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Maquoketa Caves State Park '' © Donna Sparks
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USA Parks
Iowa
Southeast Region
Maquoketa Caves State Park
MAQUOKETA CAVES STATE PARK
MAQUOKETA CAVES STATE PARK
10970 98th St.
Maquoketa, Iowa   52060

Phone: 563-652-5833
Reservations: 563-652-5833
Email:
Maquoketa Caves State Park
© Donna Sparks 2007

Maquoketa Caves State Park
'Entrance 2'
© Ernst Krenger / www.fotogen.wordpress.com

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Visit 2006

Maquoketa Caves State Park
'Entrance'
© Ernst Krenger / www.fotogen.wordpress.com

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Visit 2006

Maquoketa Caves State Park
'Stone arch'
© Ernst Krenger / www.fotogen.wordpress.com

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Visit 2006

Maquoketa Caves State Park
'Stone way'
© Ernst Krenger / www.fotogen.wordpress.com

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Visit 2006

Maquoketa Caves State Park
© Copyright 2007-2010 Benjamin Prepelka All Rights Reserved

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Maquoketa Caves State Park
'Small Spaces'
© Susan Michelle Jepsen

Spelunking at Maquoketa Caves State Park - only YOU, at age 5, could fit through this tight opening

Maquoketa Caves State Park
'Dancehall Cave'
© Donna Sparks 2007

This is the exit of the Dancehall cave, biggest room. The guy in the picture is my husband, and he has given his consent to publish this picture.

Maquoketa Caves State Park
'The hole'
© Ernst Krenger / www.fotogen.wordpress.com

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Visit 2006

Maquoketa Caves State Park
© Donna Sparks 2007

Maquoketa Caves State Park
© Donna Sparks 2007

Maquoketa Caves is probably Iowa's most unique state park. Its caves, limestone formations and rugged bluffs provide visitors a chance to "step back" into geological time thousands of years. Caves vary from the 1,100' Dancehall Cave with walkways and lighting system to Dugout Cave. The remaining caves are all different sizes and shapes. Some can be explored by walking while others can best be seen by crawling. In any case, a flashlight and old clothes and shoes are most helpful.

The park contains more caves than any other state park in Iowa. A beautiful trail system links the caves, formations, and overlooks while providing an exciting hiking experience. Many areas on these trails have seen new construction, making the journey to the caves safer and easier. Trail highlights include the dramatic "Natural Bridge" which stands nearly 50 feet above Raccoon Creek, and the 17-ton "Balanced Rock".

The park has beauty all its own each season of the year. Spring wildflowers give way to the lush green growth of summer. Fall brings dramatic hues of yellow, gold and crimson. Snow transforms the park into a winter wonderland. Whatever the season, Maquoketa Caves has something special to offer.
History of the Area
Artifacts such as pottery, as well as tools and projectile points made of stone have been found in the caves and surrounding area. These discoveries tell us that the Maquoketa Caves area has been a popular spot for hundreds of years, perhaps thousands of years. Early recorded history tells of the Native Americans in the area, and that they were likely visitors to the Raccoon Creek valleys. From the discovery of the caves in the 1830's by settlers until the present, the park has been a place to view the special beauty that nature has to offer.

Beautiful milk white stalactites once hung from the ceilings and stalagmites rose from the floor. Souvenir hunters have robbed the caves of this rare beauty, but many formations remain.

The first park land was purchased in 1921. However, the majority of the park facilities were not constructed until the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Both programs resulted from the federal government effort to make work for Americans during the Great Depression. Their work included the stone lodge, Dancehall Cave walkway system, stone picnic circle and several hexagonal picnic shelters along the trail. Some of these structures have been restored and efforts continue.

