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Cedar Falls - Hocking Hills State Park

A cache by RobJons Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/10/2007
1.5 out of 5
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Geocache Description:

Cedar Falls EarthCache  Hocking Hills State Park

Waypoint - Parking Area   39 25.090N 082 31.573W

Cedar Falls is among the most magnificent waterfalls in the Hocking Hills.  It is the largest waterfall in the Hocking Hills by water volume. A stream  tumbles over the face displaying the awesome force of waterpower that has etched this gorge through the Blackhand Sandstone for millions of years. Visible signs of erosion are seen throughout the park displaying beautiful rock formations. 

How are Waterfalls Made? 

  1. The short answer to how waterfalls get made is "slowly" 

  2. There are three main ways that a waterfall can get made. One is when a stream or river bed flows along it washes away the soft earth or rock from around harder rock. This is called erosion. If the softer rock is downstream from the harder rock it will erode the soft rock away and a waterfall will form.

  3. Another common way that waterfalls form is when a glacier - a very slow moving huge river of ice - grinds it’s way down a valley making the valley much bigger than it was. When smaller valleys that had been running into the glacier valley are left behind they empty any water that was flowing out of them into the air and a waterfall is formed.

  4. Sometimes in an earthquake a piece of land can be lifted up about the land around it. If there was a river flowing over that land an instant waterfall can form.



Forming Cedar Falls Water? Ice? or Earthquake? 


WATER? YES! Of the three main ways waterfalls are made, Cedar Falls was made by stream erosion cutting through the Blackhand sandstone of this region. The sandstone in the Park is layered like a sandwich. There is a harder top and bottom layer with the middle layer much softer. The water erodes the softer layers first. 

ICE? YES and NO   Glaciers in Ohio spaired the Southeastern part of the state, but as the glaciers rededed, the melt water created torrents of water that helped carve the gorges and create waterfalls in the park.

Earthquake? NO  The east coast had many earthquakes during the formation of the Appalachian Mountain plains. The State of Ohio has small earthquakes from time to time. This was not the case in the formation of Cedar Falls.


A History of How Black Hand Sandstone was Formed. 

  A warm shallow sea covered Ohio more than 350 million years ago and deposited this bedrock. Shifts in the Earth's crust uplifted the area and the sea drained away.  Varying layers were laid down ranging in composition and hardness. The top and bottom layers are much harder than the soft, loosely cemented middle zone. The gorge and waterfall at Cedar Falls are carved by erosion in the softer middle zone by water erosion of the upper tributary. 

No matter what time of year you visit, Cedar Falls is spectacular.  When the snows of winter melt in springtime, Cedar Falls begins flowing at full capacity. In winter you can see large ice formations.  In summer months, the falls slow down a bit. The breathtaking scenery near the Falls is well worth the trip.


Parking area has facilities – restrooms, picnic tables, and shelter house. Cedar Falls is not wheelchair accessible.  Be very cautious - Steep cliff area.  Stay on paths.  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.  

Getting There

Waypoint is to the Parking area. Begin here and hike the trail to the falls. There will be a steep elevation change. Trail is well marked.  Stairs will lead you to the packed rock and dirt path that follows the Creek to the Falls. Along your way you will pass two footbridges crossing the Creek. 

Map Found on "Friends of Hocking Hills" Webpage


Top O' The Falls

You may also want to view the top to better classify the Falls. You will have to drive to the top of the falls.  You cannot hike to the top. There is a Parking area above the Falls with a bridge and footpath to view the top.  A Gristmill was here many years ago.       



What Type of Waterfall is Cedar Falls?

Waterfall Classifications

Every waterfall is totally unique in it's own way, there are 10 general forms that a waterfall can assume. Most waterfalls exhibit more than one form.

Use this guide to classify Cedar Falls.  Classify the falls in one or more classification and describe aspects of the falls that lead you to this conclusion.


A waterfall in a Block form occurs over a wide breadth of the stream.  The waterfall must be wider than it is tall.  A waterfall with this form does not have to be a solid sheet of water across it's entire width.


A waterfall of a Cascade form descends over, gradually sloping rocks, a series of small steps in quick succession, or a rugged sloping surface of some kind.  Cascades can be both gradual and steep.


Curtain waterfalls occur along a wide breadth of stream where the falls must be taller than it is wide. A waterfall of this form often becomes narrower in low discharge periods.


Waterfalls of a Fan form occur when the breadth of the water in the waterfall increases during it's decent, causing the base of the falls to appear much wider than the top of the falls.


Horsetail waterfalls are characterized by the constant or semi-constant contact the water maintains with the bedrock as it falls.  Horsetail waterfalls can be almost vertical, as well as very gradual.


The classic and overly clichéd waterfall form, where the water drops vertically, losing most, or all contact with the rock face. This waterfall form has also been referred to as a "Cataract" and a "Vertical" form waterfall.


Punchbowl waterfalls, coined from the famous Punch Bowl Falls in Oregon, occur where the stream is constricted to a narrow breadth and is forcefully shot outward and downward into a large pool.


Segmented waterfalls occur where the stream is broken into two or more channels before descending over the cliff, causing multiple falls to occur side by side.


Similar to a cascade, a Slide type waterfall descends a smooth, gradual rock surface.  Slide waterfalls maintain constant contact with the bedrock, and are often seen in areas where granite rocks are common.


Tiered waterfalls are characterized by multiple distinct drops in relatively close succession to one another.  Whether or not a waterfall with two visible drops counts as a tiered waterfall is up to the beholder.  We typically require tiers to be visible together and within a given distance of each other.

       Your Educational Task

  1. Classify the waterfall using the chart above. Describe why you chose the classification(s).
  2. Visit the marker at the base of the falls and explain why the Falls were misnamed "Cedar" Falls.
  3. What creek tumbles over the Falls?
  4. Take a picture of yourself and post.

        Park Rules

  1. Stay on designated paths. Many plants and animals in the park are protected and endangered.
  2. Staying on the paths assures your own safety. Dangerous cliffs are all over the park.
  3. Dogs on leashes.
  4. Park Closes at Dusk
  • Special thanks to Chris Grupenhof, Assistant Park Manager


Additional Hints (No hints available.)



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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 12/20/2017 6:40:20 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (2:40 AM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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