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Iowa State Parks

USA Parks
Southeast Region
Maquoketa Caves State Park
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Max Biedermann
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Max Biedermann
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Max Biedermann
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Max Biedermann
Maquoketa Caves State Park Stone arch © Ernst Krenger
Visit 2006
Maquoketa Caves State Park Entrance © Ernst Krenger
Visit 2006
Maquoketa Caves State Park Entrance 2 © Ernst Krenger
Visit 2006
Maquoketa Caves State Park The hole © Ernst Krenger
Visit 2006
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Donna Sparks
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Donna Sparks
Maquoketa Caves State Park Dancehall Cave © Donna Sparks
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 © Ben Prepelka
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 © Donna Sparks
Maquoketa Caves State Park © Max Biedermann
Maquoketa Caves State Park Stone way © Ernst Krenger
Visit 2006
10970 98th St.
Maquoketa, Iowa   52060

Phone: 563-652-5833
Reservations: 563-652-5833
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.
Day-UseHiking Trailyes
 Electric Sitesyes
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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Maquoketa Caves State Park is

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.
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.
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Area Accommodations (over 20 miles away)
Blue Bed Breakfast - Savanna, IL
BBs / 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.
32 miles from park*
Savanna - Savanna, IL
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.
32 miles from park*
You will feel right at home when you reach Carroll County, our corner of beautiful Northwest Illinois. The magnificent Mississippi River and outdoor spaces will refresh your spirit and touch our soul.
31.8 miles from park*


Iowa State Parks