Oregon Caves National Monument

Monument Overview | Facilities

Oregon Caves National Monument

 

Description

Oregon Caves National Monument is small in size, 480 acres, but rich in diversity. Above ground, the monument encompasses a remnant old-growth coniferous forest. It harbors a fantastic array of plants, and a Douglas-fir tree with the widest known girth in Oregon. Three hiking trails access this forest. Below ground is an active marble cave created by natural forces over hundreds of thousands of years in one of the world's most diverse geologic realms.

Monument Information

Hours/Seasons:
The Monument is open all year for hiking, snow shoeing and other similar outdoor activities. Access to the interior of Oregon Caves is only by guided tours. The cave tour schedule is as follows:

Spring: March 15 - April 30: 10am - 4pm Tours given at 10, 11:30, 1, 2:30, 4 May 1 - May 25: 9am - 5pm Tours given on the Hour.
Summer: May 26 - Sept 4: 9am - 7pm Tours given on the hour and half hour.
Fall: Sept 5 - Sept 24: 9am - 5pm Tours given on the hour. Sept 25-Dec 3: 10am - 4pm Tours given at 10, 11:30, 1, 2:30, 4
Winter: Cave Tours CLOSED 

Directions:  The monument is located 20 miles east of Cave Junction, Oregon, at the end of State Highway 46. From Interstate 5 at Grants Pass, Oregon, go southwest on Highway 199. From Crescent City, California, go northeast on Highway 199, then turn east onto State Highway 46.

Fees:  
$8.50 - Adults, ages 17 and over
$6 - Children, ages 16 and under

Weather:  Rain in the spring and late fall. Snow during the winter months. Hot and humid during the summer.

 

Monument Overview

Oregon Caves National Monument is a small park unit located in the heavily wooded Klamath Mountains of southwest Oregon. The climate of the region is strongly influenced by the ocean which contributes to relatively mild summers and winters as well as 50 inches of rain per year. The elevation at Park Headquarters is 4,000 feet and resulting in comfortable summer temperatures and snowy winters.

The primary resources of the Monument include: Three miles of marble caverns, old growth forests and a historic lodge. The caverns contain one of the largest assemblages of endemic cave dwelling insects in the United States and, recently, it has gained notoriety for the Pleistocene aged jaguar and grizzly bear fossils found in some of the deeper chambers. Bear tracks and scratch marks on a mud wall in the same section of the cave are suspected to Pleistocene in age.

The region represents a unique geology composed primarily of bits and pieces of ocean crustal rocks (ophiolite). Some geologic sections are composed entirely of serpentine rock and soils which support many unique plant species. It is this unique soil that makes the northern Klamath Mountains well known for their botanical diversity and assemblages of endemic plants.

Oregon Caves National Monument is situated high in the Illinois River watershed, a major salmon and steelhead spawning waterway that feeds into the Rogue River near Gold Beach, Oregon. Part of this river flows through the Kalmiopsis Wilderness Area where narrow canyons make it a popular rafting and kayaking destination. Many deep swimming holes can be found all along this river.

 

Facilities and Opportunities


Visitor Center/Exhibits:
The interagency Illinois Valley Visitor Center is located in Cave Junction on Highway 46, near its intersection with Highway 199. The Crater Lake Natural History Association operates a sales outlet there, with exhibits and information on the Oregon Caves.
Trails, Roads:
There are five miles of day hiking trails (four trails total) within the monument. The Big Tree Trail connects with a Siskiyou National Forest trail to Bigelow Lakes, a popular overnight backcountry hike. The No Name Trail connects with a Siskiyou National Forest trail to reach Cave Creek Campground. The Cliff Nature Trail is a 3/4 mile self guided loop which affords outstanding vistas near cliff area. Signs interpret natural features.
Programs, Activities:
Cave Tours are provided from March through November. Daily Ranger programs, short talks and demonstrations are offered in the historic district during summer months. Hiking and picnicking are also available at the Monument.
Children Programs and Activities:
JUNIOR RANGERS: Children interested in earning the Oregon Caves Junior Ranger badge should request one of the monument's free Junior Ranger Activity Books. When finished with the activities, turn the book into the main office or information station and get the badge.

TRAIL ACTIVITY SHEETS: Children can earn trail badges for each of three of the loop trails at Oregon Caves. Pick up the Trail Activity sheets at the monument's main office or information station.

CHILDREN TOO SMALL TO GO ON CAVE TOURS: A special acitivity book and trail guide are available for children too small to go on a tour of the cave. Other activities for this age group are available at the Information Station near the main parking lot.

 

 

For Additional Information Contact:

Oregon Caves National Monument
19000 Caves Highway
Cave Junction, OR 97523
(541) 592-2100

 

For more information visit the National Park Service website