A major renovation effort was recently completed which included updating and modernizing the park facilities from the 1930's.
FACILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OVERVIEW
Day-UseHiking Trailyes
CampingPrimativeyes
 Electric Sitesyes
WinterActivitiesyes
Camping
The campground contains 29 campsites (17 have electricity) nestled among mature pine trees, complete with a modern shower facility. The fees vary depending upon the time of year and facilities available. Starting February 13, 2006 advance campsite reservations can be booked through the park reservation system. Half of the campsites are still available for self-registration on a first-come, first-serve basis.
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Picnicking
The unique beauty of Maquoketa Caves State Park provides a lovely setting for picnicking. A children's play structure is located between the campground and picnic area. There are two open picnic shelters which may be reserved for a fee through the park manager.
Trails
Hikers can enjoy the scenery along the 6 miles of trails. The trails in the eastern part of the park connect the park facilities and provide access to the caves. Trail highlights include the dramatic "Natural Bridge" which stand nearly 50 feet above Raccoon Creek, 17-ton "Balanced Rock", and "Dancehall Cave." A trail in the western area of the park takes hikers past a restored prairie, an experimental oak savanna restoration and a wildlife food plot.
Nature Programs
The former Sager's Museum building has been converted into an interpretive center. This new facility contains detailed information about the geology of cave formations, park history, and a background of the early "inhabitants" of the park.

