Things To Do In Central Oregon – Lava River Cave Interpretive Site

Oregon is known for its history of volcanic activity and the buttes, caves, and craters that have formed over time. The Deschutes National Forest is an expansive wonderland in the heart of Central Oregon that provides visitors with jaw-dropping surroundings and ample adventure opportunities.

Among our favorite adventures in the forest is the Lava River Cave Interpretive Site, one of the first lava tubes discovered in Central Oregon! The Lava River Cave is one of the most impressive remnants of volcanic eruptions past as it is a mile long and takes an hour and a half to explore.

After parking and descending 55 stairs, you will walk across boardwalks, uneven surfaces, and additional stairways until you reach the cave. Lanterns can be rented to help assist you navigate through the cave. It is recommended to wear comfortable, close-toed shoes and warm clothing as the cave maintains a temperature of 42 degrees Fahrenheit.

The entrance appears to be a hole in the ground but as you enter the cave, the trail dips down into a series of volcanic rocks bridged by stairs. If you time it just right, you may see some icy stalactites and stalagmites left over from the cold winter months. As you make it through the “Collapse Corridor” and ascend to the main portion of the trail, you may hear a series of eerie echoes as you walk through “Echo Hall”. No need to worry though, it’s only the conversations of fellow visitors reverberating off the volcanic ceilings and walls!

You’ll next find yourself in “Low Bridge Lane” known for its unique shiny surfaces before traveling through “Two Tube Tunnel” and “Sand Gardens”, a mysterious area of the trail where sand covers the cave floor. Sand provides mysteries until the end of the trail as a sand plug cuts the tube off from further exploration. Just how long does the tube extend beyond the sand plug? Nobody knows!

To learn more about the Lava River Cave, view the Forest Service’s online brochure. Remember to check which times of the year certain features of the forest are accessible before planning your visit.

If you need a place to stay while exploring the cave and Deschutes National Forest, we have some great news for you! Our Shelter Cove RV Resort & Marina is currently offering promotional codes good towards upcoming stays! The promotions can be viewed here, here, and here!

Happy travels from the team at Highway West Vacations!