Oregon Caves

Oregon Caves Chateau (photo from the National Park Service)

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.

Inside the Oregon Caves.

Inside the Oregon Caves.

 

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.

Oregon Caves Overlook

Oregon Caves Overlook along the Cliff Nature Trail.

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.

Oregon Caves Coffee Shop

In the coffee shop at Oregon Caves Chateau. I don’t think it’s changed since it was built in the 1930s.

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…..

 

Cabell Marsh: Finley National Wildlife Refuge
Prune Hill Historical

Comments

  1. Milkshake? Did you say milkshake? What flavor? This is probably the most vital part to my planning a revisit. I apparently missed out when I went for a warm drink in the past to unthaw. New plan, shake, then AC stroll thru stalactites, then veiw deer who always seem to be waiting at cave exit, then cocoa. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

    • The milkshakes were amazing! They are the old fashioned kind with real ice cream. Definitely worth planning around. It was in the 90s when we were there — including the .7 mile walk back to the Chateau from the cave exit along the Cliff Nature Trail so I was ready for something cool. I got chocolate and sat in the sun. It was pure bliss.

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