Lava River Cave Interpretive Site


Area Status: Open
Photo of stairs leading into Lava River Cave

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.

At a Glance

Current Conditions: There’s a new approach to visitor management at Lava River Cave! In order to prevent overcrowding and provide a more enjoyable visitor experience, we are closing the gate periodically when our parking lot is full. If you encounter a closed gate, do not despair as we monitor the situation very closely and will re-open the gate regularly throughout the day as space becomes available. During peak hours, expect wait times of up to an half hour or more.
Operational Hours: 2022 Operating Season
  • May 6 - May 31 | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Thursday - Monday (Closed Tuesday / Wednesday)
  • June 1 - September 15 | 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. | Open 7 days/week
Fees:
  • Day use: $5/vehicle/day - purchase a day ePass or any other valid recreation pass
  • Commercial fee:
    15 people or less = $25
    25 people = $50
    25 people or more = $100
  • Light Rentals: Available for $5 until 4pm.
  • School/Education groups: Please book your tour in advance with our forest partner, Discover Your Forest
Open Season: May 6, 2022 - September 15, 2022
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions:
  • Do NOT wear or bring into the cave any clothing or gear you have used in any other cave or mine. This is to help prevent the spread of White-nose syndrome to bats that reside in the Cave.
  • No pets are allowed in Lava River Cave.
Closest Towns: Bend / Sunriver / La Pine
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
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
(541) 593-2421

General Information

Directions:

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.


Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information

Activities

Caving

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

Visitor Programs

Interpretive Areas

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.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Latitude : 
43.89532

  Longitude : 
-121.36844

  Elevation : 
4500