Cliff Cave

Cliff Cave

The natural surface trail system in this park consists of two trails suitable for all levels of biking and hiking. The park is named for the extensive cave off the road near the bottom of the hill.

The Spring Valley Trail is on the west side of the park and the Bluff Trail on the east side. Trail heads for both are accessed from the paved trail. There are two parking lots to access the paved trail system.

Spring Valley Trail (3.75 miles) consists of two loops, an outer one, and an inner one contained within. Both are tied together via three short connector trails. The loops vary from tight and twisty to open and flowing as they weave in and out of the many sinkholes in the area. Both loops are mostly packed dirt. While not technical, the trail design offers riding suitable for beginner as well as advanced riders.

To get to the trail head, take the paved trail,  and climb up the switchbacks from the lower parking lot. From the upper parking lot, ride down the paved trail and cross the bridge, then climb up the switchbacks.

Bluff Trail (2.0 miles) offers the best technical features for the advanced rider. The trail now makes use of a previously unused section of the park from the main parking lot to just west of the overlook. It then heads down through four switchback turns followed by several technical rock gardens. The trail then transitions back to mostly packed dirt as it winds its way back up to the overlook. The newly built overlook has a beautiful view of the Mississippi River Valley. In the winter months keep an eye out for Bald Eagles.

The paved trail system offers an enjoyable place to ride when the natural trails are too wet for use. It consists of the 5 mile Mississippi River Trail loop as well as a 1.5 mile connector trail that climbs up three switch backs and connects with the bike lane on Telegraph Road. Another 1 mile spur trail climbs up to the overlook and on to the upper parking lot.

The park occupies 525 acres that include a flood plain wetland area, heavily wooded forest with a variety of old growth trees such as the Shag Bark Hickory, a picnic shelter and scenic river overlook. This area is geologically known as a Karst Plain- an area consisting of caves, sinkholes and springs formed from the dissolution of layers of bedrock. The many sinkholes provide a haven for a variety of wildlife including wild turkey, fox, rabbits, squirrel, deer and raccoon.

The trails are open to equestrians, hikers and mountain bikes. Please observe proper trail etiquette when using these trails.

Directions

Cliff Cave Park is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in South St. Louis County. Take I-255 to Telegraph road. Go south on Telegraph 1.7 miles to Cliff Cave road. Go left on Cliff Cave road and continue approx. 1 mile into park.

Services

There are composting toilets, and water available at the pavilion overlooking the river.

Park History

Cliff Cave is a historic and archaeological site. The cave is also known as “Indian Cave” and developed in Mississippian St. Louis limestone. With 4723 ft (1514 m) of cave passage surveyed, it is the second longest cave in St. Louis County.  In October of 2009 the cave was gated to protect a population of endagered Indiana Bats which live in the cave.

Trail Information

Trail Steward(s)

Rating

Beginner / Intermediate

Length

5.75 miles

Type

Multiple Loops

Weather

Trail Conditions

Latest Conditions

From KevinG on Mon, 12/09/2019 - 3:31pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
The new fresh cut non compacted trail was quite muddy from recent rain. Please give several days to dry.
From KerryH on Sat, 12/07/2019 - 2:00pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Minor freeze/thaw conditions on the newer section of Bluff Trail - enough to leave shallow tracks, but no ruts. Should be firm tomorrow if temps stay above freezing tonight as predicted.
From perfessrgary on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 7:45am - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Mostly good. Some low spots w/ leaves still soft as of last evening.
From KerryH on Tue, 12/03/2019 - 5:49pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Trails are in good condition overall, with a few soft patches in the normal spots. Should be good for the next several days.
From KevinG on Sat, 11/30/2019 - 6:29am - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Almost 2 inches of rain Friday night. Please allow several days for trails to dry
From Mogman on Mon, 11/18/2019 - 5:11pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Trails great, dry and hard packed. Leaf covered but inner and outer loop leaves pretty mashed down.