Hawver Cave/Quarry Trail Hike
Looking for a kid-friendly hike?? Since it’s been dry this year, we decided to kick off our hiking season early with a trip to Hawver Cave. So we made some sandwiches and away we went…
On to the hike…
The trail is perfect for everything from dog-walking to kid-hiking, which is a little more active than adult hiking. Kid-hiking is more like herding cats. This trail is well-loved and we saw people on horseback, jogging, biking and just enjoying the outdoors throughout our hike.
As we hiked along we noticed some cool things…
Moss that was growing in abundance . We stopped to talk about where it was growing and why it wasn’t growing on other parts of the trail.
Fungus growing on a log
The American River was pretty active with animal life, but hard to capture with the camera. There were some water birds diving for food and some turkey vultures soaring above who then came and sunned themselves on the leafless trees. My son swears he saw a fish but I can’t confirm the sighting.
As you can see, the trail is very wide as it used to be railroad and fairly shaded, especially if you are on it by 10am..
When you reach the picnic area at the trail split, there is a sign that points out different trails….if I had read that sign, I would have taken a picture and inserted it here because it would be pretty helpful, but I neither read nor took a picture of it (sorry.) From what I am told, it points to the picnic area, cave and climbing area/quarry. The cave and the picnic area are pretty easy to find regardless, but the quarry trail can be missed since it is before the cave and, if you are anything like us, you will walk right past the trail to look in the cool cave.
It is a cool cave in more ways than one: the air that comes out of the cave is significantly colder than the air outside of the cave, which would make this a nice place to chill on a hot day.
Visit guided tours of Hawver Cave for more information.
Since we missed the sign, we had to backtrack a little bit to find the quarry trail. This is a rockier, steeper trail that goes up to the quarry. It is fairly short (I think only 3 switchbacks) and well worth it. The quarry is magnificent.
After we got done looking at the rock walls we noticed a really cool flower, which turned out to be a Pipevine. I was not familiar with Pipevine, so I did some research.
Aside from being a cool-looking flower, it has a cool story. It is the sole food of the Pipevine Swallowtail. Pipevine had it’s heyday in the Victorian era which is when this quarry was active. It was used as shade for the miners. Now that the Pipevine is not as popular, there is less habitat, for the butterflies. Click here to learn more about Pipevine and the Pipevine Swallowtail
Overall the Hawver Cave/Quarry Trail was the perfect morning hike for us. We ran into a “local” on the trail who told us that the trail goes for miles, so if you’re interested in hiking on past Hawver Cave, just make sure you pack some extra water.
Want to go for yourself? Here’s the important details:
How to get there: http://www.hawvercave.org/Location.html
Parking: The trail is located just outside of Auburn and has a small pay-to-park lot ($10). If you are planning on going on a weekend, plan to get there early because the lot fills up fast. (On the day that we were going there was a climbing Meet-Up group that conquered the lot.) If there’s no room in the lot or you’re just cheap, you can park along the road after you cross the bridge.
Length: 3 miles round trip
Bathrooms: There are port-a-potties at the parking lot, about 1/2 mile in on the trail, and at the picnic site. Thankfully, they are better maintained than other ones I have used in the past.
Picnic Sites: There are several nice spots. Just below the cave, there is a landing with picnic tables and, up at the climbing area (the quarry), there are a few nice rocks where you can sit and snack.