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Cherney Maribel Caves

No. 48


Photo by Thomas A. Meyer/DNR


Located on the West Twin River, Cherney Maribel Caves contains a 50-foot limestone bluff, a rare occurrence within the glaciated region of Wisconsin. The "caves" in the side of the bluff are shallow indentations caused by gaps in the black dolomite. A young beech-maple woodland dominates the uplands and contains a showy spring flora. Near the cliff edge hemlock joins the maple and beech in a narrow strip. The shaded cliff contains polypody, bulbet, and walking ferns. Endangered plant species are also present. At the cliff base and throughout the floodplain are large white cedars. The river bottom forest has many birds usually found farther north. Among these are winter wren, solitary vireo, blackburnian warbler, and yellow-bellied flycatcher. Cherney Maribel Caves is owned by Manitowoc County and was designated a State Natural Area in 1967.

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the Maps tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

The good majority of SNAs are isolated and have few or no facilities. Some SNAs have vehicle access lanes or parking lots, but their accessibility may vary depending on weather conditions. Parking lots and lanes are not plowed during winter. Hiking trails may be nonexistent or consist of undeveloped footpaths. A GPS unit or compass and a detailed topographic map are useful tools for exploring larger SNAs.

Non-DNR lands

Entrance fees: For non-DNR-owned SNAs, we are unaware of any vehicle or admission fees. However, please contact the landowner for more information.

Hunting and trapping

This is a non-DNR-owned SNA: Opportunities for hunting and trapping depend on the landowner. Please contact them directly to find out about their rules for hunting and trapping. You can find a link to other owner websites under the Resources tab.

Other activities

Other allowable activities such as - but not limited to camping, geocaching and bicycling are determined by the landowner. Please contact them directly or visit their websites for details.


Located within Cherney Maribel Caves County Park, Manitowoc County. T21N-R22E, Section 13. 10 acres.

Driving directions

From the junction of I-43 and State Highway 147 one mile east of Maribel, go east on 147 0.3 miles, then north on County Highway R 0.6 mile to the entrance of Cherney Maribel Caves County Park, proceed 0.25 mile to a parking area, and hike east into the natural area. Guided tours of the cave are conducted periodically by a local volunteer group in conjunction with the Manitowoc County Parks and Planning Commission. Visit the Maribel Caves [exit DNR] website for more information.

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities.

Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details. The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries. To create your custom map where you can zoom to a specific location, please use the DNR's Mapping Application.

Property Map [PDF]

Cherney Maribel Caves is owned by: Manitowoc County