Explore A Lava Tube Cave All At This Underrated Oregon Park
If you’re looking for a cave in Oregon to explore, then you can’t miss
Lava River Cave near Bend. This volcanic cave was formed about 80,000 years ago and it is the longest continuous lava tube in the state. It’s 5,211 feet long so there’s a lot to explore. Read on to learn more.
Lava River Cave is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and is managed by the United States Forest Service. It was created by lava flowing downhill from a volcanic vent as the lava traveled toward the Deschutes River. As the lava flowed, the top of it crusted over and hardened, and the lava continued to travel underground.
When the volcanic eruption stopped, the lava drained and the cave is the space that was left behind. Today, you can walk down into it and explore the cave.
Once the space cooled, part of the roof collapsed. This created an opening so humans and animals can enter it.
There are actually two sections to the cave. The part that goes downhill is 5,211 feet long - that's almost a mile! The other direction is not open to the public due to loose rock in the ceiling. It goes uphill for 1,560 feet from the cave opening.
The cave is not uniform throughout. There are high sections and low sections. The lowest section you'll walk through is under six feet high.
The tallest section, however, has a 58 foot ceiling. It's also 50 feet wide at this point.
About 3,000 feet into the cave, there's a section in which the floor is covered with sand. This sand is actually volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Mazama 6,600 years ago. Rain and melting snow brought the ash into the cave one grain at a time.
You'll be amazed at some of the things you see while exploring this cave. It's really quite beautiful.
Inside the cave, the temperature is a constant 42 degrees all year, so be sure to bring a jacket.
You can rent lanterns at the cave entrance. The end of the cave is very low; if you wish to go to the very end, you'll have to crawl on your hands and knees. It's like this for 310 feet.
If you want to visit Lava River Cave, keep in mind that it's closed for much of the year, so plan accordingly. This is because the bats who live in the cave hibernate for the winter. If they awake during their long sleep, they may die from the sudden energy expenditure. Therefore, you'll need to visit this cave during the summer months.
Lava River Cave is a unique adventure that everyone should check out. You’ll love walking through this lava tube; it’s like nothing else in the world!
If you’re looking for more things to do while you’re in the Bend area, check out this post for some ideas:
Bend, Oregon, Is One Of The Best Towns In America To Visit When The Weather Is Warm
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Lava River Cave, Bend, OR 97707, USA