lower zones have remained intact.