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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrThe weathering of Ash Cave has made it a marvel that can't truly be appreciated in photos. Found at the southernmost edge of Hocking Hills State Park in southwest Ohio, Ash Cave is undoubtedly one of the main attractions when visiting this part of Ohio.
Geology and WildlifeThe cave itself was formed due to an interesting weathering process. The cave boasts densely packed sand and pebbles at the top and bottom, and Black Hand Sandstone in the center. The center of the cave has slowly weathered away, where the tops and bottoms have remained fairly unchanged. This led to the formation of the unique shape that makes Ash Cave stand out as a geologic wonder. Another feature of the cave is a waterfall that flows over the edge of rim. This waterfall is a small tributary of the East Fork Queer Creek that cascades about 27 meter down to the outer edge of the cave floor.
The wildlife near Ash Cave is also noteworthy. The area was recognized by the Natural Conservancy for its biological diversity. It is home to a wide variety of nesting birds, and even some globally rare plants such as northern monkshood . Flowers and wildlife vary from season to season, but there is always a variety of species to admire. Several varieties of hardwoods and wildflowers surround the cave.
Etymology and HistoryWhat reasons did those who named the cave have for choosing "Ash Cave"? Upon discovering Ash Cave, large mounds of ash were found, sheltered from the elements under the cave ceiling. These ash piles are almost undoubtedly left behind from hundreds of years of Native Americans taking advantage of this ideal shelter from the elements. The largest ash pile was 30 meter long, 9 meter wide, and 0.9 meter deep.
Ash Cave is known to have been a stop along part of the Great Trail between Shawnee villages. This trail ran from the Kanawha region of West Virginia to Chillicothe, Ohio. This ideal shelter has been taken advantage of time after time for daily activities of the hunter-gatherer societies of the past, and the ash recovered here remains as a testament to this fact. In the more recent history of the cave, it has been used for various camp, town, and church meetings. It continues to be popular for such uses due to its large size and excellent acoustics. Also, a prominent rock feature, Pulpit Rock, is perfect for speaking in front of crowds of people.
How to Get ThereAsh Cave is located in the southern part of Hocking Hills State park. The official address is 19852 State Route 664, South, Logan, OH, 43138. It is in the southeast region of the state, and is fairly close to the city of Logan, Ohio. The closest main highway is Ohio State Route 56. While driving through the park, there are a number of signs to guide you to the various spots of interest.
VisitingAsh cave is open from dawn until dusk. The trail to the cave is not an intense hike, and there are picnic facilities and a parking lot nearby. A very nice feature of Ash Cave is that its trails and restrooms are both wheelchair accessible. However, a much more intense hike with a beautiful view along the rim of the cave is not wheelchair accessible. If able, it is a must-see! The cave itself is a sight to see, as is the small waterfall. Another interesting feature of the cave that makes the visit unique is that a couple parts of the cave serve as a whispering gallery. This is always a fun feature to experiment with while visiting.
Where to StayIn the area of Hocking Hills State Park there are some hotels in Chillicothe and Logan that are not too far away. Although, the closest options will be within the park. There are a variety of cabins that can be rented for families, friends, or romantic getaways. There are also several campgrounds available to stay at for though who prefer to "rough it".
Similar and Nearby LandmarksHocking Hills State Park has several features to visit in addition to Ash Cave. Some of the more popular spots to visit are Old Man’s Cave, Conkle’s Hollow, and Rock Bridge Falls. Also, the Olde Dutch Restaurant offers an Amish-inspired atmosphere in Logan, Ohio. This restaurant highlights the Amish lifestyle that much of Ohio is famous for. Other popular caves to visit are Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, and Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.
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Author: brendalyn.r. Last updated: Mar 24, 2015