Lava River Cave Interpretive Site

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

Photo of the entrance of lava river cave.

2021 Season - Visitors will be required to follow current CDC guidance for mask wearing and social distancing while visiting Lava River Cave. As this guidance is fluid, requirements may change throughout the summer. Visitors should be aware that it may be impossible to maintain distance of 6’ or more with others when underground. This year the cave experience will end approximately halfway through the full length of the cave at an area known as the sand garden. Visitors should plan on being underground for less than one hour.

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.

We strongly enocourage visitors to bring or rent two light sources. This is the safest way to experience and enjoy the cave.

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. 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: 2021 Season - Lava River Cave will open on May 20, 2021 with daily operations thru Sunday August 22, 2021.  The site will close on August 23, 2021 for the rest of the season for construction activities to improve access to the cave. For COVID-19 mitigations, the entrance gate to the cave will open at 9 a.m. but will close intermittently for brief periods of time during the day to help manage crowd size in the cave and parking lot. Closures of the gate will not be scheduled and typically will be limited to 30 minutes. The entrance gate will close daily at 3:45 p.m.
  • Day use: $5 per vehicle for a day pass or display any other valid recreation pass
  • Tour bus fee: Fifteen people or less = $25.00, Twenty five people = $50.00, Over 25 people = $100.
  • Light Rentals: Available for $5 until 4 p.m.
  • School/Education groups: Please book your tour in advance with our Friends partner, Discover Your Forest. 
Open Season: May - September
Busiest Season: July-August
Closest Towns: Bend, Sunriver, or La Pine - Oregon
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Passes: Recreation Passes are available at the Lava Lands and Lava River Cave Welcome Stations.
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.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information


Other Activities

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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.

Difficulty Level: Easy to Intermediate

Outdoor Learning

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Areas & Activities


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