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10 of the Most Adventurous Caves in Nevada

By | Last Updated: 30th May 2023

Nevada may not be known for its caves, but the few of the accessible ones it has are worth a visit for some adventure and to get a glance at the state’s history. In fact, it has about eight significant caves and various smaller ones spread all over the state. Most of them, such as Hidden Cave, Lovelock Cave, and Toquima Cave, were used by the natives many years ago as a shelter or for storing goods. Some like Lehman Cave and Leviathan Cave feature stunning stalactites and stalagmites. Despite being a little difficult to access, you can consider exploring them for a whole new experience.

Caves in Nevada

1. Hidden Cave

Hidden Cave in Nevada

You will find the Hidden Cave at Grimes Point in northwest Nevada. It’s an archaeological site listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. Mark Harrington, who first excavated it in the 1930s, felt it was a hidden cave as he could not easily find its entrance. Hence, it gets the name. The cave’s use by Native Americans dates back to more than 3500 years for storing goods.

You can visit the cave by being a part of the free scheduled tour available every second and fourth Saturday. It starts at Churchill County Museum at around 9:30 am. You can also walk along the quarter-mile interpretive trail at Grimes Point to witness the various petroglyphs.

Things to do around here: You can check out the Churchill County Museum in Fallon and the Nevada State Museum in Carson City for several interesting prehistoric exhibits of the cave and the state.

Hours of operation: 24 hrs

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2. Lehman Caves

Lehman Caves in Nevada

You definitely shouldn’t miss accessing Lehman Caves on your visit to Great Basin National Park in eastern Nevada. It is a limestone cavern whose formation extends to over 550 million years. Be sure to reserve a guided tour that lasts for 90 minutes to witness the cave interiors containing dazzling stalactites and stalagmites. As the temperature inside remains around 50°F throughout the year, do wear a light jacket on your visit.

Things to do around here: You could consider staying overnight at the campgrounds here.

Hours of operation: 8 am to 5 pm

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3. Lovelock Cave

Lovelock Cave in Nevada

To get a little insight into the state’s history, you can plan an outdoor adventure to Lovelock Cave in northern Nevada. It’s not far from the city of Lovelock, but you will have to drive along a dirt road to reach there. A half-mile trail from the parking lot will lead you to Lovelock Cave. It was earlier used to store several goods by natives for future use. Several storage pits containing items like duck decoys and other cultural artifacts have been found during the excavation process since 1912.

Though you will not find any artifacts now, a boardwalk will take you to the cave’s depths, where you will be able to see the impressions of the excavations. There’s also an information sign at the trailhead that would enlighten you with the cave’s past. Remember to bring your flashlights to help you see through the dark.

Things to do around here: After completing your exploration, you can take time to admire the surrounding scenery filled with mountains and valleys. Many hiking trails also run past the area, which you can hike for an extended adventure. You can also head to Marzen House Museum in Lovelock to know more about the area’s history.

Hours of operation: 24 hours

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4. Gypsum Cave

Gypsum Cave in Nevada

A short drive from Las Vegas in southern Nevada will take you to the isolated Gypsum Cave. As the road is unpaved, remember to bring a high clearance vehicle. Gypsum Cave is a cool limestone cave that was home to giant ground sloths many years ago. Remains of other mammals like the horse, mountain sheep, and camels and evidence of prehistoric cultural groups settling in and around here have also been found.

Things to do around here: Lake Mead sits close to the cave. You can enjoy swimming, boating, kayaking, and hiking there. 

Hours of operation: 24 hours

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5. Toquima Cave

Toquima Cave in Nevada

More than a typical cave, Toquima Cave is a rock shelter that the natives of Western America once inhabited. You can witness fascinating rock arts painted using yellow, red, white, and black pigments. Some were sacred to them, while others were recordings of history and important stories.

A 30-mile drive from southeast Austin will lead you to the cave, also known as Pott’s Cave,  at Pete’s Summit. Do be prepared for the bumpy ride on the dirt road before you reach your destination. Once you come here, a short hike from the campground will lead you to the cave. However, it has limited access, and the entrance is fenced off to protect the pictographs.

Things to do around here: For a rustic camping experience, you can consider reserving a spot in the nearby Toquima Cave Campground. The surrounding area is also quite scenic and fun to explore.

Hours of operation: Not recorded

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6. Devils Hole

Devils Hole in Nevada

Devils Hole refers to the geothermal pool inside a limestone cavern that you will find within Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. This place is famous for the unique and endangered Devils Hole Pupfish found exclusively here. Before you visit, remember that the area is completely fenced off, and the entrance is under strict surveillance for their protection. You can still see it from an official overlook.

Things to do around here: The refuge features many other shallower pools where you can enjoy witnessing other species of pupfish. It is home to other wildlife species like coyotes and bighorn sheep.

Hours of operation: 24 hours

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7. Emerald Cave

Emerald Cave in Nevada

If wanting to take a break from the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, you should definitely consider visiting the Emerald Cave for an enchanting experience. Just an hour’s drive from this city will bring you to the destination within Lake Mead Recreation Area. It gets its name from the splendid emerald water on which it sits. A guided kayak tour will let you explore this hidden, shallow cave. You can also admire the stunning geological formations around you all along the trip. Do carry your hats and sunscreens to protect you from the blazing sun.

Things to do around here: Many recreational activities are available at Lake Mead, from swimming to boating.

Hours of operation: Not recorded

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8. Leviathan Cave

Leviathan Cave in Nevada

Exploring the Leviathan Cave is perfect for a day’s adventure. Found in the Worthington Mountains near Rachel in southern Nevada, this limestone formation requires a hike along rugged terrain. In addition, you will have to access the sinkhole entrance using ropes and a metal ladder. The cave’s depths feature tight passageways where you will have to squeeze yourself to get past them. Remember to bring your flashlights to see the various stunning speleothems like stalagmites, stalactites, soda straws, flowstone, and a rimstone pool.

Things to do around here: The surrounding areas have many hiking trails and smaller caves that you can explore.

Hours of operation: 24 hours

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9. Humboldt Cave

Humboldt Cave in Nevada

Humboldt Cave in Churchill County is an archaeological site included in the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Traces of early habitation by the Humboldt and Lovelock cultures have been found here, dating back to about 9000 B.C. When it was excavated in 1936 by Robert F. Heizer, many artifacts were recovered in almost proper condition.

Things to do around here: You can also visit the nearby Lovelock Cave that overlooks the Humboldt Sink. The sink is the remains of Lake Lahontan that once flooded the Humboldt Cave. 

Hours of operation: Not recorded

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Exploring Nevada caves is like entering a whole new world surrounded by unique cave formations or fascinating history. Another cave worth mentioning is the Spirit Cave, located in the foothills of the Stillwater Mountains near Grimes Point. It is well known for the two sets of mummies discovered here in 1940. One of them was called Spirit Cave Mummy, which is more than 9000 years old and the oldest in North America. In addition to these, numerous artifacts have also been found that are over 2000 years old.

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