Lava River Cave Interpretive Site


Photo of the entrance of lava river cave.

Explore a mile-long lava tube. Lava River Cave offers self-guided exploration of a mile-long lava tube. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to tour the entire cave. Initial access descends 55 stairs to a combination of flat boardwalk, uneven surfaces and stairways. In the interest of preventing the spread of White-nose Syndrome to bats that reside in the Cave, we ask that you not wear or bring into the cave any clothing or gear you have used in any other cave or mine. Please wear close-toed shoes and warm clothing. Average temperature in the Cave is 42 degrees Farenheit.

Learn more about Lava River Cave by downloading this brochure.

No pets are allowed in Lava River Cave.


Recreation Fee Site: Parking at this site requires a recreation pass May 1 – September 30. Passes are available at this site, but can also be purchased from Forest Service offices or vendors. Please check here for more information about recreation passes and where they can be purchased.

Acceptable passes include:

  • $5 Day Pass
  • Northwest Forest Pass
  • Interagency Annual Pass
  • Interagency Senior Pass (America the Beautiful, Golden Age)
  • Interagency Access Pass
  • Interagency Military Pass
  • Every Kid in a Park Pass
  • Northwest Forest ePass

At a Glance

Operational Hours: 2016 Operating Season Gate closes at 4 p.m., Arrive before 11 a.m. on weekends and peak summer season to improve your likelihood of securing parking.  Access to Lava River Cave is only allowed during the staffed operating season shown here.
  • May 1 - May 23  Thursday - Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • May 26 - September 5, Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • September 6 - 30, Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • October 1 -  CLOSED to the public for the season to protect bat populations. 
Fees $5/vehicle/day from May 1 through September 30 Tour bus fee: Fifteen people or less = $25.00, Twenty five people = $50.00, Over 25 people = $100. Light Rentals: Rent a light or lantern for $5 until 4 p.m.
Open Season: May - September
Busiest Season: July-August
Closest Towns: Bend, Sunriver, or La Pine - Oregon
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Passes: Recreation Passes for recreation fee program are available at Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava River Cave Welcome Station.
Information Center: Lava Lands Visitor Center 

General Information


General Directions:

From Bend, OR travel south on Highway 97 to Exit 151/Cottonwood Rd. Turn left after exiting and proceed through underpass following signs to Lava River Cave. Cave is about 1 mile down the road on your left.

From La Pine, OR travel north on Highway 97. Take Exit 151/Cottonwood Rd. Turn right after exiting. Continue on road about 1 mile to Lava River Cave on your left. If you miss Exit 151, proceed north to Exit 143 Baker/Knot Rd. and follow southbound directions.

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Lava River Cave is an example of an ancient lava tunnel.  The cave is part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, which is managed by the U.S. Forest Service.  The cave temperature is a constant 42 degrees, so wear warm clothing.  This one mile cave is one of the longest lava tubes in Oregon and offers self-guided exploration.  It takes approximately 1.5 hours to tour the entire site.

In the interest of preventing the spread of White-nose Syndrome to bats residing in the cave, we ask that you not wear or carry any clothing or equipment that you have worn or used in a cave or mine outside of Oregon or Washington.

Hours of Operation: 9am-5pm Gate closes at 4:00pm
Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate
Rental info: Propane lanterns available for rent on site. $5 per lantern. You must be over 14 years old to carry a lantern.

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