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 (1.2 miles) offers the best technical features for the advanced rider. Riding clockwise from near the overlook begins with four switch back turns followed by 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 miles

Type

Multiple Loops

Weather

Trail Conditions

Latest Conditions

From KerryH on Mon, 01/21/2019 - 2:42pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Frozen solid with a half inch coating of fluffy snow, perfect for snow riding today. With tomorrow's temps forecast for the mid-40s, the trails will likely turn to mush...don't add to the ruts!
From KerryH on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 2:34pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Green for now, with a dusting of snow as I exited the trial. Fat bikes are a go for this afternoon, after that, the snow will likely be too deep.
From Steve L on Tue, 12/25/2018 - 2:01pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Bluff and Spring Valley good. Leaf cover is slick
From jbrockSTL on Mon, 12/24/2018 - 1:48pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Some greasy spots
From KerryH on Wed, 12/19/2018 - 5:18pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Most of Spring Valley and Bluff Trail are green, but there are a few mushy spots left that should be navigated through/around gently. Barring rain tomorrow, the trails should be really good by this weekend...freeze/thaw could be the x-factor though.
From KerryH on Wed, 12/12/2018 - 7:24pm - Cliff Cave (St. Louis Area)
Aborted my ride on Spring Valley after encountering many greasy spots, finished on the pavement. Horses and other riders were out tearing up it though... Significant precip in the forecast for the next few days. Please avoid riding.