Lava River Cave Interpretive Site

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

Photo of the entrance of lava river cave.

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.

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 May 1 – September 30. 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: 2017 Operating Season Gate closes at 4 p.m. Arrive before 11 a.m. on weekends and peak summer season to improve your likelihood of securing parking.  Access to Lava River Cave is only allowed during the staffed operating season shown here.
  • May 5 - May 22  Thursday - Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • May 25 - September 4, Daily from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • September 5 - October 1, Daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • October 2 -  CLOSED to the public for the season to protect bat populations. 
Fees $5/vehicle/day from May 1 through September 30 Tour bus fee: Fifteen people or less = $25.00, Twenty five people = $50.00, Over 25 people = $100. Light Rentals: Rent a light or lantern for $5 until 4 p.m.
Open Season: May
Busiest Season: July-August
Closest Towns: Bend, Sunriver, or La Pine - Oregon
Water: No
Restroom: Vault Toilet
Passes: Recreation Passes for recreation fee program are available at Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava River Cave Welcome Station.
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

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Other Activities

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Outdoor Learning

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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.

Visitor Programs


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