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Lava River Cave, Bend

(4.5/5 based on 300+ reviews on the web)
The Lava River Cave near Bend, Oregon, is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, which is managed by the United States Forest Service. The cave is an excellent example of a lava tube. At 5,211 feet (1,588 m) in length, the northwest section of the cave is the longest continuous lava tube in Oregon. While the cave’s discovery in 1889 was officially credited to a pioneer hunter, the presence of obsidian flakes near the cave has led archaeologists to conclude that Native Americans knew about the cave long before settlers arrived in central Oregon.The cave is located at.GeologyThe eruption which formed this Lava River Cave occurred about 80,000 years ago. The source is believed to be near Mokst Butte southeast of the entrance. The same volcanic flow that formed the cave underlies much of the Bend area and almost reaches Redmond, Oregon. However, the specific vent that created the cave has been buried by several younger flows. The Lava River Cave was created by lava flowing downhill from a volcanic vent. The lava flowed northwest from the vent toward the Deschutes River. The flow began as a river of lava flowing in an open channel. Eventually, a lava crust solidified over the top of the flowing lava. This formed a roof over the river, enclosing it in a lava tunnel or tube. When the eruption from the vent stopped, the lava drained out of the tube leaving a lava tube cave behind. After the cave cooled, a section of its roof collapsed. This collapsed section provided the entrance to both the uphill (southeast) and downhill (northwest) cave sections.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • It is an actual lava tube cave.. come prepared ( dress warm, good sturdy shoes, flashlights).. you will have a great time. We have brought kids of many ages, everyone has a great time.. Take as long o...  more »
  • This cave provided a nice cool "hike" for the kids on a hot day. It is just not that beautiful. If you have been to any other caves in the surrounding states, you will be greatly disappointed. If you ...  more »
  • We had a group of 12-14 people that did a self guided tour through the cave when camping at Sun River. It was a neat experience and a welcomed retreat from the hot weather. The kids did dress warm but...  more »
Google
  • Really fun place to visit. A relatively flat and easy hike in and out, bring good shoes as terrain is uneven in many places. Rental flashlights available for a very reasonable rate at the entry. Be sure to check for closure dates and times as it's been closed down several times when I tried to visit in the past.
  • It's a pretty cool cave, but on busy tourist summer weekends, prepare to deal with some heavy foot traffic. Trail is pretty well maintained, however it can pose fairly challenging to the younger ones in some places. It definitely stays cool inside so be sure to dress warm and wear shoes suitable for traversing across rocks. Flashlights and lanterns are rentable from the check-in booth as well, which comes in handy if you're just stopping by while in the area.
  • Lots of fun. Dress warm! It's a cool 45 degrees even when it's 95 outside. Parking lot was full, but didn't have to wait too long for a spot to open up. Hike was fairly quick. Would not recommend wearing flip-flops or sandals.
  • We took this in as a part of a road trip adventure and we were not disappointed. The Rangers were great, and the cost of admission and the light rentals were minimal. If you are interested in the geological makeup of the Cascades and Oregon, this is right up your alley. Watch your step!
  • It was cold and dark. Bring a light for each person or rent on site to support the park. Also bring water and a sweatshirt. Takes about one and a half to two hours round trip. Very neat place.