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“Go caving on your own!”

Maquoketa Caves State Park
Ranked #19 of 1,059 things to do in Iowa
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Maquoketa Caves are closed from October 15th-April 15th for bat hibernation. The modern facilities are also closed for the winter until April 15th. The trails are still open.
Reviewed September 6, 2017 via mobile

Can't believe you can just explore these caves on your own! We arrived a couple hours before the park closed for the day so we felt like we had the place to ourselves. there were a couple small groups bit there are several caves so people were spread out. I imagine that if you want on a Saturday at 11 the place would be very crowded. anrong flashlights and wear old clothes and shoes that are good for water. There is also some hiking. We had a great time. Would definitely go back.

Date of experience: July 2017
Thank Nancy45107
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"day trip"
in 11 reviews
"tennis shoes"
in 4 reviews
"knee pads"
in 5 reviews
"great trails"
in 4 reviews
"bring water"
in 3 reviews
"this past saturday"
in 2 reviews
"couple hours"
in 4 reviews
"family outing"
in 2 reviews
"a lot of fun"
in 4 reviews
"road trip"
in 4 reviews
"trail markers"
in 3 reviews
"wear old clothes"
in 7 reviews
"visitor center"
in 2 reviews
"bluff lake"
in 2 reviews
"catfish farm"
in 2 reviews
in 37 reviews
in 25 reviews

14 - 18 of 180 reviews

Reviewed September 4, 2017

We went on Labor Day, so we can't speak to what attendance is like any other day, but we were there by 9:30 AM and parking was filling fast. When we left a couple hours later, it was overflowing with people and vehicles. The volunteer group Friends Of The Makoqueta Caves State Park were there, welcoming visitors, providing maps, and making suggestions, and were all friendly and helpful. We traveled with our 16 year old and 9 year old through about half the cave course, and found our way without too much trouble, and both kids had a great time. You'll definitely want a flashlight or headlamp, jacket (it gets cool underground), clothes that you can get dirty, shoes with good traction (lot of damp, and uneven terrain), and drinking water. Lots of opportunity for great photos, and some time with the family in the outdoors. The DNR website has limited specific information, so you may want to check outside sources for reviews or additional information.

Date of experience: September 2017
1  Thank Becky W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed September 2, 2017 via mobile

This is one of the nicest parks in the midwest. Clean, great trails, friendly rangers, good parking and excellent small caves. The creek and forest are beautiful and the wooden walkways to the caves are lovely. Bring your camera and old clothes because the caves are authentic and natural (water and dirt). It is a first rate experience.

Date of experience: September 2017
Thank Jen L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed August 24, 2017

My wife and I explored Maquoketa Caves State Park for three hours this past Saturday. We are in our 60s and were able to hike and explore the main trail system during this time period.

There was no charge to enter the park.

Be sure to pick up a map of the trail system. All of the caves are numbered on both the map and signs on the trail but there are no “You Are Here maps” on the trail system
Most of the caves are small containing only one or two chambers but Dancehall is huge and has three different entrance/exit points. Dancehall also contains lights and a paved path through most of the cave (although there is a good chance you are still going to get your feet wet) The one entrance requires you to stoop for 40 – 50 yards but the rest of the cave (which resembles a tunnel) is probably over 6.5 feet high.

None of the caves contained stalagmites or stalactites
Strongly recommend that you wear hiking shoes or tennis shoes with good tread. We found flashlights beneficial in some of the minor caves if you wish to explore the secondary chambers. I got down on my knees a few times so “old clothes” are appropriate or you can simply turn around and exit the cave
There are no trash receptacles in the park. So if you want to carry water or food with you be prepared to carry your trash out with you.

The park was busy the afternoon we visited but it was fun observing the kids and more adventurous visitors crawl/climb through holes and openings that I never would have even seen. That said it would be great to revisit the park in the fall during the midweek when I assume there would be far less visitors in attendance.

The afternoon we visited the park two members of the Department of Natural Resources were at the Visitor Center and brought three milk snakes with them. They allowed visitors to hold the snakes if they were so inclined.

A great park and if we are in the area again would consider stopping in for another afternoon.

Date of experience: August 2017
4  Thank DePere
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed August 23, 2017

What a beautiful spot! We planned a day hike here, as our eldest son (16) is a cave nut. It felt like we were in Rivendell or Endor! Hiked for 3 hours, but could have easily stayed all day... Be sure to wear old shoes and knee pads for those who want to crawl in!

Date of experience: August 2017
Thank April R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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