It also contains a "video tour" of the park, for those who are unable to withstand the rugged terrain that the park offers. This facility will be open on the weekends during the summer and by special arrangement with the park office.
Visitor Comments, Memories and Reviews
November 4 Beautiful setting for a wedding
My sister & her finace were married there on 11/2/13 & it was the most beautiful - natural setting ever.
September 16 GREAT PARK!
Various members of our group have camped in Iowa, Colorado, and even as far as South America this year... We ALL enjoyed our visit to the caves and campground this weekend!!!
May 21 Safe & fun hike for all ages!just right!
Just right for a famly weekend adventure. Our kids are 4 & 8; both had a great time. Campground is small but nice. Bath house nice also. Trails & caves, take a nice hike or crawl around and get dirty, your choice. Great time! Rangers were very informitive and helpful. Glad the caves are open again and that we got to see them.
May 6 awsome by bryan mahoney
April 28 Awesome Day Trip by Wisconsin Badger Fan
We drove a little over an hour to visit the park with 3 young kids. I was a great outdoor adventure, the kids loved putting on their headlamps and climbing thru the rocks. We will be returning for weekend of camping soon.
April 14 caves by Jim
Caves reopen today!
March 6 balanced rock! by CuriousGeorge
It looks to me like the balanced rock is man made with pins holding it in place.
February 28 I miss the Caves! by Concerned Caver
I really hope this year the caves open up, I miss coming to the park. I know, you can go to the park, but honestly, there are parks closer to home to do that. The caves are what makes the park unique!
February 17 We Love this park
According to the Telegraph Herald the caves will be open this spring...whoooohooo
January 8 Was our favorite campground
We have been coming here for years, but since the caves are closed we have not gone to the park for the last three years. I really hope they open the caves soon before my kids get to big and dont want to go camping with us anymore.
October 27 WASTE OF A DRIVE NOW by BATS ARE PEOPLE TO?
Bats are a special interest group Im sure of it now.WHAT The Heck the dnr now caters to special groups.I will not visit the park and I know many people who wont waste their time going to this park without the caves open.Whats the point.Is not the caves THE PARK?Can not the dnr get a stimulas grant from our government to put together low housing project for the bats so humans can enjoy the park again?If bats are so great why do we try and remove them from our homes? Shouldnt we be made to leave our homes for their winter comfort.
October 5 Special Place by Martyn
The park has a special vibe. Very ancient and mystical. I just love the park. The most special place in Iowa!! Shame the caves are closed, I would have loved to bring the kids. I visited once when the caves were open. The only cave i entered was dancehall cave. Very special! It does, however, seems like an unlikely home for bats. My guess is that they could keep open dancehall cave with no problem. I understand why the other caves are closed. I know that the scientists need time before they say it safe for the bats. 3 years is longe enough for Dancehall!! A lot more people would visit the park if dancehall was open. The place has become not well looked after.
September 14 An amazing adventure by Mary
We were thrilled to discover such great hiking just a few hours from home. Even though the caves were closed, the trails were just amazing and easy to walk on with safety rails and kept up very well. We will visit again for sure...A must see!!
September 6 CAVES ARE CLOSED by Chris Soprych
The caves are close and have been for the last three years. All public caves in Iowa are closed in an effort to fight the fungal infection, white nose syndrome in bats. The caves are expected to be closed for years to come.
September 5 Awesome -ness by dragonxalli
i love going to the caves, theres so much to do. espeically the begining of fall. the caves alone are great. and w/ the woods & trails that surround them; its an outdoor-sie person paridise.
August 24 Love it!
Does anyone know if the caves are open?
July 30 A Wonderful Adventure! by montalker
Had a lovely time on the 30th of July 2011. The only bad thing was the restrooms were filthy, not maintained, and trash overflowing. This is unacceptable an must be addressed.
July 17 Loved
theres never been one day we havnt gone we live in marion but yet still we walk there we drive and bike there with some gear and some army style glow sticks and our friends and family we are from the service and these caves are the best weve seen we love it i intend to get married there
July 11 Old memories shared with Young by joyce
It was grand to bring the grandchildren back to a park that my father worked in as a young man and i enjoyed as a child. Our family had many family gatherings at the caves.
April 9 Wonderful Hole ! by Ernst Krenger
I visit this park with friends in 2006, a great place.The visitor center is top!!
April 8 Great memories by sarah alexander
i grew up in clinton county which is not very far from mequoketa caves. some of my fondest memories was spending the weekend camping, hikeing, searching for arrowheads, watching the wildlife, and of course getting muddy from head to toe in the caves. this is a great fun and educational experience for any age. im now 23 and married but i still love mequoketa caves. best place to spend your vacation.
October 12 Beautiful!! by Fallgetaway
Passing through, what a great find, hiked for awhile, will be back to stay and explore!
June 10 Our Family Vacation
Next to Disney World this was the best family vacation we have ever taken. We took the four children we still had at home (two were teenagers) and a teenage friend. No fighting (which our kids tend to do on vacation), just fun!
May 22 This is great for teens! by mirandamassoo04
We took our boys here and they returned to camp full of mud,laughter,and stories to tell of their tour of all the caves....they loved it and want to go back!
July 11
Maquoketa Caves is most definitely the choice place to go caving. The caves are suitable for the most extreme outdoors people searching for the tightest crawl spaces... And fine for anyone else to enjoy walking through caverns without even having to bend over.
May 16
May 8 One of our favorite outings by David Fisher
Our Boy Scout Troop has been going there for about ten years. The scouts love it as well as the adults. We have never had any problems.We drive four hours to get there.


Area Accommodations (over 15 miles away)
Blue Bed Breakfast - Savanna, ILBBs / Inns
Located downtown Main Street in historic Savanna, Illinois, has three lovely and comfortable guest rooms decorated in a vintage decor, where sleep comes easy on plush beds. You can enjoy a panoramic view of the Mississippi River from tiered decking.
Web Site: bluebedandbreakfast.com
32 miles from park*
Savanna - Savanna, ILHotels/Motels
Located just 30 minutes from Galena and 2 hours from Chicago, Savanna is a great place for renewal and regeneration. We invite you to browse through our web-site and plan your getaway today.
Web Site: visitsavanna.com
32 miles from park*
Area Resources
Savanna - Savanna, ILTourism
Located just 30 minutes from Galena and 2 hours from Chicago, Savanna is a great place for renewal and regeneration. We invite you to browse through our web-site and plan your getaway today.
Web Site: visitsavanna.com
32 miles from park*
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USA Parks
Iowa
Southeast Region
Maquoketa Caves State Park
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