Grimes Point Hidden Cave

Round Trip Distance: 1 mile
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 3937 - 4084 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Hidden Cave
Fee: none
Attractions: caves, rock art

The Grimes Point Archaeological Area is located near Fallen, Nevada. The area is managed by the BLM to protect the archaeological resources that include hundreds of ancient petroglyphs that are found on basalt boulders in the area, mostly along the Petroglyph trail, as well as a handful of previously inhabited caves that are about one mile away in the Hidden Cave area.

To get to the trailhead drive east from Fallen on US Highway 50 for 10 miles and turn left at the sign for Grimes Point. The parking area for the Petroglyph trail is at the end of the paved road to the right. Continue straight on the gravel road for 1 mile to get to the Hidden Cave trailhead.

There are several gaps in the fence around the parking area that lead to trails. The main route is an interpretive trail that has numbered posts with plaques that provide some very useful information. Unfortunately from the kiosk there is nothing that points to the start of the interpretive trail and many people end up following the route behind the kiosk which is the most direct approach to get to Hidden Cave itself and they miss out on the first 3 or 4 interpretive stops which include some nice petroglyphs and Picnic Cave.

To get started on the interpretive trail either go right at the kiosk or head through the gap in the southwest corner of the fence as you leave the parking area. This route will lead past some petroglyphs and on up to Picnic cave before merging back with the trail that runs straight up from the trailhead.

The first station along the interpretive trail is a stop at some cool looking petroglyphs that include a few lizards.

Be sure to check out the back side of the boulder so you don't miss any.

The most interesting aspect of Picnic Cave is the 'calcium carbonate secretions left behind by underwater algae' creating a meteogen travertine known as tufa. Tufa gets confused with volcanic tuff which is rock that is formed from the deposition of volcanic ash. In fact, until we visited Picnic Cave and did some research on the delightful looking encrustations that line its ceiling we also had less of an understanding about the difference between tuff and tufa.

The interpretive trail merges with the trail to Hidden Cave at station number 5. Before getting to this spot though Station 4 is interesting as it mentions the huge Ice Age lake called Pleistocene Lake Lahontan that filled all the interconnecting valleys in the region. Those that are unfamiliar with the Great Basin itself also learn that any  precipitation that occurs here drains internally and never reaches the ocean. Apparently the area is land locked and there are no rivers that flow to the outside.

From there the route curves around the side of the mountain and heads back in the direction of the valley below. An observant hiker should be able to notice a few petroglyphs on some of the rocks along the way.

A short spur leads up to Hidden Cave which has a locked metal door over its entrance. The cave is only accessible during one of the free tours that the BLM offers on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month. If interested be at the Churchill County Museum in Fallen at 9:30 am on one of those days where they watch a special tour video before heading out to Hidden Cave.

From Hidden Cave the trail drops back down to the valley where there is another spur trail that continues around the point of the mountain and leads to Burnt Cave.

Some faint pictographs are still visible just inside the cave. Like many ruins throughout the southwest the cavern of the cave appears to have been backfilled after its archaeological excavation.

The Hidden Cave interpretive trail requires a little more walking than the Petroglyph trail at Grimes Point but its always nice when visiting rock art sites to find where the people that made them lived while they were in the area. The extra knowledge helps to form a bedrock upon which to view the ancient past. Even if not in the area at a time that would have allowed touring Hidden Cave the interpretive trail still provides enough of an experience and useful information to make the visit worthwhile. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.