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Carson City District - Stillwater Field Office

Hidden Cave Archaeological Area

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Carved out about 21,000 years ago by the waves of rising Pleistocene Lake Lahontan, Hidden Cave is sealed beneath the cemented surface gravels of the Stillwater Range.   In the mid-1920's, the cave was visited by four school boys, the first 20th century humans to do so. The cave has since been excavated three times: once in 1940, again in 1951, and finally in 1979-1980.  A high proportion of the artifacts found in Hidden cave were unbroken and arranged in concentrations. That led to the conclusion that 3,500 to 3,800 years ago people used Hidden Cave more for a cache site than for their own shelter.

BLM partners with volunteer docents from the Churchill County Museum to give free public tours of Hidden Cave on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month with the exception of Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any three day weekend where the Friday or Monday is a federally recognized holiday, ex. Memorial Day, Labor Day, Presidents Day. The tours begin at the Churchill County Museum at 9:30 a.m. with a special tour video, and then the group caravans out to Hidden Cave and walks up the trail to the cave entrance. The tours usually end by 11:30 a.m.

Please check out the weblinks below, or call the museum at 775-423-3677 for more information.

Churchill County Museum & Archives

Free Hidden Cave Tours

The Archaeology of Hidden Cave

If you plan to visit Hidden Cave by taking one of the scheduled tours, please wear sturdy walking shoes and dress appropriately for the weather (it can change in a hurry during every season).

The hike up the hill to the cave entrance is about 1/4 mile, and the trail is not handicapped accessible.  The tour is not suitable for young children because of its length and the climb up the hill.  

A single vault toilet is located at the gravel parking lot a the Hidden Cave trailhead (no facilities at the cave).  There are additional restrooms and picnic sites available at Grimes Point, on the north side of U.S. Highway 50, 1.5 miles south from the cave area parking lot.

See New Hidden Cave Video!


Photograph of BLM employee leading hike to Hidden Cave.
It is a 1/2 mile hike up a moderate trail from the parking area to the mouth of Hidden Cave. There are no restroom facilities at the cave.
Photo of cave visitors being briefed before entering.
Visitors being briefed by the BLM tour leader at the cave entrance on safety precautions.
Photo of visitors inside Hidden Cave.
BLM tour leader explains how archaeological excavations were conducted to learn the human history of Hidden Cave.