Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Maquoketa ~ Maquoketa Caves State Park



Last Monday, October 3, Todd and I had the day off of work so we decided to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather ( mid 70's) and go on an Iowa Adventure.  We have both wanted to go explore the Maquoketa Caves.  I have to be honest, I had some concerns with my knees and size.  I shared this with Todd and told him if I could not make it I do want him to explore without me.  Off we went leaving in the late morning in our Rav4 and drove to Maquoketa.


The park is made up of bluffs, Raccoon Creek, a valley with Caves.  This area was not touched by the glaciers from the last great ice age and sits on a 300 acre park.  A stream flows through many caves and some caves are so narrow one has to army crawl to get through.  In the center is the largest cave, Dancehall Cave which is 1,100 foot long.  This cave  has three openings. We explored two of the three openings. The park has 13 caves named to explore and 29 campsites.


This was our first cave (Middle Dance Cave) and I chose not to do the very first one because of all of the stairs.  I was afraid to hurt my knees right at the beginning and not be able to adventure the others.  Todd did go on without me.









We then came across the next cave (Lower Dancehall Cave) after climbing down stairs and pathways.  This was much easier because there were not a ton of stairs all at once like the first cave.  I had some stairs and then rocky ground and it kept alternating this way.



This cave we found lead all the way through to the first cave, so I actually did not miss anything at all but climbing the stairs.



We then took off to the next one, (Rainy Days Cave) and our path lead us through this stone stairs (below) beautiful is it not?
 I was very happy I continued on to see this nature beauty.
After Rainy Days Cave the next one on the path was Ice Cave.  We had an idea this one I would not be able to do by reading the charts at the parking lot.  It stated the hike to this one is a bit more harder.



Once we found the area Todd went on without me to the Ice Cave because there was no easy path at all, just straight up the hill and it was rocky to enter the cave.  Below is a picture of Todd making it to the opening.

While he adventured in the cave, I adventured in the state park.  I think this would be beautiful in the fall when the leaves all turn colors.


Due to how late it was in the afternoon, this was our last cave.  We then hiked back to the car to make it home in time to watch the game (Go Cubs Go!).  I was very happy with how much I was able to do.  I think I impressed Todd as well because there were some questionable areas where Todd thought I should turn around but I persevered and made it.
We made only 5 of the 13 caves.  We most definitely plan to do this again, possibly camp there so we can explore all of the caves.

Maquoketa is 1 hours and 26 minutes away from Iowa City. 

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2 comments:

  1. Beautiful photos Jolene and can I just tell you, a team of wild horses couldn't drag me into ONE of those caves. NOT ON YOUR LIFE! I don't do caves or any other dark spaces with creepy things that I can't see in them! KUDOS to you tho Jolene, kudos, kudos, kudos because nope. Not me. :)

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  2. We love state and national parks/forests. This place, though quite far from us, seems like a really neat place to go. I've never seen caves up close, so this would be a great experience for our whole family! :)

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