Have you ever been to the Oregon Caves?
I’m a native Oregonian, and I’ve lived in Oregon most of my life, yet I went to the Oregon Caves for the first time last month. Is that unusual? I don’t know. But what I do know, now, is that the Oregon Caves are beautiful both inside and out.
Officially called “Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve,” the caves sit in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. It is a beautiful location with numerous trails heading off into the forest from the Oregon Caves Chateau. A bonus is the 20 mile drive from Cave Junction to the Oregon Caves parking lot. The road curves and swoops through the forest; getting to the Caves is part of the pleasure.
Touring the Caves
Our reason for going to the Oregon Caves was to see the caves themselves and we were not disappointed. Unlike other subterranean adventures we’ve been on — like the lava tubes at Lava Bed National Monument south of Klamath Falls — the Oregon Caves can only been experienced with a guided tour. There has also been a lot of work done within the caves to help with exploring, like lights and stairs.
The tour through the caves is well-worth the time (about 1 1/2 hours) and definitely worth the nominal cost. We got to learn about the caves as we experienced them. (Did you know they are formed from marble?) More adventurous people will want to check out the off-trail cave tour or the candle light tour.
Also, you do NOT need a flashlight, but do take something to keep you warm in the 44-degree cave. There are a lot of steps, uneven ground, and some low points to duck through, but no one in our tour group appeared to have a problem.
After your tour of the cave you’ll have an above-ground walk (about .3 mile) back to the Chateau. We highly recommend the longer route (about .7 mile) up over the caves along the Cliff Nature Trail with spectacular views over the hill tops.
We went to the Oregon Caves to tour through the caves. The trails that branched out into the forest were an added bonus, as was the historic chateau. When you go, be sure to save time to check out the coffee shop at the chateau and buy yourself a milkshake. Seriously, get the milkshake, I can’t stress that enough…..