Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is a protected area in the northern Siskiyou Mountains. The 4,554-acre park, including the marble cave, forests, hiking trails and a historic lodge is 20 miles east of Cave Junction. We traveled here after spending time in Redwoods National Park on the California coast.
We drove the 20-mile, winding mountain road to the Caves Chateau. When I learned that road was the only way in and out of the monument, I changed our hotel to one in Grants Pass. We had teens with us who wouldn’t have appreciated getting away from it all.
I’d reserved our cave tour reservations online. We arrived at the visitor center ahead of schedule. When we checked in, the ranger moved us up to an earlier tour.
We took the Discovery Cave Tour with Ranger Neil. He made the tour with his corny jokes and fun cave facts. Even the teenagers were entertained.
The tour lasted 90 minutes and was pretty strenuous. We were basically climbing around inside a mountain, ascending and descending, squeezing through narrow passageways and stooping to avoid concussing ourselves on low ceilings. In many places the stairs had no railings and the marble floor was slippery. It was a chilly 44 degrees Fahrenheit and we were glad we’d worn our jackets.
After navigating the labyrinth for a while, the path opened up into a huge room with amazing formations, about 200 feet below the surface. Here, we climbed a steep metal staircase to view some awesome ‘drapery’ formations in the dome ceiling.
Out of 4000 caves managed by the National Park Service, only Oregon Cave and two others are made of marble. The rest are formed in limestone.
Once we were all back outside the cave, Ranger Neil took a group photo for us and then accompanied us back to the visitor center to help the girls complete their junior ranger badge.
Location: 19000 Caves Hwy, Cave Junction, OR 97523
Designation: National Monument
Date designated/established: July 12, 1909
Date of my visit: August 2016
13 thoughts on “Oregon Caves National Monument”
Years ago, we were able to visit the caves and stay in the historic Chateau Lodge, one of the National Park’s “Great Lodges,” and a National Historic Landmark. The 1950s era coffee shop downstairs was particularly charming. The lodge has been closed for the last few years for upgrades & repairs (the work was slowed down by Covid). But it’s due to reopen in 2023! 😀
A fun cave for sure, T. Big Foot country. Grin. It was a little over an hour away from our Oregon home in the Applegate Valley. Grants Pass was about 40 minutes. Great photos.
Thanks! We loved this remote park 🙂 Didn’t see Big Foot though
We’ve been there too. We loved it there.
It’s a great off-the-beaten-path park!
Yes, it is. Did you stay at the rustic lodge there too? We did. It was a cool place to stay. And a very beautiful, old, rustic lodge.
No, the kids wouldn’t have done well with no wifi. We had lunch in the soda shoppe though 😋
Thanks for posting this, Theresa. We have it on our itinerary for a Northern California/Southern Oregon road trip. I’m glad to know the cave tour is strenuous, so now we can prepare for it.
I’m out of shape. If I can do it, anyone can 🙂
Looks like a fun and interesting trip
It’s a great park, off the beaten path
Very awesome cave! I’ll put it on my agenda for the next coastal trip – but I want to go when the Chateau reopens, for sure.
They haven’t been sending out too many updates, but I think they sent one a few months ago about the renovations progressing nicely.