Some of the world’s best destinations are often depicted as glamorous, luxurious, and breathtaking. What outdoor enthusiasts know best is that even the muddiest slopes can be as breathtaking, only if you know where to look. Kentucky’s Horse Cave is one such wonder. Cave trekking has always been one of man’s primitive delights, and rediscovery of the exploration never fails to leave one feel breathless. The hike towards the hollow may be a slippery, muddy, and grimy one, but once you see the rocky formations, hear your whispers echo through the void, or, if lucky, paddle through crystalline rivers deep within the chamber, you know the harsh journey was worth it. Located in Hart County, the city of Horse Cave is also home to several other attractions. Visit the city, and see that the trek is not as hard as you first imagined it to be.
As the largest employer of retail businesses like Dart Container, the fruit of its labor has resulted to several man-made attractions, apart from the natural formations of the Hidden River Cave. Horse Cave is home to the American Cave Museum and the Kentucky Repertory Theatre, formally regarded as the Horse Cave Theatre. During the turn of the millennium, the city was honored as a Kentucky Silver Renaissance City. Its main street and strip of buildings has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The city has also created a unique walking tour. Using mobile phones, tourists can enter the tour stop numbers and join free guided tours. Book your Horse Cave Hotels with Reservations.com.
When to Visit
The special event of Horse Cave Heritage Festival is held every third weekend of September. It is known for its focus on local crafts, farm machineries, and quality musical entertainment. Part of its catch is antique car shows, kids arcades, historic walking tours, and agricultural exhibits.
- Obviously, Horse Cave is best known for its massive natural opening located just south of the Main Street. The origins of the name remain to be uncertain up to present. One theory states that Native Americans used the cave as hiding places for their horses.
- Another story tells of a lost horse which separated from its carriage. The horse was thought to fall into the cave’s opening. A stranger story claims that intelligent albino horses used a hoof Morse Code to communicate to each other. In the 19th century, the term horse was a synonym for the adjective huge. Hoss is Swedish for ‘big in spirit’ or ‘big in stature’.
- Many buildings found along Main Street derive their natural air conditioning from the cave. During World War I, the cave’s entrance boasted of the only air-conditioned tennis courts in the world.
- The cave is home to a fast-flowing river. Because of this, the cave has also been called the Hidden River Cave. The current of the river powered a dynamo, and was the only town in Kentucky to have electric lights in the late 19th century.
Located on Main Street, the American Cave Museum showcases Horse Cave’s natural history. Exhibits include facts about bats, photo gallery of America’s caves, Saltpeter Mining in Kentucky, the story of Floyd Collins, Cave Wars, Cave Lighting, and prehistoric cave explorers, and modern cave exploration among others.