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Old Man's Cave - Hocking State Park

A cache by RobJons Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 10/11/2007
1 out of 5
1.5 out of 5

Size: Size: not chosen (not chosen)

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Geocache Description:

Old Man’s Cave Earth Cache  


Coordinates are to the Visitor Center and Parking Area

You must hike the marked trails to see the rock formations.  


Old Man's Cave in Hocking Hills State Park has a magnificent gorge that has been carved through water erosion. Old Man's Creek has meandered through the gorge sculpting spectacular rock formations and water falls through the "Black Hand" sandstone of this region that was laid down millions of years ago by a shallow sea. Walk the trail through the gorge and you will see the power of  water erosion.  Must-see areas of the gorge is the Upper Falls & “Devils Bathtub”, Middle Falls, Lower Falls, and the “Sphinx Head”. The masterpiece of the gorge is Old Man's Cave itself, a large recessed cave 200 feet long, 50 feet high and 75 feet deep. 

The entire gorge in named after a hermit named Richard Rowe who lived here shortly after the Civil War. He reportedly made his home in this cave and remained there until his death.  

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 of Blackhand sandstone. Shifts in the Earth's crust uplifted the area and the sea drained away.  The sea deposited sediment of varying layers  ranging in composition and hardness. The top and bottom layers are much harder than the soft, loosely cemented middle zone. The recess cave and rock formations at Old Man's Cave are all carved by erosion in the softer middle zone. Millions of years  of shifting and  uplift of the Earth's crust along with stream erosion  helped create the recessed caves, waterfalls, and rock formations at Hocking Hills State Park.


Glaciers in Ohio

Two million years ago, temperatures plummeted and great ice sheets from Canadian moved south into Ohio. Glaciers advanced and retreated at least four times, plowing through 56 of Ohio's 88 counties sparing nearly all of Southeastern Ohio counties. The final retreat of the glacier was 13,000 years ago. Although the glacier itself did not advanced far enough to scuplt features in the park , as the ice from the glacier melted away, the tremendous surge of meltwater  helped to sculpt the formations by  erosion.



 Covered 2/3 of the State of Ohio

Hike The Trail

Along the half-mile length gorge of Old Man's Creek, the trail reveals the entire profile of the Black Hand sandstone formations. The natural attractions begin at the Upper Falls that plunge 40 feet into the "Devils Bath Tub". Follow the rapids to the Middle Falls, past the "Sphinx Head" and on to the Lower Falls that cascade 40 feet. Along the gorge trail, the streams elevation changes over 100 feet  in elevation.


Along the Path


Sphinx Head


Old Man's Creek



Lower Falls

YOUR TASK:  How did “Black Hand Sandstone” get its name?  

To complete the challenge you must:

  1. Visit the area and take some snapshots of you and the water erosion that has formed the area at Old Man’s Cave. 
  2. Tour the visitor center (seasonally) to find why the sandstone of this area is referred to as “Black Hand”. Or, do an Internet search to find your answer.
  3. Email the answer along with a picture of your visit.

 Your visit will be posted on review of correct answer and receipt of pictures.


Upper Falls in Winter



Be Cautious! Cliff Area

Stay on the marked trails. There are many steep, dangerous cliffs. Take extra caution with small children. There is no need to hike off the main trail to complete this geocache/earthcache.  The trails can be hazardous during rain and snow.

Day-use areas of Hocking Hills State Park open half an hour before sunrise and close half an hour after sunset. Follow the Parks rules and regulations.

The trails are open year round! Some even more spectacular in snowfall!  

Special Thanks to Chris Grupenhuf Asst. Park Manager of Ohio State Parks for his help developing this Earthcache.



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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 12/27/2017 1:45:40 PM (UTC-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada) (9:45 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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