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Lava River Cave, Bend

4.4
#3 of 13 in Nature in Bend
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 Traveler Rating
350 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • August 11, 2017
    The cave is so nice and cool compared to the surface. You can feel the layers of cold outside of the cave as you walk down to the entry. The first part of the walk has some rocky/uneven trail surface,...  more »
  • August 10, 2017
    The lava River cavein Oregon was amazing. Walk on your own through the mile long cave after a brief intro and safety talk from rangers. Definitely rent a lantern for each person in your group 5$ each ...  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    Went later in the day with less people. Dark spooky and loads of fun. Pretty cold in there. Take a sweater.  more »
Google
  • June 10, 2017
    It was nice experience. Make sure you don't wear any clothing which you wore to another cave. The staff was friendly and gave us a small orientation, history and guidance. Get your headlamps or rent them. It's a 2mile RT walk/hike. Gets cold as you go deep into the cave. Its pretty cool.
  • May 14, 2017
    You can't tell from the outside but this cave is spectacularly cool. Dress warm as there is a big temperature change going into the cave. The staff is friendly and they have some rules that you must follow. You can rent flashlights or lanterns or you can bring your own ,don't forget your parking pass as it will help you with access into the cave. Right now the freeway sign says it's closed but they are open. Have a good time, a must see if in Bend.
  • June 19, 2017
    Its a lave cave so not as spectacular as a cave formed by water. But it can be a fun outing especially if you have kids old enough to take a short cave hike. Bring a mutiple headlamps or flashlights or rent them on site. Maybe bring a light jacket as it is cool in the cave. And bring a bottle of water.
  • May 9, 2017
    Pretty neat. The rangers at the entrance were friendly and informative, and they had rentable flashlights and gear. There was an area to dust off your shoes afterward. The cave itself was massive and awe-inspiring, but in comparison to some other caves it lacked substance of stuff to actually look at inside.
  • June 4, 2017
    It's great places to explore. It's good idea to bring your own good flashlight or rent one at the entrance. It's about 2 miles in and out.

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Where to stay in Bend

Since many people come to Bend to experience the outdoors, it's no surprise that many lodges and bed and breakfasts here are designed to resemble log cabins. Consider a stay near the scenic Deschutes River for scenic views. You'll find a few chain hotels with comfortable standard rooms in the downtown area.
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