Searching for Waterfalls: A Hike on the Cave Trails

The boys and I set off in search of a waterfall last Friday.  That was a bit ambitious in a July when there has hardly been any rain in the state.  We learned by checking out the Cedar Falls Overlook Trail first that the 95-foot Cedar Falls was not at its fullest, but most importantly, I found out that my three year old was expecting to be carried on our hike. So, instead of hiking the 2 mile somewhat strenuous and steep trail, we ended up exploring several “caves” on top of Petit Jean Mountain.  The Bear Cave and Rock House Cave Trails are both less than 1/2 mile, and relatively flat, much more our speed on this day! These weren’t the types of caves that are underground and filled with bats or Thai soccer teams (hooray for the safe rescue of all 12 kids and their coach yesterday!)… these “caves” are called “rock shelters.”  They are not deep or dark or scary, and they are so fun to explore!

One of our favorites on the Bear Cave Trail
Another cave on the bear trail… they both were able to climb up and back themselves down on their own.
Inside the Rock House Cave… by far the biggest “cave” we explored!

We spent the most time in the Rock House Cave.  Coen wanted to pretend we lived in it! The short hike to and from the cave is partially covered by giant “Turtle Rocks” which were fun to bound over, pretending not to wake the sleeping turtles whose shells we were on.


Coen at the beginning of the “Turtle Rocks”

We each had our own backpacks with snacks, water & sunglasses.  I also carried a small first aid kit AND bug spray, which we sprayed on our pant legs and shoes before taking off… a lesson we learned earlier this summer when we ventured off the trail at Two Rivers Park… that’s a seed-y story that I don’t want to relive anytime soon.

The view from the top is breathtaking, and the railing keeping my boys from standing on the edge of those rocks was breath-saving!

We ended our mountaintop adventure at Petit Jean’s gravesite and overlook.  According to the legend, Petit Jean was buried on top of this mountain after disguising herself as a man to sail across the world with her fiance.  Coen decided that the movie of Mulan must have been based on this story!

On the drive home, I promised Coen we would come back in the fall and hike down Cedar Creek Canyon to the waterfall.






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