Hidden Cave

At this time, we are not giving tours of Hidden Cave. Due to Federal Covid-19 restirctions, the Bureau of Land Management has not given us the authority to open the cave to the public. The second and fourth Saturday tours and all private tours are on hold until further notice. We will post the date of opening on this website as well as on our facebook page. Please follow us for updates.

Thank you for understanding and stay safe!

Click the DVD below to view the Hidden Cave video produced by One Digital Media Technology Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, University of Nevada Reno on behalf of the Bureau of Land Management, Churchill County Museum, and Nevada DOT.

This video is shown as orientation for tours of Hidden Cave.

hidden cave dvd-01

The Churchill County Museum, and the Carson City District Bureau of Land Management welcome you to a tour of Hidden Cave. “Hidden Cave” was named because of the difficulty in finding its small opening.

Hidden Cave Tours are offered to the public on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month (excluding federal holiday weekends). The Churchill County Museum opens at 9am on these Saturdays, and the tour starts here where you can enjoy the Hidden Cave display at the museum. Meet the BLM guide at the museum at 9:30am, and watch a short video on the history of Hidden Cave. At 10am, caravan out to the cave site for your tour. Reservations are requested for larger groups. The regularly scheduled tours are FREE!  Tours are not held on Federal holiday weekends (For example, Martin Luther King Day, President’s Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day , Thanksgiving, Christmas and Veteran’s Day or the 4th of July  if they  fall on a Friday or Monday.)

Dress appropriately for the weather, and wear sturdy walking shoes. The trip up the hill is about 1/4 mile, and the trail is not handicapped accessible. This tour may not suitable for young children because of its length and the climb up the hill. There are restrooms and picnic sites available at Grimes Point, 1.5 miles from the cave area parking lot.

A private tour may be arranged by contacting the museum at 775-423-3677 at least one week in advance and is subject to guide availability. The minimum charge for a private tour is $30.00, with an additional fee of $2.00 per person over the first 15.

For further information about Hidden Cave, we recommend reading The Archaeology of Hidden Cave, Nevada, Vol. 61: Part 1, edited by David Hurst Thomas. The book was published by the Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History, New York in 1985.

Some Facts about the Hidden Cave

  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.


Chronology of Hidden Cave

Approximate Years Before Present Event of Period
Present to 3,500 BCE Dramatic reduction in sedimentation and human usage. Entrance to cave nearly closed.
1,100 BCE Volcanic ash layer from Mono Craters eruption.
3,500 to 3,600 BCE Midden indicates second episode of intensive human usage.
3,600 to 3,700 BCE Accelerated siltation indicates period of greatly increased precipitation.
3,700 to 3,800 BCE Midden layer caused by intensive human use of the cave.
4,000 to 10,000 BCE Dramatic change in deposits – windblown silts from dry lake bed washed in from hillside.
6,900 BCE Mount Mazama erupts, creating Crater Lake in Oregon and leaving a distinct layer of volcanic ash in the cave.
6,500 to 7,500 BCE Transition from mesic flora and fauna to present composition of desert species. This indicates change from a moderately moist to a much drier climate.
7,500 to 10,000 BCE Cave still moist inside from marsh environment and receding lake.
10,000 to 21,000 BCE Cave alternately submerged beneath and exposed above fluctuating Lake Lahontan.
21,000 BCE Completion of cave formation by wave action from Ice Age (Pleistocene) Lake Lahontan
Information gathered from Steve Weiss, 1984: “Hidden Cave: The Public Meets the Past”, in Your Public Lands, Cooperation in Resource Management, Winter, 1984. Washington, D.C.: BLM.