Nature & Science

Public Cave Access Information

The Deschutes National Forest has more than 350 caves. To protect sensitive cave resources, below are most of the caves that have seasonal or year-round closures. All other caves are open unless posted closed or gated at the cave. Please contact the Deschutes NF at 541-383-4785 if you have questions.

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Closed October 1 through April 30

  • Lava River Cave* - Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District *please click on the link for visitation schedule
  • Skylight Cave - Sisters Ranger District

Closed year-round

Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District

  • Skeleton Cave - private tour available (commercial), May 1 to September 30
  • Wind Cave
  • Deg Cave
  • Charcoal Cave #1
  • Bat Cave
  • Charlie the Cave
  • Lavacicle Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave - closed year-round to climbing and bouldering, but access through the cave is permitted year-round

Climbing/Bouldering

  • Skeleton Cave - open May 1 through September 30 to bouldering outside of gate at cave entrance.
  • Hidden Forest Cave - closed year-round to climbing/bouldering, but access through the cave is permitted year-round
  • Use of chalk, hand drying agents, and installation of fixed anchors is not permitted in caves or at cave entries.

Cave with Care: Keep It Clean!

Central Oregon has the highest concentration of caves in the state. Almost all are lava tubes, formed by pahoehoe (pronounced puh hoi hoi), a type of extremely hot, smooth basaltic lava that streams quickly across the land. These lava tubes are unique and fragile resources. Help us keep caving safe and enjoyable for everyone.

Bring these with you into the cave:

  • A conservation ethic
  • Three sources of light and extra batteries
  • A friend or two. Do not cave alone.
  • Knowledge of your personal limits
  • Water and food
  • Caving helmet, long pants, sturdy boots and gloves
  • Layered clothing: cave temperatures are 33 to 50 degrees
  • As little gear as possible but enough to still be safe
  • Non-glass containers to pack out food and body waste

DON'T bring these. The following items and activities are prohibited in caves (36 CFR 261)

  • Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire
  • Camping
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass containers
  • Domestic animals with the exception of a service dog in Lava River Cave, provided service dog waste is promptly removed
  • Depositing any bodily waste in caves
  • Using any hand-drying agent (chalk or substances)
  • Installing or using any permanent or temporary anchors (bolted hangars, quick draws, etc.)
  • Possessing any paint
  • Operating an internal combustion engine
  • Mountain bike or motorized vehicle
  • Leaving abandoned property inside a cave including geocached items
  • Vandalizing, tampering with, or removing any cave resource or cave feature including cave gates