Wildcat Cave Trail is a 0.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Eldora, Iowa that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking.

Length0.7 miElevation gain72 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyHikingWalkingCaveForestRiverWildlifeBugsMuddyOver grownRockyNo dogs
Description
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Getting There

This 2 mile trail takes you down the ravine to Wildcat Cave. DO NOT ENTER TRAILS IF THERE IS A POSSIBILITY OF RAIN IN CASE OF FLASH FLOODING. To find Wildcat Cave cross the footbridge and follow the ravine to the right and down towards the river about 30 feet. Conditions are overgrown, muddy and rocky. The cave is perched in the red sandstone wall about 15 feet above the dry stream bed on the left. It is about 6 feet high for the first 10 feet then drops to a crawling height for the remaining 20 feet. At the entrance you will see carved signatures dating back to the 19th century and petrified wood deeper within the cave. The cave is muddy and smells of animal. Bring a bright flashlight, gloves and kneepads for crawling. The book "Iowa Underground: A Guide to the State's Subterranean Treasures" has more information and is available to view for free on books.google.com.

Park just off the road at a well marked albeit small parking area for Wildcat Cave Access. Open Daily from 5am to 10pm. No toilets or water available. No rules regarding animals was posted.

Hardin County Conservation Board 15537 South Ackley, IA 50601 Phone 641.648.4361 www.hardincountyconservation.com

From Country Road S56, one mile south of the town of Steamboat Rock, watch for the Wildcat Trail sign. Go west on the gravel road for one mile and then south for a quarter mile. Where the road turns west again there is a sign for Wildcat Cave Access.

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Reviews (23)
Photos (24)
Recordings (8)
Completed (37)
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Heidi Anderson
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Hiking

Really cool area! There were bats roosting in the cave, so we didn't enter. There is a trail down the ravine to the cave, but also another trail up on top of the ridge that eventually goes down to the ravine way past where the cave is.

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Jason Sydejko
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Hiking

This area is BEAUTIFUL! Gotta make sure you follow the trail because it’s surrounded by private property. A really pretty gorge with a small cave. The cave is really tiny but it’s fun to climb up to it and sit in it for a while admiring the surroundings. The gorge lets out into the Iowa River and MAN ALIVE is it a pretty view. Leaves are starting to change too. Not a difficult hike. A lot of rock traversing and even some climbing up, down and through rock. Just follow the dirt trail once you cross the bridge. Once you hit the River double back into the ravine. As others have said once you see the bus on the left go a little bit further and look to your right and you’ll see the cave looming overhead. It’s not much but it’s a really cool sight. I’d recommend it, just be sure to stay off of other peoples property.

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Jake Fields
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Hiking

Awesome!!!

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Kelly Voss
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HikingOff trailRocky

Very fun! Hike down the ravine in good weather and make your way to the cave! You have to climb up to get to the cave. Then continue down the ravine to the river. Very peaceful and private. No problem with the neighbors for us! It seemed pretty obvious which was the public trail and which was a private drive.

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Kristi Jabaay
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HikingMuddyOff trail
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Rick Wood
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HikingBugs

This trail wasn’t hard and the cave was super easy to find. Don’t know why people are saying it’s confusing because it was quite simple. You will park next to the gate that’s right in front of the wildcat trail sign and walk around the fence and just follow the trail. It’s that simple. The cave is right across from the old bus. You can’t miss it.

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Ashley Trost
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Hiking

The trail to get back to the ravine is okay, but the ravine itself was too muddy to get very far without sinking down into it. On the way back to the car the neighbor let his guard dogs out and they came barking and growling at us as we ran into the car. We won’t be back.

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Todd & Beth Bilharz
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Hiking

Finding the cave can confusing as there are no markers as to any trail(s). After the wooden bridge, take a right down into the rocky ravine. If indeed that is private property as others have mentioned, it's not marked as such. Disappointed that other hikers left garbage along the ravine and at the river water front.

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Paul Haywood
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Hiking

To access the cave is much simpler if you kayak or canoe to it by means of the Iowa River. If you put in at Steamboat Rock it is about 2 1/2 river miles downstream and it is one of the most beautiful stretches of river in Iowa. Once you go under the old abandoned steel road bridge, the river turns to the left and then a quick turn to the right, that is when you want to be looking on the left side of the river for a stream bed (usually dry), portage there and walk up the stream bed about 80 yards and it is on your right side about 25 feet above you. There is an abandoned school bus on your left, the cave isn't to far past that. Good Luck!

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Demons Waltz
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Hiking

I can't speak to the actual trail. I can tell you that the entrance is on a dirt road in the middle of a cornfield with no parking and completely surrounded by "No Trespassing" signs. I drove out with my 7 and 5 year old nephew in tow... nothing about the situation was kid friendly. May try again alone as it does sound interesting.

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Jamie Pommrehn
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Hiking

Very rocky but fairly easy. Make sure it is a dry day with no chance of rain. Pretty interesting little place.

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brad fletcher
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Hiking

wildcat cave trail is mis-marked, if you cross the foot bridge and go down the ravine you will be crossing private property and the owner can get very cross. To be safe follow the marker posts up the hill then go several miles south go to the river bottom and walk north until you come to that same ravine as you have been told. You walk east north east up the ravine and the cave is on your right or to your south as you walk. It is really not much of a cave, it starts out about 6 feet tall at the entrance and the closes to nothing in about 4 feet, again, not much of a cave..So, is it really worth upsetting the property owner, please RESPECT PRIVATE PROPERTY

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Sue Mitchell
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Hiking

Nice short hike down a beautiful, secluded ravine

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Christin Cordova
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Hiking
First to Review

This is a super easy hike as long as the ravine is dry. The cave is a neat bit of history. Very Indiana Jones!

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Dakota Cox
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Hiking
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Dipesh Shrestha
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Hiking
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Umber Fritz
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Hiking
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Scarlett Marie
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Chad Chapman
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Hiking
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Chris Jackson
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Sam Solis
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Brenda Perry Enochs
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Chris Claypool
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