Cave Lake State Park is accessed via Hwy 486, forking east off US 6/50/93; a paved route crossing the great expanse of Steptoe Valley
and climbing a little way into the mountain foothills along the much narrower valley of Steptoe Creek. The dam is built at the lower end of Cave Creek, the first significant tributary on the south side, after which the road becomes unpaved as it bends northwards, ascending further to Success Summit
(9,042 feet) then descending gradually to a junction with US 93. The park contains two campgrounds; Lakeview
(open all year) on the north side of the reservoir, and Elk Flat
(open between March and November), in a wider section of the valley one mile downstream. West of here, still within the park, is a short cliff-lined section of the Steptoe Creek drainage known as The Narrows. The main day-use parking area is on the north shore of the lake, near the dam.
The longest and best trail in the park is the 4.9 mile Cave Springs Loop
, half of which follows Cave Creek upstream of the reservoir, along a vehicle track, while the remainder traverses the hillside to the north, crossing several tributary ravines. The 1.6 mile, nearly level Steptoe Creek Trail
parallels the road, on the opposite side of the stream, while the 4.1 mile Twisted Pines Trail
ascends the hills to the south, linking with the Cave Overlook Loop
(3.8 miles), also with the 2.1 mile High Roller Trail
which circles round a line of jagged, limestone formations. Similar ridges can be seen at several other locations including just south of the dam, and a little way southeast of the lake.