Dames Caves and Lizzie Heart Sink Loop Trail

MODERATE 8 reviews

Dames Caves and Lizzie Heart Sink Loop Trail is a 3.8 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, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
223 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

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

23 days ago

Good trail, lots of elevation changes and interesting landscape in the forest. Lacking basic comfort such as bathrooms, water fountains and trash cans.
Trail mostly marked, but signage is insufficient.
Caves are a sight to behold however special equipment is likely called for so we stayed out. No warning signs posted which seems dangerous.
Parking is also directly on the side of a 55 mph road so getting in and out is treacherous.

trail running
3 months ago

Nice trail and well marked. A few downed trees to work around but no big deal. The caves looked pretty cool but I’m no spelunker so I stayed out.

hiking
3 months ago

Great trail, big old growth trees, cool caves. Unlike other reviewers, we had no issue following this trail as it has visible yellow paint markers on trees.

6 months ago

Trail is not at all maintained. You'll encounter fallen tree after fallen tree across the path and it's very easy to lose the trail in parts.

hiking
15 days ago