Nebraska February 03, 2018
The One Nebraska Cave That’s Filled With Ancient Mysteries
Every state has its secrets, and Nebraska is no exception. This intriguing cave located in far southeastern Nebraska holds ancient mysteries that we may never truly unravel.
Indian Cave State Park, near Shubert, is one of the area's most beautiful outdoor areas. There are 22 miles of hiking and biking trails crisscrossing the wooded grounds, and there's even a ghost town within the park's 3,000 acres.
The main attraction, however, is the wide, shallow sandstone cave for which the park is named. In a state with few caves, this distinctive geological feature stands out.
The cave has been estimated to be around 12,000 years old, and it was most likely formed by the forces of weather and erosion from the nearby Missouri River.
The soft sandstone is common in this part of the state. Another notable place to experience these uniquely beautiful cliffs is in Peru, Nebraska, where a local man
used the soft stone as a canvas for his art.
The Peru artist wasn't the first to notice what a fine medium the sandstone makes, however. The walls of the cave at Indian Cave State Park feature faded petroglyphs from hundreds of years ago.
The petroglyphs have been estimated to be as old as several thousand years. This is the only place they are found in Nebraska, and there has always been an air of mystery around the carvings.
The mystery of the place derives from the unknown origin of the petroglyphs. They aren't easily associated with any specific culture or time period.
Because the cave was used as shelter for so long and by so many groups of people, it's difficult to pin down exactly how old the carvings are or who made them.
Unfortunately, the cultural and historical significance of the petroglyphs wasn't recognized and protected soon enough. Modern people have been carving their own pictures and initials into the stone for decades, largely obscuring those ancient pictures.
Today, the cave is protected by railings. A wooden walkway lets visitors walk along its length and hunt for the faded petroglyphs among the natural and human-made marks on the stone surface.
The rest of the park is the perfect place to hike, bike, or camp while you're pondering the origins of those unique cave carvings. This is one of the loveliest hiking spots in southeastern Nebraska.
The spectacular Missouri River overlook is a wonderful place to end your day at the park. It's at its most magnificent in the fall, but there are really no bad views from up here.
Find Indian Cave State Park at 65296 720 Rd, Shubert, NE. For more information on the park and the many, many activities you can enjoy there,
To learn about more of Nebraska’s treasures, read
this list of 10 historical places everyone should visit.
Address: 65296 720 Rd, Shubert, NE 68437, USA