About the Conkle's Hollow
About 350 million years ago, this portion of Ohio lay under the waters of
a vast inland ocean. Rivers flowing into this ancient sea carried coarse and
fine grained sands, depositing them in large wide deltas much like the
present day delta at the mouth of the Mississippi River. Over millions of
years, these sand deltas were buried by finer textured silt and clay
sediments. Eventually these sedimentary deposits were compressed to form a
thick hard layer of sandy textured rock, now referred to as Black Hand
Great forces of energy within the earth caused the land surface to
gradually rise, eventually forming the present Appalachian Mountains. As the
ocean waters drained away, the new land surface dried out and became subject
to the erosional processes of surface water and climatic extremes.
The newly exposed sediments were weathered away, layer by layer, and
washed onto some distant river delta. Today Black Hand sandstone layers are
the uppermost of these past sediments and they in turn are being acted upon
by erosional forces.
Conkle's Hollow was purchased in 1925 by the state of Ohio in order to
preserve its scenic beauty. In 1977, the site was dedicated as a state
24858 Big Pine Rd
Rockbridge, OH 43149
HockingHills.com - Great site for
finding available lodging and activities.
Conkle's Hollow is a gorge. Water slowly eroded away Blackhand Sandstone,
creating the ravine. Sandstone is a very porous substance and much more
susceptible to erosion than many other types of rocks. Cliffs, standing
approximately two hundred feet in height, surround three sides of Conkle's
Hollow. Near the end of the ravine, the cliffs are only three hundred feet
apart. Plant life, including hemlock and birch trees and various types of
wildflowers, thrive in the gorge.
Conkle's Hollow is named after W.J. Conkle, an early visitor to the
ravine. In 1797, Conkle carved his name into the west side of the cliff.
According to legend, Indians once hid some money in a small opening on the
gorge's west wall. The natives had stolen the money from white settlers
rafting down the Ohio River. The opening was located high up on the cliff
wall. To reach it, the Indians had chopped down a tall hemlock tree and then
climbed up it, using it as a ladder, to hide the money. They then pushed the
tree to the ground, so it could not be used again. They chiseled an arrow,
which pointed to the money, on the gorge's eastern wall. The Indians
intended to use a second tree to reclaim the money, but a storm knocked the
tree down before the natives could return for the money. The money,
purportedly, has never been found. Many early settlers claimed to have seen
the arrow carving on the gorge's eastern wall, but it no longer remains
In 1924, the State of Ohio purchased 146 acres of land in the Hocking
Hills. This purchase formally established Hocking Hills State Park. The
State of Ohio eventually purchased additional land, including Conkle's
Hollow. First owned and operated by the Ohio Department of Forestry, in
1949, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Division of
Parks assumed control of Hocking Hills State Park.
"Conkle's Hollow", Ohio History Central, January 8, 2007,