Visited: August 2019
Duration: 2-3 hours
Accommodations: In between AirBNB in Trinidad, CA and heading to Crater Lake NP
Oregon Caves National Monument, to our surprise was an impromptu stop that turned out to be an amazing addition to this trip.
Gunnar had purchased a Circle of Discovery shirt while in Lassen Volcanic National Park, it had all of the Parks we were visiting on this trip with the inclusion of Oregon Caves (that wasn’t on our itinerary) so we felt we best stop here and check it out, so we could complete the Circle of Discovery. So glad we did!
We pulled into town and stopped at the Oregon Caves Visitor Center in Cave Junction, Oregon. To our delight they had room for us on the next cave tour in 1.5 hours. The road from Cave Junction up to the cave itself is twisty and turny and takes almost an hour to get there so please think about this if stopping here. I had both of the kids take naps there and back so we didn’t deal with motion sickness.
The Chalet that is at the cave was shut down for repairs and rehabilitation so there was no food or lodging during our visit. Please check on this if going.
When we got there we had about 20-30 minutes for our tour so we grabbed our Junior Rangers and started on them.
The tour started and rest was history (literally). We had THE BEST Ranger tour of our lives. Ranger Neil was our guide for the tour and boy did he go above and beyond. If you can hold the attention of 2 young boys (ages 14 and 12) while talking about geology and caves then you are the winner for the day. Ranger Neil was a Geology professor for 30+ years at Oregon State University and now does cave tours, he was simply amazing and so much fun. From the beginning of the cave to the end, he kept us entertained and educated. So glad we stopped here.
Oregon Cave was first discovered by a hunter, Elijah Davidson in November of 1874. However, to geologists we know that it takes caves millions of years to form. They have found Grizzly bear remains in Oregon caves that have been radiocarbon dated to be over 50,000 years old. Because the soils have no acids like top soils and the temperature and humidity in the cave are constant, bones are preserved well here. Oregon Caves National Monument became a National Monument in 1909 and people have been going on tours since.
Here are some pictures and info. on the tour we took. We opted for the Discovery Tour.
Below is a demonstration led by Ranger Neil showing us how acid wears away at the marble to form and shape the cave and cave features we will see today. Ranger Neil’s volunteer is none other than Ranger Gunnar!! Everyone on the tour earned their Ranger status if they volunteered to help. Ranger Barb made sure everyone stuck together and didn’t wander off the path.
Some of the amazing cave features we saw on this tour are below.
What a great information tour. We weren’t going to do a tour but in the end we caved…… 🙂
At the end of the tour Ranger Neil does it again….. takes a family photo of each family at the exit to the cave with a little pic of himself for us to remember him (how could we forget him).
Back to the Visitor Center at the cave for our souvenirs, cancellations and Junior Ranger badges. What a great stop. I can’t recommend this place enough. Worth the trip. A+++++++
That is all for Oregon Cave National Monument. As I have said before, we are so glad we stopped. Put it on your list of places to visit. It was amazing. Until next time.