Bend, Oregon: Lava River Cave - Lava Tube

Long natural tunnel in the lava beds. Left in its natural state; can be explored by lantern.

Lava River Caves State Park

Address:
US Hwy 97, Bend, OR
Directions:
Lava River Caves State Park, Hwy 97, 12 miles south of Bend. 1 mile south of Lava Lands Visitor Center.
Hours:
Summer daily 9-4:45. Closed Oct-Apr. (Call to verify)
Phone:
541-593-2421
Admission:
Day pass, lantern rental.
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Lava River Cave - Lava Tube

On a trip through Oregon during the summer of '98 we visited the "Lava Tube" somewhere near Bend (I think). For a small admission fee you receive a gas lantern and are directed to the opening of the Tube. It was formed by a passing lava flow that cooled on the sides causing this tube-like cave. Nobody knows how far it really goes, but you can walk until you can't stand upright and continue on your knees. Why? I am not sure, as it is scary in there!

It is always a cool temperature and was originally used by the guy who discovered it to store meats 'n such way back when. We were the last to arrive and the woman who manned the cash register said that she was going home and said for us to leave the lanterns at the gate when we came back. We were also told that we could bring a shovel and dig some more at the end if we were inclined to see what was further in the tube.

We went pretty far in, then thought, " we are all alone in the lava tube, in the dark, are we mad?" Then we proceeded out of the tube as fast as we could, responsibly returned the lanterns and left with the warm fuzzy that comes from visiting a roadside attraction that is really good!

[Kelly & Jean, 02/10/2000]

The lava tube is over a mile long.

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October 25, 2014

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