Login!

All > Field Notes >


Withlacoochee Citrus Dames Cave

Birding / Hiking / Adventuring Roadtrip Info

ROUGH DRAFT

Sep 2018
 Typical view [?]
Photo Galleries
Typical View (16)

Snapshots! (3)
GRADES: Click each for info, * = Note
Revisit? A
Birding C *
Wildlife B
Summer Heat A *
Terrain C *
Fun Hike A
Maintained C *
Mosquitos C
Biting Files B *
Ticks C *
NOTE: C+
NOTE: 10 degrees F cooler in cave
NOTE: It has altitude changes and is uneven - watch ankles
NOTE: Vandalism is a problem.
NOTE: Had none but they have to be here
NOTE: Wide trail so unlikely
 LOCATION: Accuracy: Read me
Map On Big Map: Click map (or on google maps). Address: 10701 S Lecanto Hwy, Lecanto, FL, Citrus, USA, 34461

1) What It's Like

Pretty fantastic spot! For Florida this is amazing especially - caves you can climb into. But that aside the hike in is beautiful and has some altitude changes. Good birding.

2) Kinds of Birds

Forest birds but just a lot of them.

3) Wildlife

The Citrus Tract is a sizable forest so there are definitely deer etc in here. This trail is heavily trafficed however so we've never seen them on trail.

4) Amenities

Holes in the ground. I'm kind of amazed the state of Florida allows people in here - just because they never let you do anything with a hint of danger.... not that it's really dangerous. Kids go in. Someone could fall in and be hurt badly though. They do seem to just kind of ignore it all. Vandalism is pretty steep - even on trees, the parking area is non-official, the signs are taped on, there's a huge tree that's broken but half fallen: Not super dangerous but weird to see nobody care that could fall at some point on someone. Not complaining - just weird in that way here. In fact it's great they don't close it! Thank you!!


5) Directions

Dames cave might show up on your GPS but the parking area is across from crossroad sign: S Lecanto Hwy and W Lone Ct.

There's a parking area there in front of the white concrete. Trail is wide and obvious - you go downhill and eventually you'll see a wire cable around the area and a large tree broken in half that for some reason nobody takes away.

To get into the actual cave: There's a big hole looking down into a living room sized room. Go to the right and you'll see an area that's pretty easy to climb the 10 feet down. There are entrances to other connected caves within a 10 yard radius - only saw kids go into one. There is another cave to the left off a side trail we haven't been to. Other caves in the area are offlimits and blocked from what I understand.


6) Dear Ranger

Thank you VERY much for keeping this open. So many people would never get to experience anything like this otherwise.


7) Time Requirements

It's a 20 minute walk out - 1/2 a mile. So 40 minutes minimum - plan on an hour or hour and a half. The peace cave is a side trail that's about a quarter mile walk north. Haven't done that one yet.


Experience

It's a 20 minute walk out - 1/2 a mile. Elevation change descends about 80ft total according to my phone GPS. I happened to have an IR temperature gun with me in the car first time out and it dropped from 92 degrees at the surface to 82 degrees in the cave. That's magical if you're from Florida.

Arriving you feel like you're visiting a spring on private land near a college - people who know it's there coming out - often college aged people and rules seem lax. Parking is a bit unofficial but there's plenty of it. The trail down is quite nice - it has altitude changes so it is interesting. Doesn't seem like Florida really. Lots of brush etc under mostly old tall pines so birds are heard all over. Sometimes there is graffiti on actual trees here but not enough to ruin it. When you eventually get there it opens up a bit. There's a big steel cable - which is good because I could see someone looking at their phone and walking in easily.

There's a huge tree that's broken I think like 10-15ft up and it's just hanging there. Odd they don't clean that up since I assume it will fall at some point.

First thing you see is the cave opening with a spooky oak half in it. Look down and it's a living room sized cave that's about as far down as a basement. Go to the right and you can climb down easily. First time here it was spray painted to heck, people made fires down here, it smelled like urine a bit. BUT - the next time it was fine... so I guess they clean it occasionally. Kind of hard to have this kind of thing without kids (I assume) doing their thing in it and I'm not sure it really hurts anything.

If you go around the back there are a couple more entrances. One blocked by a boulder. Another I've seen kids get into but it's pretty tight and I doubt it goes far.

If you go north there's another cave about a quarter mile away but we've yet to make it over there.

Pretty fantastic spot!

Have More Info?
Tell Us We're Wrong!
Say Hello!
Suggest A Location!
Suggest A Topic!

All images and data © 2016-2020 Andrew Thoreson unless otherwise noted.