The Lava River Cave near Bend, Oregon, is part of a mile-long lava tube in Newberry National Volcanic Monument. Take a self-guided exploration of the complete tube which interpretive panels in about an hour and a half, complete with a descent down 55 stairs. Then you'll encounter a boardwalk, as well as uneven surfaces and more stairways.
Note that the U.S. Forest Service, which administers the cave, is trying to preventing the spread of white-nose syndrome to the cave's bat population. Please do not wear any clothing or gear you have used in a cave or mine outside of Oregon or Washington. They also strongly recommend close-toed shoes and warm clothing with layers. Average temperature year-round in the Cave is 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius).
A $5 day pass is required from May 1 – September 30, which can be purchased on site or at a ranger station. An annual Northwest Forest Pass is also available for $30. One great place to buy a pass and get more information is at the nearby Lava Lands Visitor Center and Lava River Cave Welcome Station at 58201 US-97 in Bend.
Remember to bring head lamps and/or other light sources. Lights are also available for rent for $5 until 4 p.m.
Note that you need to bring your own water, although there are vault toilets.
Gate closes at 4 p.m, but try to arrive before 11 a.m. on weekends and during the summer to have a better chance of getting a parking space. Access to Lava River Cave is only allowed during the staffed operating season:
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.
Closest Cities/Towns: Bend, Sunriver, and La Pine, Oregon
Directions from the Forest Service:
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.