Goat Cave Karst Preserve

I have heard about Goat Cave many times, but have never made it over to explore.  

Today, we were looking for an interesting geocache and this place met all the criteria - fun, not too long of a hike, different and near ice cream ;o)

The Goat Cave Karst Preserve trailhead is located along the side of Deer Lane (off of Brodie).  

There is no special parking lot, so just park on the side of the road!

There are some informational signs at the beginning of the trailhead explaining what karst is, how these caves formed, and what wildlife you might see in the area.

The hike is very short (about .15 miles) and has three points of interest.  

The first point of interest, located only steps down the path, is the Wade Sinkhole.  

For us, this was by far the most fun as exploration is allowed here!

The boys and I climbed down into the sinkhole to look around, but the dark and the huge number of daddy long legs encouraged us not to delve much deeper. 

We used flashlights to take a deep look into the sinkhole, which goes back quite a ways!  

The second point of interest is a bit further down the path - called Hideout. 

This one is only open to exploration by wildlife (and teenage boys don't count!)  

It did not appear to go back so far, but that may be because the entrance was intentionally blocked from exploration by some large rocks. 

It was still cool to look at! :o)

The namesake of this trail, Goat cave is a less than 15 minute hike from the road. 

Unfortunately, it is surrounded by a chainlink fence.  So there isn't much to see :o(

I believe the point of the fence is two fold:  first, to protect its native bat population, and second, because apparently the entrance to this cave is dangerous as it open to a 28 foot vertical drop!

In addition to the fun caves, there was still a lot to see in this small nature preserve.  We saw a red shoulder hawk roosting in the treetops, and watched a common garter snake slither its way into the Wade sinkhole.  

The trails goes through fields of wildflowers.  We were a little late in the season, so we saw more seeds than blooms, but I'm betting a month early this field was breathtaking!

If you have a short amount of time, don't feel like walking very far, or have boys that love climbing in and around dark places, this is a great place to go!

Tips and Thoughts
* The mosquitoes were pretty bad around the sinkhold, so bring some bug spray!

* Definitely bring a flashlight or two.  It is really adds to the exploration!

* No dogs are allowed on this preserve, so leave Fido at home!

* The signs indicate that there is a bat population in Goat Cave, so it might be fun to head here around dusk, to seem them emerge!


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