The Hidden River Cave

Quick note.  I was corrected on a couple of items by a commenter, which I greatly appreciate!  Together we all learn something. So on with the show.

This was hidden on the back roads of Kentucky.  Luckily a small sign showed that it even existed.  The Hidden River Cave is located behind the American Cave Museum and the fence located to its right.  I did not see it from the streets, but I am told you can see it from main street.  Hidden River Cave is now part of the American Cave Conservation Association.  Did you know there are miles and miles of caves and tunnels all over Kentucky?

hidden river cave (70 of 70)Standing in the mouth of the cave I took this shot, showing you just how hidden it really is.  The tour starts inside the small museum and goes for about an hour and a half.  Inside the museum it talks about the town and the history of the cave, and of course, I took zero images inside.  Whoopsy!

hidden river cave (64 of 70)The tour I took was the last of the day, so the tour guide was wore out, but he still had a pretty good sense of humor.

hidden river cave (62 of 70)Turning around and gazing into the opening you see the cables to the right of the caves mouth.  That is for the more adventurous tourist that wants to rapel from the street to the opening.  In total approximately 75 feet.

hidden river cave (54 of 70)Right about here the environment becomes much cooler.  A condensation mist seeps from the caves belly, soaking all the wood railings and stairwell.  I highly recommend leaving any white apparel in your car, and bring a cloth to wipe off your lens from the moisture.  It’s not bad, but enough to irritate the photographer in you.

hidden river cave (59 of 70)There are old pumps, primers, block and tackle located throughout the bottom, just prior to you adventuring along the bottom.

hidden river cave (13 of 70)Notice all the condensation.

hidden river cave (12 of 70)The towns water used to be pumped up from the river to the street.  You can still see all the old piping.  You even see one pipe poking out of the ceiling where it traversed to the street.

hidden river cave (18 of 70)You walk on a catwalk that hovers over the hidden river.  It’s called hidden river because you can see it start where it comes out of a wall, then it disappears into another wall.  I’d really hate to fall in that water.  I’m not sure how deep it gets, but it’s cold and dark.  Just sayin’ people.

hidden river cave (19 of 70)You wander on a path that goes on and on.  From the surface you’d never guess it was this flipping huge!

hidden river cave (37 of 70)Up and over we go.  Stick together people.

hidden river cave (35 of 70)Finally you end up on a platform at the end of the road.  It’s in an area known as the dome.  It overlooks the continuation of the tunnel.  You can’t get a feel of the scale but you could park a dozen dump trucks side by side in that opening.  Yeah, that’s it, your gears are turning aren’t they?

hidden river cave (39 of 70)The cave became a pit for sewage and waste, resulting in its closure in 1943.  Thanks to efforts it reopened in 1989.  Now it is known as the greatest cave restoration project in the United States.  For a cost of only $15 it’s worth a stop, and because it’s in the south it’s open all year round.

hidden river cave (48 of 70)As usual I was the pokey little puppy taking shots once people walked out of the shots.  Our guide told us of bugs and critters in the cave.  I thought we were skunked on that one until the guide came back to get me.  He did one last shine in the river and voila, a ghost crawdad.


Susan May 26, 2016 - 6:06 pm

Nice photos – but a couple of errors: the mouth of Hidden River Cave is easily viewable from the street above – Main Street in Horse Cave, Kentucky (not “Hidden River”, Kentucky) – Hidden River is the name of the cave, not the town in which it is located). It is part of the adjacent American Cave Museum, where tickets to tour the cave can be obtained.

Thankful to learn that all of those who were trapped in the cave by rising waters earlier today are now out of the cave and safe.

focusedtraveler May 26, 2016 - 7:58 pm

Hi Susan. Thanks so much for the clarifications. My visit their was quite short and I appreciate others thoughts and additions. I’ll make the changes chop-chop!

Yes, there were I believe 19 people trapped. I am glad they are ok.

Ray June 22, 2016 - 3:50 pm

Phenomenal photos here in this post! Well done! I am aware that Kentucky is full of miles upon miles of cave systems. That is one of a few reasons why I want to visit this several underrated State. The Kentucky Derby and the Bourbon Trail are the other two reasons why I want to visit here.

focusedtraveler June 22, 2016 - 10:48 pm

Definitely worth the trip. I visited the Jack Daniels and Jim Beam distilleries there. I even bottled my own bottle of Hob Knob. A very cool experience.

Sandy Ladd-Russell January 23, 2019 - 6:38 am

This is in my neighborhood and we are incredibly proud of it. Your photos make it shine! Thanks for sharing.

focusedtraveler February 3, 2019 - 8:57 am

You are very welcome Sandy. Cheers!


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