The new Sand Cave trail is Wyalusing State Park's first completely new trail in decades. The trail takes the walker into a familiar place; a place filled with local history and lore of long ago; Sand Cave. The new Sand Cave trail's route was laid out on paper, walked by planners, Wyalusing park staff, as well as the State of Wisconsin Parks staff. Even after it was planned and the flags placed into the ground, the route underwent changes.
Sand Cave trail follows, for the most part, a hillside contour line never going beyond a 10 percent grade. The trail bed is cut into the hillside, appearing level. The trail-bed is actually a slight incline which allows for slow water drain-off. The cut-in is terraced. The careful planning permits less maintenance. The design also allows for visitor safety.
Sharp elevation change is alleviated through the use of trail switchbacks. The switchbacks enhance the design and appearance of the trail.
Sand Cave trail begins and ends just south of the Naturalist office Sand Cave trail turns east off of Walnut Springs trail, following a gentle slope.
Sand Cave trail will take the visitor on a route above Big Sand Cave. The trail passes along side a steep hill. Looking north, the visitor will view a deep ravine. Beyond the ravine, lies the Outdoor Group Camp, and the Wisconsin River.
The trail makes a tight turn, heading north.
Just beyond the Big Sand Cave spur, the trail continues, following a circuitous route to Black Thunder Point and Little Sand Cave.
Black Thunder Point is the northern most point of the new trail. It is about 0.8 miles from the trail head. Black Thunder Point offers a panoramic view of the entire Wisconsin River Valley, and Prairie du Chien. The view is best seen during late fall, winter, and early spring.
At Black Thunder Point, the trail turns south between a plunging ravine and limestone outcroppings. The visitor passes over a few switchbacks, through Ginger Root Hollow, on the way to Little Sand Cave.
Little Sand Cave is about 0.6 miles from Black Thunder Point.
Leaving Little Sand Cave behind, the visitor walks north, then west following the contour of the hill. The hill crest marks the highest point of Sand Cave trail.
As the visitor continues, the trail meets at a point just north of the Big Sand Cave spur. The return is on the same trail that the walker started. In all, the new Sand Cave trail is about 1.8 miles in length.
Additional photos here.