Trail Report Week 2: The Cave Spring Trail

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The Cave Spring Park and nature trail are located just about three miles from my home.  For years I would drive by it and never visit it.  Each time I would see the sign I would ask my self “I wonder if there is really a cave there?”  So I finally first visited a few years ago and I can attest that yes, there is, in fact, a cave there and not only that but a very interesting and somewhat eerie nature trail there as well.

The Park was a stopover on the Pioneer Trails. The Oregon, Santa Fe and California trails all began in nearby Independence, Missouri. This was the first overnight stop. The Oregon and Santa Fe trails would all break off into different directions near Topeka < Kansas about 40 miles away.
The Spring served as a watering station for Pioneers. 

The hiking trails are all circular and each about a mile they overlap so it is easy to go in circles. Fortunately, the trails are well marked with signs, but it wouldn’t hurt to get a free map at the ranger station or at least take a picture of the map with your phone.

The park has both paved and dirt trails. If you take a dirt trail be sure to use bug repellent because the mosquitos, ticks, and chiggers are really biting this year.

Here is the eponymous cave of the Cave Spring Park. You can enter it. The cave’s pretty small, maybe the size of an average room. A word of caution before you go in though. The first time I discovered the cave, I was walking our dog Juju. I tried to go into the cave but Juju absolutely refused to go in.  This is really out of character for her as she’s usually very outgoing and loves to explore. I tried to pull her leash but she refused to budge.  I tied her leash to a nearby tree and decided to venture in by myself.  She was barking like a crazy dog, but I went in any way. I noticed that the walls seemed to be undulating moving in a wavy fashion. I started to touch the wall and Juju started yelping.  I paused and looked closer at the wall. It was covered in brown spiders thousands of them. It was one of the creepiest things I have ever seen. juju was trying to warn me.  
This is the spring coming from the cave although I was told in the pioneer days it was much larger. 
The trails are all circular and many are named after people, but oddly enough usually only their first names. this is where the Corky and the Tim trails converged. Apparently, they were named in memory of a father and son. 

The trails have several ponds. This one was nearly covered in algae and was very popular with frogs.  And deer.

Probably the coolest and somewhat eerie sights on the trails are the chimneys.  Back in the 1950’s they were going to turn the area into a resort and built several guesthouses. They ran out of money and the houses eventually caved in and only the chimneys and some of the foundation remain.  the trees hand weeds have taken over and the chimneys look like ruins now.



I wonder if a thousand years from now these chimneys will become a big “ancient ruins” tourist site

Pros: It’s right off the highway and is in the surrounded by the city so it’s a nice break and gives you the impression you are deep in the woods. It’s part of history. Lots of wildlife, a cave to explore and the chimneys are really photogenic.

Cons:  Bugs, the circular trails can be confusing and you may spend more time hiking than planned. The trails can be disorienting.

Overall it’s a nice trail and I would definitely show it off to my hiking friends who come into town.

2 Replies to “Trail Report Week 2: The Cave Spring Trail”

    1. Thank you. I was so afraid they would get in my hair. I spent like 20 minutes in the shower when i got home. Yes, Juju is pretty smart and hyper which is probably because shes normally so curious about everything.

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