Maquoketa Caves

Need a beautiful place to hike, but stuck in Iowa?

Check out Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa, IA!

If this picture doesn’t convince you, keep on reading.


Maquoketa Caves has 6 miles of beautiful trails, which along the way you can walk or crawl in a variety of different caves. I would highly recommend wearing old clothes and bringing a flashlight. You do not have to get dirty, but I personally enjoy army crawling through small cave openings.

My personal favorite is the Dancehall Cave, it is the biggest and you can walk all the way down inside of it.

Above, is the path you can walk throughout the cave, but the ceiling lowers as you get farther in. There’s a stream as well as a waterfall within it. Pictures don’t do it justice.

Another fun part is that there are tons of signs that say “Do not climb here,” but if you want a view I would recommend (carefully) climbing. I was a little too ambitious and ended up stuck in a couple places (probably should have listened to the sign), but I made it out alive as I am typing this. Below are some of the places you are not allowed to climb, but let me tell you the view is worth it.


I would also recommend taking a friend along, I mean who else is going to take pictures of you making bad decisions? This is Taylor and I would not have ended up inside small caves crawling without her (thanks Tay). 

Now, she was more than willing to go sit out on a ledge you could potentially fall off of but when it came to crawling through a cave she was out. However, she was more than happy to send me crawling.

I now know for next time to bring a better flashlight than just my iPhone… The great part about this cave is that you start out crawling and then it turns into an army crawl down a dark tunnel that you can’t see the end of. It is also very wet and muddy (did I mention wear old clothes). I did love the smaller caves even if they were slightly terrifying and hard to get out of.

In fact, I had to lift this next cave up in order to get out of it! Also fun fact: some of these caves have bats.

Like I said before the trails are absolutely beautiful. If walking or crawling into dark places isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy a trip to this location.

Have any questions? Visit my contact page to send me any comments/concerns or if you’d like to see more pictures 🙂