Maquoketa Caves State Park

Place/Event: Maquoketa Caves State Park
Location:10970 98th St. Maquoketa, IA 52060
Cost: Free but you have to go through a short program before entering the caves
Grade/age range: preK-12
Group size: large or small (saw a Boy Scout troop there)
Hands-on: Yes
Stroller friendly: The upper parking lot/bathroom area is but not the trails or caves
Bathrooms: Yes
Food: No
Water: Yes

  • NOTE website says “The caves in the park will be closed from October 15th to April 15th due to bat hibernation.” -yep! It says Bats, but we never saw any bats so it’s ok!

Maquoketa Caves is a unique Iowa experience! There are 14 caves located over the distance of roughly a mile or so. The hiking is easy and manageable, even with small children. Make sure to GET A TRAIL MAP because the trails can be a little confusing on the south end.

Some of the caves are easy to enter and you can just walk through them, others require you to crawl in. Depending on your sense of adventures, bring flashlights, old clothes, close-toed shoes and knee pads. A few caves had water in them.

Maquoketa Caves State Park Dance Hall Cave

Dance Hall Cave – it’s nice and smooth, but there are wooden steps leading down to this point. A stroller would not be easy to get down to this point.

Maquoketa Caves State Park looking out of Dance Hall

Looking South out of Dance Hall Cave

We spent the night in a tent at the campground and explored the caves both days. They were just so much fun! Be warned – the road leading into the campground on the west side, 98th street is a gravel road and is fine, but there are some Class B roads for farm use which our GPS sent us down, and yep, we did one of those…”the GPS is telling us to go this way” moments and drove down a Class B road in the Van! My husband seems to enjoy this as he did the same thing in the Loess Hills.

Maquoketa Caves State Park Good Morning

Natural Bridge in the morning

Maquoketa Caves State Park Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge in the Morning

Maquoketa Caves State Park South trail caves

Exploring a bigger cave that had water running through it

Maquoketa Caves State Park coming out of the cave

This cave doesn’t go to far back but the kids loved it!

This is going on my MUST RETURN list! It’s a beautiful state park, well maintained and so much fun! While there we also learned that going into caves is called “spelunking”. I am not sure if we did any true “spelunking” because I could hear others crawling around deep in some caves but couldn’t see them and at one point we were walking along a trail and out of this very small opening in the limestone a few young boys popped out! I don’t know where they came from, but I wasn’t going in that hole!

***Let me know how you spelunking adventures go! Anything I should know for our next visit?


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