Dames Cave is a 1.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Brooksville, Florida that features a cave and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length1.2 miElevation gain45 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingCaveViews
Description
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The Dames Cave area is located in the Citrus Tract portion of the Withlacoochee State Forest in Citrus County, Florida and are found on a western portion of the Brooksville Ridge physiographic region. This landscape is dominated by karst landforms including uvalas, dolines, solution valleys, and caves. Geologically, the caves are among the oldest in Florida. The entrance trail to the Dames Caves is located south of Lecanto, Florida on highway 491. After passing the Central Florida Community College and traveling southbound for several miles, on the left hand side is a series of cement posts, a dirt road turnoff and a small garbage can. Quite possibly there will be several cars already parked there, as these will be the only indicators that one of Florida's most unique and oldest cave systems is just a short jaunt off of this straight and narrow farm road. Parking is free, but is at your own risk, mainly because there are no designated parking spots. A short half-mile trail leads off into the Withlacoochee State Forest. Once again, no trails are marked, but heading directly east will bring you to the opening of one of the most popular caves. Surrounded by several concrete posts and heavy gauge wire, the opening to Vandal Cave appears before your eyes. One of the best spot for pictures, this cave opening is actually an ancient roof collapse. Part of the roof is still connected and creates a land bridge that can be easily walked across by daring individuals. A small side cave allows access into the inner cave system. Once inside you can see why it is called Vandal Cave. Graffiti and other damage can be seen throughout, explaining why this cave system is so hard to find. Other smaller caves branch off from this Vandal Cave and range in a variety of difficulties of exploration from simple head ducking and flashlight exploring to belly-slinking and crawling through tight spots in the mud. Open sunrise to sunset, no camping, fires, or alcohol allowed

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Reviews (163)
Photos (230)
Recordings (148)
Completed (367)
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Victor Dejesus
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Hiking

nice

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lester mesker
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Tara Marino
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Hiking
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Danielle Kissel
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HikingGreat!

It was about a mile walk to get to the caves. Brought our dogs along and they were able to explore the large cave with us. The interior of the caves were beautiful! Some of them looked like they were glistening with crystals from the condensation of the land.

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Wayne Ford
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Hiking
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Jessica Randazzo
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Hiking

It is a nice hike to do with kids. All kinds of fun places to explore! It was beautiful out there and climbing through the caves was so fun! We went on a Sunday and it was pretty busy. I definitely want to go back on a weekday. Lots of people out there with their dogs, so must be a dog friendly trail.

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Mary Ellen Holbrook
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Hiking

Beautiful trail

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Amber Morrison
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Hiking
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chris Carlson
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Kendra Abraham
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Hiking
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Maria White
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Hiking

Excellently marked out. Very dry. Good exercise!

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Traci Jackowicz
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Tony Santoro
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Shianne Moorer
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BackpackingGreat!

Pretty awesome trail , had total of 5 caves. Didn’t see any wild life but it was pretty busy with people and kids. Brought our dog Ava , and she was able to fit in 3 of the caves . The 5th cave was at the beginning of the hiking “loop” but no other caves on the loop but still very pretty views.

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David Dunshee
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HikingGreat!
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Gabrielle Cullen
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HikingGreat!Rocky

Cools place, couple of caves to see. Can get pretty busy, go early if possible. Did the 3.9 loop was nice, not to many bugs, definitely wear appropriate footwear for the caves!

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Landon Ohlinger
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Hiking

It was hot of course. It's the Florida scrub. Will come back and camp out there during winter. Would like to complete the loop.

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Jacqueline Perez
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HikingGreat!

Pretty easy hike. Like others have said, lots of graffiti in the cave.

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Katie And Jeremiah Monroe
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Hiking

Awesome hike bring bug spray and water. Saw a very large rattle snake

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Chatter Laing
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Hiking

Soggy because of rain. Lots of Graffiti. Nice little hike!!

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Alyssa Rezny
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Amira Alexándra Ilham
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Hiking

This hike was great! I felt like I was in north Florida with the caves and the rocks! Beware:tons of MASSIVE spiders have thin almost invisible webs all throughout the trail. Take your camera and go have fun :-)

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Rachel Bowen
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Hiking

It was easy. Lots of pretty mushrooms to see after all the recent rains. Good canopy, no need for sunscreen. Kids loved it.

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Steven Oszaniec
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Hiking

Short fun to go in cave

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Anthony Butirro
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Hiking

Great trail to take kids. Go inside the cave to get a little bit of relief from the heat

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Anthony Cross
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Hiking

Sadly there’s a lot of trash left behind and the signage has been destroyed/vandalized. I wish more Floridians appreciated/respected the environment they live in.... sigh. Overall an easy hike with lots of side shooting trails. Parking area is easy to miss and might be best to back into a spot so you don’t have to reverse onto a busy country road. 6/17/20

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Jennifer Mann
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Hiking

Great trail. Caves had some trash and graffiti on all the walls.

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JP Melton
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Hiking

Super easy hike, 12 mins to Dames Cave and then another 5 mins to Peace Cave. Bring a light for Peace Cave. Good for children. Lots of litter :-( Please bring out whatever you take in.

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Maddy Emm
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Hiking

This was such a simple walk ‘hike’ and the main cave was really easy to get into, a friend is 6 months pregnant and did it ! It took no time at all and we will definitely be going back!

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