Dames Cave: Cave Spelunking in Florida

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Located in Withlacoochee State Forest in Citrus County, Florida

When we arrived we saw no parking lot or signs. We were visiting on a weekend and knew we were in the right place only because of all the cars parked beside the road. We followed the trail in and came across this sign which is not visible from the road.

From the sign on it's a nice little walk to the first cave. There are about 4 different caves in the area. We passed visitors out for a walk with their dogs, couples enjoying the day and adventurous cave explorers ready to squeeze themselves into the most narrow of passages.

Armed with cameras and flashlights we were excited to arrive at the first cave known as Vandal Cave due to all the graffiti strewn across the cave walls and bits of trash thrown here and there. It's so sad to see the state of this once beautiful place trashed in such a way.

Walking around the tree will lead you to the entrance where you can crawl down into the cave.

 Here is where your trusty flashlight will come in handy. Once inside there is a smaller cave where you will have to crouch down in order to enter. It's a little room with a high ceiling. Beware though, this cave is occupied. I noticed this cute little bat when he gave us a dirty look and covered his face so he could go back to his nap. How rude of us, barging in and shining flashlights around his bed chamber! He ignored us completely and I was able to snap a quick pic before leaving him in peace.

We followed the trail and checked out the other caves. Some were a pretty tight squeeze and required you to belly crawl through them. Unless you have a small frame and absolutely no discomfort with dark enclosed spaces I wouldn't recommend attempting them.

Some smelled of animal (one in particular smelled of skunk) and the only way to get out is to back yourself out. There is no way to turn around. Needless to say, I opted out of anything that could put me face to face with an angry critter while leaving me wedged into a tight spot, on my belly, flailing wildly as someone yanks me out by my feet. I'm adventurous but not that adventurous.

I crawled down into this cave, you can see my flashlight peeking through. At one point the only way to go is a small drop down. This section is such a tight squeeze that only one person can fit at a time. Forget about getting a hand climbing back out if you should need one. 

Our favorite cave is the Peace Cave. You know you've found it by the peace sign painted on the tree beside the cave entrance. This cave is to the left of Vandal Cave. We had a little trouble locating this cave at first and no one else seemed to know where it was. It's actually not very far from Vandal Cave. These are the GPS coordinates 28° 42' 42.41" N 82° 26' 42.51" W

This cave is a pretty nice size and you can even stand in some places though we mostly crouched as we explored. This is the entrance which looked a bit small and steep at first but in actuality it was a pretty easy climb down. You can see more graffiti littering the walls once you're inside.

We strapped on our gopros and climbed in quickly realizing we needed brighter flashlights. This was a really fun cave to explore.

 At one point we turned off our flashlights plunging us into total darkness. We ventured in until we got to the section where the only way to go any further is by belly crawling. I had my camera strapped to my chest and there was no way I was going to squeeze through without damaging it.

Next time we explore these caves we are going prepared with brighter lights and I'll also be using a head strap for my camera. We still managed to get a little footage of the caves and we had a great time exploring. 

Check out our video below.

If you are planning a trip to Dames Cave here are some tips:

Weekends are pretty populated and you may have to wait for other groups to finish exploring. If possible, visit on a week day so you can have the caves all to yourself.

Bring flashlights. Enough for each person (if you're taking friends) to have their own.

Don't forget to bring water.

What cave should we explore next?

You Might Also Like


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Popular Posts

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge
Lost has read 3 books toward her goal of 25 books.