Only half the enjoyment of Maquoketa Caves State Park is subterranean. The above-ground scenery is beautiful as well, and there are over six miles of trails winding through the rocky, wooded landscape.
A major attraction is the natural land bridge. It's much larger than it appears, and is a beautiful feature to explore. Located just outside of Dancehall Cave, the land bridge dominates the landscape as you exit the cave. This rock formation seems to split the state park in half, with almost half the trails and caves on each side.
Hiking between caves is rugged, and at times, I'm reminded of places such as Costa Rica, with rock cliffs rising up from dense, forested valleys. The trails looping around and over the top of these cliffs yield some interesting, small features of the park many people miss.
This small arch is located high above the well-traveled paths below, yet is safe enough to explore. Another just a few hundred feet away, is just as interesting, but perched on the edge of the cliff side, and potentially deadly to explore in the same manner.
We still have almost half of the park to explore on our next visit - which is scheduled for early Fall.
Posted by Tom Gill at Tuesday, August 02, 2016