Nature & Science

Public Cave Access Information

PDF version of Cave Forest Order

Lava River Cave

  • Closed from September 15 through April 30 (winter closure), or until the beginning of the open season, whichever is latest
  • Closed between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. from May 1 to September 14, or after the end of open season, whichever is earliest
  • The last 300 feet of the west tube (west tube, show cave) is closed
  • The gated east tube of the cave is closed year-round
  • Climbing or bouldering of any kind if prohibited 

Skeleton Cave

  • Entering or being in the cave is prohibited year-round
  • Climbing or bouldering of any kind inside or outside the gate at the cave entrance from September 15 through April 30 is prohibited

Hidden Forest Cave

  • Climbing or bouldering of any kind within the cave is prohibited

Closed year-round

  • Bat Cave
  • Charcoal Cave #1
  • Charlie the Cave (both upper and lower chambers)
  • Deg Cave
  • Eternity Cave
  • Infinity Cave
  • Lavacicle Cave
  • Skeleton Cave
  • Wind Cave

Closed from September 15 through April 30 (winter closure)

  • Arnold Ice Cave
  • Lee's Cave
  • Lower Quartz Mountain Cave
  • Skylight Cave

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. View a map of decontamination zones here.

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