Hidden River Cave Museum – Horse Cave, Kentucky

horse cave.jpgHidden River Cave Museum – Horse Cave, Kentucky

The American Cave Museum and Hidden River Cave will fill your day with exciting and informative lessons of the nature of caves and how they impact our lives.  Take the self guided tour of the American Cave Museum.  There are two floors of exhibits dealing with caves, groundwater and pollution.  Then you will take the guided tour 150 feet underground to see the Hidden River Cave.

The cave was closed for 50 years due to pollution of the waterway.  It underwent a transformation back to clean water due to the dedication of the people who know the importance of avoiding the pollution which destroys our groundwater.  The phenomenal recovery is a story you will hear on your tour.

You will view the remains of a turn of the century hydroelectric system, walk above the Hidden River and witness awe-inspiring chambers.

The cave tours last between 45 and 60 minuets and are scheduled upon visitation usually 45 minutes apart.  Reservations are not required.  You will need to descend and climb 230 stairs so if this is a problem you will want to avoid the tour.

If you can’t do the stairs you may want to take the Special Admission tour which will give you the self-guided tour of the museum and a short, guided tour to the entrance of Hidden River Cave.  You will learn about how the caves are formed and the story of the closing of the cave for 50 years.  The tour includes a short elevator ride into sinkhole.  Both the museum and the sinkhole are accessible.

Horse Cave has an interesting history for a community.  It was the second city in Kentucky to have electric lights because of the cave’s hydroelectric system.  The city had lights in the 1890’s.  It is one of three towns that make up the "caveland" east of Mammoth Cave National Park.  The other two are in Barren County; Cave City, which lies just south of Horse Cave on US 31W and Park City which is a few miles south of Cave City.

The country which is home to Horse Cave is Hart County.  In this area there are over 200 reported caves.  The surrounding counties have a combined total of over 800 reported caves.  If you want to go caving it would be difficult to find anyplace that has more caves to offer.

South-Central Kentucky possesses over 500 miles of mapped cave passages.

hidden river cave.jpgThe cave supplied the water for the community.  There was a dam constructed within Hidden River Cave as part of the water works system.  The system was closed down in the 1940’s but the dam and much of the equipment is still there for you to see.

In the sinkhole the stories of what was there are an interesting part of the history.  During the Thomas Era there was a tennis court 60 feet below the surface in the sinkhole.  The sinkhole also housed a sunken garden, large trees and the entrance to the Cave.

Come and see this fascinating natural wonder where countless avenues, corridors, and expansive dome-shaped rooms. Sunset Dome is truly one of the world’s great wonders. Here one can witness in perfect symmetry all the grace and majesty of an exacting architectural design. Its lofty summit seemingly scrapes the clouds of a starless sky. It is a cathedral of silence; an auditorium to provoke a profound realm of thought. In the lightless waters of the cave are millions of eyeless fish (known as Typhilchthys osborni), where they have made their home for aeons. As the streams have slowly hidden themselves from the outdoors, so these denizens of the nether world presumably changed by physical adaptation until today they have become pearly white creatures, without the aid of scale or eyesight, peopling a habitat of total darkness.

Location: American Cave Museum & Hidden River Cave

119 East Main Street, P.O.Box 409, Horse Cave, KY  42749
Phone:  (270) 786-1466  –  Fax:  (270) 786-1467

Email: shannon@cavern.org


One Response

  1. Genuine Kentucky

    What a gorgeous area of Kentucky this is! If you’ve never been to this part of Kentucky, you’re in for a real treat.