03.07.21: Water over the falls

The same glacier that flattened much of Ohio is responsible for creating the Hocking Hills, one of the most geologically unique – and photogenic – areas in Ohio. 

A glacier left 

rocky scenery 

in Hocking Hills

A few times each year I’ll make a trip to the Hocking Hills in southeastern Ohio, about an hour’s drive from our house, to get some new landscape photographs.

It’s one of the best places in Ohio to see waterfalls, with a dozen or more available, depending on the time of year and the amount of recent rainfall.

One of my favorite waterfalls is the upper falls on Old Mans Cave trail. It’s usually the first waterfall I encounter when I’m starting my hike early in the morning, so there aren’t crowds of people hanging around. Plus, if there have been recent rains, the upper falls can actually have multiple waterfalls, as it did in this 2006 photo.

The Hocking Hills is a great area for photography. Its terrain is much different from the mostly flat land in other areas of Ohio. Blame it on the Wisconsin glacier that covered Ohio from 85,000 to 11,000 years ago. It flattened the area, but southeastern Ohio (about an hour’s drive from my house) was outside the glaciation of the ice age and remained ruggedly hilly and forested.

The same glacier that flattened much of Ohio is responsible for creating the Hocking Hills, one of the most geologically unique – and photogenic – areas in Ohio. The ruggedly hilly section of southeastern Ohio features gorges, cliffs, caves and waterfalls created when torrents of water from the melting glacier rushed through that area.

According to Wikipedia: “When the glacial torrents found cracks in the hard capstone, the water poured through to flush out the soft middle layer. This left long tunnels where the gorges are today. Eventually, the weight of the tops caused them to come crashing down. The ‘slump rocks’ in the gorges today are what’s left of the hard top layer. In just a few centuries, the rushing waters of the glacier carved the soft middle layer of sandstone into the myriad dimples and wrinkles that decorate the cliffs and grottos today.”

The waterfalls, deep, rocky gorges and towering, forested hills make Hocking Hills State Park one of my favorite areas for photography. It’s worth the trip.

Old Man’s Cave Trail, where I found this scene, is named for a hermit who lived in the large recess cave in the gorge around 1800. It’s a beautiful gorge that features several large waterfalls, a series of rapids and small waterfalls and the gigantic cave that gave the park its name. The cave is located on a vertical cliff about 75 feet above the stream and measures 50 feet high, 200 feet long and 75 feet deep. The trail, like others in the region, is filled with large slump rocks in and around the stream.

Upper falls on the Old Mans Cave trail, Hocking Hills, Logan, Ohio.

Upper falls on the Old Mans Cave trail, Hocking Hills, Logan, Ohio.

Tech specs

  • Date/time: Jul 1, 2006 8:35 AM   
  • Camera: Canon EOS 20D
  • Lens: Canon EF 28-135 
  • Focal length: 47mm
  • Aperture: f/13
  • Shutter: 1/2 second
  • ISO: 100