Would it surprise you--if you are a Kentuckian--if ANYONE told you this city or that neighborhood or this jewelry sits over a cave if that city, neighborhood, or jewelry store is in central or south central Kentucky?

It wouldn't me, either. But if you're a Kentuckian NOT of longstanding, it just might surprise you to learn just how intricate the Commonwealth's cave system really is. It ain't called Mammoth Cave for nothin'.

The KY City With the Prehistoric Cave Beneath Its Surface

It most certainly wouldn't surprise anyone, Kentuckian or not, if the town in question is named Horse Cave and is about 15 minutes from the Mammoth Cave entrance. Yes, those not in the know, Horse Cave heavily leans into its cave heritage to the delight of historians and tourists alike. What you see ABOVE the ground is a bonus; Horse Cave is another one of many beautiful small towns in Kentucky.

But most people who spend any length of time in Horse Cave will likely pay a visit to its main attraction. The Hidden River Cave, like the rest of the caves in Kentucky, has been under Horse Cave for millions of years, even if Horse Cave hasn't.

The Origins of KY's Hidden River Cave Are Shrouded in Mystery

I love that this cave is right there in the downtown area. Also cool? That mysterious staircase to nowhere. It makes Hidden River Cave look like it began as a sinkhole and swallowed up whatever was on the surface. That well may be true, but the origins of the cave remain shrouded in mystery.

Hidden River Cave doesn’t have any sort of grand “this is how it was discovered” story; in fact, we don’t even know the exact year it was found! We do know, though, that people were exploring the cave by the late 1800s and that it was the towns main water source through the 1900s.

So we know it's been well over 100 years since Hidden River Cave's discovery, and this presentation from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet proves that it's been a hot ticket practically since day one:

Another great Hidden River Cave feature? It's a comfortable 58 degrees year-round, regardless of what it's like topside. So any season is a great time to visit and also enjoy the rest of what south central Kentucky has to offer.

See Incredible Photos from Inside Kentucky's Mammoth Cave

The world's longest cave system is located in Kentucky, and it is absolutely worth the short drive from the Tri-State to take a tour and see these incredible sights. Here are some photos taken by Photo by Kevin L. Bruner during a trip to Mammoth Cave.

Gallery Credit: Melissa Awesome

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