Deer Lick Cave

Useful Information

Location: 9000 Chippewa Creek Drive, Brecksville Reservation, Brecksville, OH.
I77 Willow Freeway exit 149 Brecksville, turn right to Brecksville, turn right on SR21, after 2 km turn left on Valley Parkway, 1.6 km to parking lot.
(41.3053583, -81.6103685)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: SpeleologyErosional Cave
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography: H. E. Connors (1974): Thenardite and other efflorescence in Northeastern Ohio, The Compass of Sigma Gamma Epsilon, 51(2): 38.
Address: Brecksville Nature Center, 9000 Chippewa Creek Drive, Brecksville Reservation, Brecksville, OH 44141, Tel: +1-440-526-1012.
Cleveland Metroparks, 4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland, OH, 44144, Tel: +1-216-635-3200. E-mail:
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Deer Lick Cave was named after the deer who lick the sandstone of the cave. The rock overhang was formed by the erosion of Berea sandstone by water. The official website says that this is "not a true cave". That's actually not the case, such cave shelters or rock overhangs are definitely caves. What they mean is actually that the cave is too small to have a dark part. In other words, there is no lamp required.

The Berea sandstone contains small amounts of salt which was created by evaporation of seawater and was deposited together with the sand. The white-tailed deer need salt, and so they started licking the sandstone. Sources of salt are quite important for animals, as it is needed for many body functions but in general is not found in plants. So getting enough salt is a challenge for all herbivores. Similar caves exist all over the world, the most famous is CaveKitum Cave at Mt. Elgon in Kenia, where elephants not only lick salt, but by doing so actually created the cave. How much the cave formation was a result of the licking here at Brecksville is unknown.

The cave is located at the Deer Lick Cave Trail, a scenic loop trail which passes by Deer Lick Cave and Deer Lick Cave Falls. It has two trailheads, one at 9000 Chippewa Creek Drive, Brecksville, Ohio, at the Brecksville Nature Center. However, the loop is more than 6.5 km long, and there is also Deer Lick Creek Trailhead at the Valley Parkway. From here is only 100 m (5 minutes) walk to the cave.

The cave is located in Brecksville Reservation, which is one of 18 parks which are called Cleveland Metroparks, because they are located in the area of Cleveland, OH. They are called reservations and are located throughout Cuyahoga County and Hinckley Township.