There are so far over 690 Oregon caves. They (being the crazy cave explorers) expect that there will be upwards of 800 at some point.
(We're only covering the ones with fairly easy access, or great photogenic wonderfulness.)
Most are lava tube caves. Some have some really great history, everything from lunar surface preparation, to ice storage for a whole city.
Because many of the Oregon caves, especially the lava tubes in Central Oregon maintain at 42-45 degrees year-round, they are great for photography on rainy days and also a great refuge on hot days!
For now, you get the caves near me, because those are the ones I can get to. Please feel free to add Oregon caves in other areas in the comment section at the bottom of the page.
Many of the caves are closed from November 1 to April 15 for bat hibernation. Some of the caves, like Skeleton, Charlie-the-cave and Wind cave are closed all year to try and restore the bat population. They might open again in the future.
Boyd Cave is open year-round.
Redmond caves are open year-round.
The USFS recommends bringing the following items with you.
A conservation ethic
*Three sources of light and extra batteries
*A friend or two. Do not cave alone. (PLEASE!)
*Knowledge of your personal limits
*Water and food
*Caving helmet, long pants, sturdy boots and gloves
*Layered clothing: cave temperatures are 33 to 50 degrees
*As little gear as possible but enough to still be safe
*Non-glass containers to pack out food and body waste
First to note. I have not seen a bat in any of these caves so apparently after the hibernation system they leave.
White-Nose Syndrome is killing off the bat populations all over the country. Pease DO NOT use gear (equipment, helmets, ropes, clothes, lights, boots, packs, CAMERA GEAR etc.) in caves or mines in central Oregon that have been used in other states without proper cleaning. Read more about White-Nose Syndrome…
Here are some of the caves I have been to in and around Central Oregon. I went with my husband so these are all easy-access.
Arnold Ice Cave is more historical than interesting. Originally called the Crook County Ice Caves. (Which is kind of funny since it’s in Deschutes County, Arnold Ice Cave was the site of an early ice mining operation. The ice was sold to the city of Bend by one of the early saloon keepers. In the 1950's a trench was carved in to the ice by Jim Anderson and Phil Coyner They accessed about a half mile of passage way. In later years, after the ice mining had ended, the cave filled back up with ice making the inner passages inaccessible to exploration attempts.
Boyd Cave is an awesome Oregon cave. I like that you actually go down a ladder into the earth (rather than enter through a
Inside is a long lava tube great for light painting. Take several light sources because if one dies, you’re totally in the dark…not cool. THREE is a great idea.
I take a large flashlight so I can do longer exposures while light painting the walls.
So far, this is my favorite easy access Oregon cave. It is beautiful and the path in is kind of mystical with its stacked rocks and winding path.
This is the one I almost never go to because there are a lot of people in it and it’s tough to take pictures. I suppose now, I will have to go over there and at least get a photo of the front.
It is part of the Newberry National Monument and is a commercial touring cave. At 5,211 feet long, the northwest section of the cave is the longest continuous lava tube in Oregon and goes under highway 97.
Located right in town near the airport, the Redmond Caves are really FUN!
I had heard rumors that they had been so badly vandalized that The Redmond caves had been closed, so we drove over to take a look and they were OPEN.
Not only were they open, they were awesome.
Of the Oregon Caves, the South Ice Cave was my first non-guided cave adventure. I found the South Ice Cave on my way to the Cabin Lake Bird Blinds. I had passed it several times before I decided that I had to check it out. Mostly because I know it’s a very bad idea to go caving alone. I had asked a friend who is a serious caver about it and he told me it was a simple system and to have no fear….