Nebraska August 14, 2015
Going Into These 4 Caves In Nebraska Is Like Entering Another World
Nebraska is definitely not known for its spelunking opportunities, but there are a few caves hiding out in this prairie state.
1. Indian Cave, Indian Cave State Park
The Indian Cave is probably the best-known cave in Nebraska, particularly since an entire state park is named after it. The ancient cave once served as shelter for Native Americans who left behind petroglyphs carved into the soft sandstone. Unfortunately, visitors over the years have left their own marks on the walls as well, ruining many of these historic markings.
2. Happy Jack Chalk Mine
This man-made cave is a former diatomite mine and a site of paleontological interest. The walls of the mine display wonderfully preserved ancient mammal burrows; in fact, it's one of the best places in the world to see these ancient burrows.
3. The Cave at Ash Hollow State Historical Park
Native Americans utilized this cave as shelter and a base camp for hunting expeditions. The ample trees and water supply in the area made it an ideal place to hunker down. Cave excavations have shown evidence of occupation by multiple cultures over a span of 1500 years. Today, a long path in the park leads to the cave's entrance.
4. Robbers Cave, Lincoln
This cave was made by thousands of years of water eroding the limestone. Pawnee people used the cave for spiritual practices, and it is thought that the cave was once a stop on the underground railroad. Local legend has it that Jesse James hid out in the cave while he was on the run from the law, though historians have said that's almost certainly untrue. The cave was open for exploration until it was sealed in the 1970s. It has been opened and closed several times since then, and currently is not open to the public. Lincoln-based Blue Blood Brewery plans to move to the property this fall and open the cave to customers periodically for special beer night events.
There are also said to be plenty of small caves on private property in Southwest Nebraska. These caves were used as temporary shelters by ancient Native Americans and as hideouts by bootleggers during Prohibition. The caves aren’t open for exploration, but it’s kind of fun to know they’re out there. Let us know, Nebraska explorers: are there any other caves out there?