There's No Other Cave In The World Quite Like This One In Oregon
Located at the Newberry National Volcanic Monument near Bend, the Lava River Cave is an incredible natural wonder — and an amazing day trip destination. This stunning cave is the longest intact lava tube Oregon, and one mile of it can be explored on a unique underground hike.
The Lava River Cave is open to visitors during the warm months, and the journey through it is absolutely out of this world.
A 1-mile trail will lead you down a long staircase descending deep into the earth before flattening out and opening up to the stunning lava tube.
In some places, the cave's walls reach 50 feet wide and 58 feet tall.
You'll pass echoing caverns, amazing geological formations, stalactites, and more. One unique feature of the cave is a section called the Sand Garden, where the cave floor is covered with 6,600-year-old volcanic ash from the ancient eruption of Mt Mazama -- the same eruption that formed Oregon's iconic Crater Lake.
The cave is estimated to be around 80,000 years old, and it was first "discovered" by a pioneer who stumbled upon the cave while hunting in 1889. It's very likely, however, that Native Americans already knew of the cave, as numerous ancient artifacts have been found in the area.
You'll want to bring along battery-powered lanterns, flashlights, and/or headlamps to light your way through. The excursion usually takes about and an hour and a half, so make sure your batteries and charged beforehand. You can also rent lanterns from the visitor center, located near the cave's entrance.
The cave's temperature consistently averages 42 degrees year-round, so be sure to dress warmly. Because of a disease that affects cave-dwelling bats, the Forest Service asks that visitors refrain from wearing or bringing anything that has been inside of any other caves.
Visitors can access the caves from May – September. There’s a $5 day pass parking fee, and a visitor center where you can learn about the cave and rent gear.
The Lava River Cave is located just off Highway 97, about 12 miles south of Bend, within the Newberry Volcanic National Monument.
Find out about more amazing caves to explore in Oregon
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