The Dames Cave area is located in the Citrus Tract portion of the Withlacoochee State Forest in Citrus County, Florida and are found on a western portion of the Brooksville Ridge physiographic region. This landscape is dominated by karst landforms including uvalas, dolines, solution valleys, and caves. Geologically, the caves are among the oldest in Florida.
The entrance trail to the Dames Caves is located south of Lecanto,
Florida on highway 491. After passing the Central Florida Community
College and traveling southbound for several miles, on the left hand
side is a series of cement posts, a dirt road turnoff and a small
garbage can. Quite possibly there will be several cars already parked
there, as these will be the only indicators that one of Florida's most
unique and oldest cave systems is just a short jaunt off of this
straight and narrow farm road.
Parking is free, but is at your own risk, mainly because there are no designated parking spots. A short half-mile trail leads off into the Withlacoochee State Forest. Once again, no trails are marked, but heading directly east will bring you to the opening of one of the most popular caves.
Surrounded by several concrete posts and heavy gauge wire, the opening
to Vandal Cave appears before your eyes. One of the best spot for pictures,
this cave opening is actually an ancient roof collapse. Part of the
roof is still connected and creates a land bridge that can be easily
walked across by daring individuals. A small side cave allows access
into the inner cave system. Once inside you can see why it is called
Vandal Cave. Graffiti and other damage can be seen throughout,
explaining why this cave system is so hard to find.
Other smaller caves branch off from this Vandal Cave and range in a variety of difficulties of exploration from simple head ducking and flashlight exploring to belly-slinking and crawling through tight spots in the mud.
After exploring the caves follow the orange blazed trail further in. This is part of the Citrus Loops Trail System. This section is off of the "D" Loop. This section takes you around big sinkholes.