Shawnee National Forest
Sand Cave Hike
The Underground Railroad
and the Shawnee National Forest
Shawnee National Forest Sand Cave
For an easy hike to the Shawnee National Forest Save Cave, I recommend setting your driving directions to this point of Google Maps. If you start at that point, on the end of Sand Cave Lane is the start of the trail. The house nearby to the north has a few dogs that are often loose. Thus far, the dogs seem to be non-vicious but if you travel with a pet, that could change. There is enough room for a few vehicles to park around that trailhead. The road is paved up to that trailhead so most vehicles should be able to make it with no problem. If you want to add some extra mile to the hike, you can start where I started at this point on Cedar Grove Road. It is where the River to River Trail (R2R) crosses. Park on the sides of the road, there are no official developed parking areas present there but you can park easily on the sides of the road and be fine. Enter the R2R trail to the west side of the road and continue on.
For the most part, the trail is very easy to manage and see. There are some spots where horse damage is present during wet days but these spots are easy to manage by simply going off trail around them. I’ve observed snakes out there so be sure to watch for them if hiking out there, especially when going off the trail to avoid the horse damage. The trail is actually very nice, it is a trail that I’d love to get a mountain bike on. There are plenty of native trees and plants with some non-native pine plantations included as well. Pass by the first fork and remain on the R2R trail. Look for the second fork which displayed the 030 blaze. You want to be on Trail 030. Continue hiking but make sure you stay on 030. It gets confusing at a point where the trail T’s. Don’t go right as that will lead to a house on private property. Going left will likely take you towards Millstone Lake/Bay Creek area. Instead, go up and look for the US Forestry boundary signs. Continue up passing the next T-section. You’ll eventually go left and see the Natural Area sign to your north and that is where the Shawnee National Forest Sand Cave is. Sand Cave is actually on state land. Follow the trail next to the bluffage to reach the cave. You can’t miss the cave!
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Shawn J. Gossman