Starr's Cave Park and Preserve

Bridge to Cave
Bridge to Cave
Devil
Starr
Flint Creek at Starr


Starr’s Cave Park & Preserve is located off Irish Ridge Road about a mile outside of Burlington on Starr’s Cave Park Road. The 184-acre park offers two miles of hiking trails and is a place rich with natural and cultural history. Rock formations along Flint Creek in Starr’s Cave Park & Preserve are found no where else in the world. The bluffs are composed of limestone and dolomite and contain hints of the area’s past, frozen in time as fossils. These fossils include brachiopods, crinoids, cup coral, and gastropods. Besides Starr’s Cave, there are two other caves, Devil’s Kitchen and Crinoid Cavern. Unlike Starr’s Cave, these two were not formed naturally but instead are manmade. Word has it that mineral prospectors were looking for zinc back in the 1920s. To see what lay behind the surface, they blasted the rock with dynamite, creating large openings for future park explorers to marvel at and explore.

Location

From Highway 61, take Sunnyside Ave. or Upper Flint Rd. to Irish Ridge Rd. Follow signs to Starr's Cave Rd. Nature Center is at the end.

Features

PLEASE NOTE: Starr's Cave (the cave itself, not the park or nature center) is closed indefinitely in order to prevent the spread of white-nose syndrome within the bat population.

  • 184 acres
  • Owned by Iowa DNR; Managed by DMCC under 25-year management agreement
  • Trails: Two miles total, a 1/4 mile section being handicap accessible
  • Picnic shelter
  • Water
  • Restrooms
  • Access to Flint Creek
  • Location of Starr's Cave Nature Center
    • Rentable meeting rooms
    • Kitchen area
    • Nature displays
    • Naturalist office
    • Handicap accessible
    • Headquarters of DMCC's Environmental Education Program


Operating Hours & Seasons

Park Hours: 6:00 AM - 10:30 PM 

Nature Center Summer Hours* April 1 – September 30

  • Weekdays: 8 am – 4:30 pm
  • Saturday: 9 am – 4 pm 

Nature Center Winter Hours* October 1 – March 31

  • Weekdays: 8 am – 4:30 pm
  • The nature center is also open on Saturdays from 10 am – 4 pm in the winter to rent out country skis if there is 4" or more of adequate snow on the ground.

*The nature center may not always be open during these hours as staff is regularly out teaching environmental education in the schools and our parks. We always suggest calling (319) 753-5808 before your visit to make sure the nature center will be open.

Starr's Cave Nature Center Facebook Page