Hocking Hills State Park is located about 60 miles southeast of Columbus, OH. It is a series of non-contiguous natural areas, many of which are beautiful alcoves and overhangs carved into shale and sandstone. The result is impressive waterfalls, gorges and vistas. We camped at the Top O’ The Caves campground. From there we were able to hike to Ash Cave, Cedar Falls and to the most popular spot in Hocking Hills, Old Man’s Cave.
With the objective of getting to San Antonio, we looked at the map and found that Sonora, TX, was more or less mid-way from Fort Stockton. And, as luck would have it, Sonora is home to the Caverns of Sonora. Are you sensing a theme here? So far on this trip we have visited Kartchner Caverns and Carlsbad Caverns.
The Caverns of Sonora is privately owned where Kartchner Caverns is an Arizona state park and Carlsbad Caverns is a National Park. With only about 3 miles of developed passages, the Caverns of Sonora is not the biggest or deepest cave system, it is impressive nonetheless.
Carlsbad Caverns has a large natural opening so it was just a matter of time before someone entered and explored the caves within. In this case it was James White in 1898 at 16 years old. He made numerous trips into the caves to explore and for many years he was the only person who knew his way around.
Kartchner Caverns, near Benson, Arizona, is a relatively recently discovered series of limestone caves. In 1974, two amateur cavers found a crack in the bottom of a sinkhole that was emitting warm moist air that smelled faintly of bat guano. They opened the crack to the width of a coat hanger and squeezed themselves through. What they discovered was well beyond their expectations.