When winter rolls into southeastern Ohio most people would grab their favorite quilt, crack open a good book and curl up in front of a good fire. However each January in Hocking Hills State Park brings on the biggest event of the year, the annual “Winter Hike” that runs the six mile trek from Old Man’s Cave to Ash cave.
Started in 1965 by the then Chief Naturalist for the Ohio division of Parks and Recreation, Norv Hall, the first hike included some 80 people that braved the cold and wind to see the many beautiful ice formations and frozen waterfalls. One very famous individual known as Emma Rowena Caldwell (Grandma Gatewood) graced that first winter hike and went on to help lead the winter hike over the next 13 years. Grandma Gatewood, born in 1887, is famous for being the first person to walk the entire Appalachian Trail at the age of 70 years! She often proclaimed that her favorite trail was the trail that went from Old Man’s Cave to Ash Cave and as such this trail was latter renamed the “Grandma Gatewood Trail” in her honor.