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Dames Caves and Lizzie Heart Sink Loop Trail

moderateYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(118)
Withlacoochee State Forest

Dames Caves and Lizzie Heart Sink Loop Trail is a 3.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Brooksville, Florida that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 3.9 mi Elevation gain 252 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Views

Wild flowers

Description
Waypoints (0)

For up to date park information, please see their link here: https://www.fdacs.gov/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Our-Forests/State-Forests/Withlacoochee-State-Forest 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

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (118)
Photos (240)
Recordings (94)
Completed (149)
James Cartee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Great hike. Trails are well marked. Ad to clear quite a few spiders and webs but we were the first on the trail for the day. Caves are cool. It’s sad people have to abuse them and mark them up. The sink part of the trail is nice with a lot of rocks and up and down terrain.

View James's Recording
darcy frick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 25, 2020
HikingBugs
View darcy's Recording
Kelly VanTeslaar
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 24, 2020
HikingBugs
View Kelly's Recording
Kim K
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 17, 2020
HikingBugs

Took the AllTrails route, East-West portion is partially shaded, packed dirt and sand. If you only want to see the caves, they are on this path. Saw some graffiti. Going South into the sink, the trail is well marked on trees in yellow. The sink trail is slightly rocky, narrower, with elevations, great fun!! The South to North portion of the train was a flat sand road with little shade.

Cindy Bartz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 9, 2020

Trail is open. ITS AN AWESOME TRAIL!! Mostly covered, the caves are only about 3/4 of a mile into the trail. trail is nicely marked, just follow the yellow blaze. i saw lots of flowers butterflies, lots of birds.

Stefani Ruskin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 3, 2020
HikingRocky
View Stefani's Recording
Laura Peach
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 4, 2020
HikingRocky
View Laura's Recording
Jay Runyan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 29, 2020
Hiking

This is one of my favorite trails to hike. So beautiful.

Judith Anne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 27, 2020
Hiking

Great hike plenty of elevation changes and serene places to disconnect from society and be in nature.

Sarah Traps
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 20, 2020
Hiking

Amazing. So many caves. And a lot of elevation/ups and downs considering it’s Florida

View Sarah's Recording
Sharon Autry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 1, 2020

Fun time! Caves are great but not a place for solitude. The loop was far less traveled and provided a nice break from the crowds.

View Sharon's Recording
Steve Lennox
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 15, 2020
Hiking

I recommend this Trail. Dirt road into the cave is easy and takes no time at all to reach. the loop around is varying elevation and some rocky parts.lots of shade typical pine wood forest a wonderful little hike. The caves aren't big. or deep,but it's very interesting to see that in Central Florida.

View Steve's Recording
Benjamin Davis II
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 9, 2020
Hiking

Some awesome rocky areas and amazing caves. You’ll see a lot of foot traffic near the caves.

View Benjamin's Recording
timothy bridgham
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 9, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail. Well marked, nice changes in elevation. Nice changes in Trail types. Only one problem spot, near trail 15.

Bomchell Belle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 26, 2020
HikingRocky

wonderful trail!

View Bomchell's Recording
Richard Skinner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 26, 2020
Hiking

i would say it was an easy trail but way to many people. there is actually a back way to get to the opposite end hiking trail if you have 4x4 off of trail 13 which is a fire forestry road so if you like 4x4 driving in the woods you should do that and then hike to the caves.. i think you can camp off the forestry roads also there's lots of old camp fires back there

Rita Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 13, 2020
Hiking

This is a wonderful wilderness trail! There are several caves & sinkholes for you to investigate & the trails are nice but if you are not a hiker you may have some trouble. Also there are several forked trails but No markers as to direct you on the right path to exit out! Fortunately we used the All Trail Map & we had a good sense of direction & chose the right path. It was very pretty. Some of the trails we took were very narrow & roots tried to grab our ankles so one should be careful!

Bith Brothers
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 11, 2020
Hiking

Very nice trail. We went with four people and six dogs and while it was a long hike it wasn’t particularly hard to do. We took a little time to explore with the caves which are mostly at the beginning of the hike and there are parts around the sink hole that were a little tricky with footing but that’s really the only danger to the clumsy people. Parking was easy and free but you are going to be parking on the side of Lecanto Highway. It can be a little on the busy side but you can get out with a little of the patience. This park will definitely be a return trip with hopefully some camping involved.

View Bith's Recording
Joseph H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 25, 2019
Hiking

Fantastic hike in the woods, temperature was perfect. Short hike to the caves which were easy to explore, very unique experience in Florida.

Amy Magwood
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 24, 2019
Hiking

This is a very beautiful trail. The caves are really cool to see. Our kids enjoyed exploring around them. The scenery changes throughout the trail making it interesting. I like that it is a loop so you don’t have to turn around and come back the same way. This trail is a loop so early in the trail you will go left or right to follow the loop. If you go to the right on the loop be careful to pay attention. You will come to what looks like a service Road and then a sign that says hiking trail. If you want to continue on the loop go left onto the service trail. If you continue on the “hiking trail” you will end up on the longer trail that continues much farther. We went a little out of the way thinking that we were still on the loop, came to a road and had to turn around to get back onto the loop. This app really helps with seeing where we were supposed to be. I wish I would’ve looked at it earlier in the trail. I definitely recommend this trail. I’ll be going again.

Craig Rouse
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 20, 2019
Hiking

Only regret is not getting a picture of the bald eagle that landed right above me.

View Craig's Recording
Brian Hunter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 12, 2019
Hiking

Great trail especially once you get past the caves. Before then it is crowded but after the last cave it is quiet. Probably the prettiest forest I have seen in Florida.

View Brian's Recording
Patience Pecoraro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 16, 2019
HikingMuddy

Great! I took my 4 year old son and he loved it. Sad there is so much graffiti. But it’s beautiful otherwise.

Todd Carlson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 15, 2019
Hiking

R yes I’ll be suy I was

Shawn Young
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2019
Hiking

Great fun.

Mary McBane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 6, 2019
Hiking

Great trail for the family. They had no clue they hiked five miles with all the things to stop and see along the way. The first part of the trail is very busy, but once we got away from the caves, we didn’t see anyone until we got back. No bugs over the weekend, and plenty of shade. Thunderstorms interrupted our hike, but we will definitely be back.

Elizabeth Maclean
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 4, 2019
Hiking

Great trail for all levels of hikers. Loved the wide path. Great scenery with old trees and butterflies. Will go back again.

Jill Thomason
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 20, 2019
Hiking

very busy place

View Jill's Recording
sharon warren
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 31, 2019

Great trail, really pretty. I followed the yellow blazes from the 2nd cave area ... about 2 miles in, you come to a more rocky terrain with abundant fern growth. As you circle around the perimeter you can see a spring below, just gorgeous! As an FYI, when you come to the sandy road don’t follow the foot path across! Turn left and then turn left again at the next junction. This takes you back to the parking area. I went straight across and ended up going about 4 miles out of the way. If I would’ve been paying to my AllTrails map, I wouldn’t have had such a long hike w/o water or decent shoes, LOL. Definitely will go back again, very enjoyable.

Matthew Hoelscher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 25, 2019
Hiking

there are three caves you can explore and I left waypoints at each one. bring a flashlight and let the kids crawl around and explore!

View Matthew's Recording
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