Pets allowed
Allowed with Restrictions
Elevation Gain
215.00 ft (65.53 m)
Trail type
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Hawver Cave is the site of an old limestone mine and quarry along the American River. The site is now a part of Auburn Ravine State Recreation Area, and makes a popular easy hiking destination along the Quarry Trail. 

While the hike to the follows the former Mountain Quarries Railroad grade that stays generally flat and wide with little elevation change over its course, paralleling the American River Middle Fork below, the quarry mill site makes a natural destination with shaded picnic benches standing around the cement ruins. 

The mill ruins are several cement towers standing alongside the trail. Right before the trail comes to the mill, an incline trail heads off toward the right, climbing the hill. This path will take you to the top of the mill, but slightly further up the trail is the entrance to the Hawver Cave. This cave was mined for its limestone, with some of the structures built to transport the limestone to the mill still standing outside the cave entrance. Prehistoric animal remains have been found inside the cave, and some still remain. While the cave has been accessed by spelunkers and mischievous teens over the decades, the entrance remains gated shut today. Though heading up to it will allow hikers to feel the cold air wafting from inside and see the path disappear into the recesses of the cave.

From this point, it is possible to explore the area more, finding the stone quarry site, or further following the Quarry Trail as it heads further into the State Recreation Area. Otherwise, hikers can turn around at this point and head back toward the trailhead.

The trail begins at a parking area off of Highway 49 near the confluence of the Middle and North forks of the American River. 

The day use fee for parking and entering Auburn Ravine State Recreation Area is $10, payable at a self-pay station at the parking lot. Day use areas are open daily from 7:00 AM until sunset.

There are outhouses and trash at the trailhead, however there is no water available at the trailhead or along the hike. The parking lot is small and will often fill up on weekends.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Day use fee

Open Year-round



Easy hike. Near other adventures.


Vandalism around cave. No water.

Trailhead Elevation

670.00 ft (204.22 m)

Highest point

660.00 ft (201.17 m)


Vault toilet
Near lake or river
Historically significant
Horseback riding
Family friendly

Typically multi-day


Suitable for


Permit required




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