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Carson City District - Stillwater Field Office

Hidden Cave Archaeological Area


Hidden Cave is an archaeological site which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, in 1972, as part of Grimes Point. It is located seven miles east of Fallon, NV on the north side of U.S. Highway 50.

The cave itself was formed around 21,000 years ago by the waves of rising Pleistocene Lake Lahontan. In the mid-1920's, the cave was found by four school boys, the first 20th century humans to do so. The cave has been excavated by archaeologists three times: once in 1940, again in 1951, and finally a large excavation in 1979-1980 by the American Museum of Natural History.  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 the cave more as a cache (a place to store objects for later) than for habitation.

The BLM gives free public tours of Hidden Cave on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month with the exception of any three day weekend where the Friday or Monday is a federally recognized holiday, like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Labor Day. The tours begin at the Churchill County Museum in Fallon, at 9:30 a.m. with a special video showing, and then the group caravans out to Hidden Cave and walks up the trail to the cave entrance. The tours end by 12:00 p.m.

Additionally, tours for private groups can be arranged to be given at other times by docents from the Churchill County Museum.

Check out the weblinks below for more information.

Churchill County Museum & Archives

Free Hidden Cave Tours

The Archaeology of Hidden Cave

If you plan to visit Hidden Cave, please wear sturdy walking shoes, bring water, and dress appropriately for the weather (it can change in a hurry during every season).

Hidden Cave can only be accessed through taking a scheduled tour. The site is on a 1/2 mile interpretive loop trail that is not handicapped accessible. The tour may not be suitable for very young children because of its length and the climb up the hill.

A single vault toilet and a picnic table are located at the gravel parking lot at the Hidden Cave trailhead (no facilities at the cave). There are additional restrooms and shaded 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.
BLM tour leader taking a group up the 1/4 mile hiking trail to the mouth of Hidden 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.
Visitor inside the cave getting an explanation of how the archaeological excavations were conducted.