The Olentangy Caverns are composed of incredibly twisting corridors and huge underground rooms that were formed millions of years ago by an underground river cutting through the limestone rock with amazing force. The Wyandot tribe is thought to have utilized these tunnels as a refuge from their enemy tribe the Delaware tribe, as well as adverse weather. They held tribal rites in one of the large rooms, which is today known as the “Council Chamber.” A massive rock table known as Council Table is located in this area.
A member of a westbound wagon train camped nearby in 1821 is said to have been the first resident to explore the caves. An ox got loose and walked away in the middle of the night. The ox was discovered dead at the bottom of the cave’s entrance the next morning. The man etched his name and the date on the wall after examining the entry. Although the engraving is still visible, it is obscured by flowstone.
Various Native American artifacts discovered in the tunnels suggest that Wyandots used this room to create tools and weapons until the early 1800’s. When the caves were rediscovered, the artifacts were collected and are on display at the museum on the grounds. The network of naturally formed corridors and caves over 3 levels is reached through concrete stairways that go down 55 feet.
On the second level you can find the Battleship Rock and The Crystal Room. Fat Man’s Misery is the name of the route that leads to the large Cathedral Hall and the Bell Tower Room, both of which are 105 feet below ground. Beyond that, there are corridors and rooms that are yet to be mapped because of the danger involved. There are also a few miles of unexplored tunnels. A fourth level has been partially explored but not opened to the public, where an underground river flows to the Olentangy River. A lake is known to exist underground made by the river, but the size is unknown because it has not been fully explored.
The caves are fully available to be toured on your own with a map, or you can join one of the hour-long guided tours. You can learn so much about the history and lore of the Native American tribes that once inhabited this land, as well as about the geological formation of the caves. Some of the passages are too small to go through, so claustrophobic visitors should be weary. A flashlight and good walking shoes are essential items to bring with you if you decide to tour on your own. The Olentangy Caverns have become a true Dublin, Oh treasure and are popular with both tourists from around the world, as well as locals.