Lava River Cave Interpretive Site
Lava River Cave, part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, offers self-guided exploration of a mile-long lava tube. The cave was one of the first lava tubes to be discovered in Oregon and is the longest one in the state. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to tour the entire cave (~2.2 miles roundtrip). Initial access descends 55 stairs to a combination of flat boardwalk, uneven surfaces and stairways. Entrance to Lava River Cave is not permitted outside of the operating season and hours in order to protect critical bat habitat.
- In the interest of preventing the spread of White-nose syndrome to bats that reside in the Cave, we ask that you do 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.
- We strongly encourage visitors to bring or rent two light sources. This is the safest way to experience and enjoy the cave.
- No pets are allowed in Lava River Cave.
Learn about the geology and history of Lava River Cave!
Recreation Fee Site: Parking at this site requires a $5/vehicle payment or a valid recreation pass. Passes are available at this site, but can also be purchased from Forest Service offices or vendors. See "Passes" below for more information.
Timed Reservation Tickets The Lava River Cave Timed Reservation Tickets System is in effect annually from opening in early May to closing on September 15. The 30-day rolling release begins April 5, for visiting on May 5, 2023. April 6, releases reservations for May 6, and so on. Tickets will become available for reservation at 7 a.m. PST each day.
Lava River Cave consistently receives an average of 70,000 visitors during the operational season. High-volume visitation often far exceeds designed parking capacity. The Lava River Cave Timed Reservation Tickets System will provide visitors with the ability to plan ahead by securing their timeslot for parking at Lava River Cave ahead of arrival.
Timed reservations for Lava River Cave are available on Recreation.gov. Each timeslot allows access to Lava River Cave for 2 hours when Lava River Cave is open. Beginning April 5, 2023, approximately 50% of the tickets will be available on a rolling 30-day booking window. The remaining 50% will be available on a 24-hour booking window. A total of 14 daily entry blocks will be available every thirty minutes starting at 9 a.m. with the last block at 3 p.m. (10 a.m. – 2 p.m. in May).
At a Glance
|Operational Hours:||2023 Operating Season
|Open Season:||May 6, 2022 - September 15, 2022|
|Closest Towns:||Bend / Sunriver / La Pine|
|Passes:||Recreation Fee Site: Parking at this site requires a $5 payment or a recreation pass May through September. Please check here for more information about recreation passes and where they can be purchased. Recreation Passes are also available at the Lava Lands and Lava River Cave Welcome Stations. Acceptable passes include:
|Information Center:||Lava Lands Visitor Center
58201 S. Hwy. 97
Bend, OR 97707
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.
Map showing recreational areas. Map Information
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.
|Difficulty Level:||Easy to Intermediate|
The scarcity and spaciousness of Central Oregon's Lava Lands create an area of striking beauty both above and below ground. Large areas are covered by lava flows. These rivers of rock consist of basalt which is a molten lava that spreads quickly and sometimes flowed up to 70 miles. Great tunnels wind through many of these flows and suggest that awesome forces of nature were once at work. These ancient lava tunnels (called tubes) are one of the area's most interesting secrets.