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Lava River Cave, Bend

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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
  • The experience begins with a lantern rentals and ends with a sense of wonder as you ascend back up to the visitor's center. The walk through the Lava Tube is just rugged enough to feel like an adventu...  more »
  • If you're a happy visitor of natural places and spaces and you like underground / cave environments... definitely check this out. If you're not sure, you may not get much out of it. The footing is ver...  more »
  • This is an unusual lava cave as it is very smooth relatively flat, so an easy hike. It is not a loop so you hike in an out. It's also helpful to bring a headlamp or other source of light although you ...  more »