blog header, explore the marble halls of the oregon caves
By Emily Hunter | 04/07/2022 | Family, Guides & Tours, Outdoor Adventure, State Park, Things to Do, Trails


At 4,000 feet on the rugged slopes of the Siskiyou Mountains, the Oregon Caves National Monument is a geologically marbled paradise. From its natural curves and colors to deep tunnels and trails, take your adventure rogue with this exotic treasure.

The beautiful caverns weren’t discovered until 1874, and the 15,000 feet of limestone passages weren’t fully mapped out until 1874. In 1909, President William Howard Taft officially established the Oregon Caves as a National monument, sparking the interest of adventurers from all parts of the nation to see its natural beauties for themselves. Acidic water shaped each rivet and column for millions of years, and now you can experience the true wonder of one of the world’s most diverse geologic realms.

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Journey into the richly diverse caves with a ranger guide for the best experience. Tours of the caves are offered from mid-April through early November. From family and kid-friendly tours to off-trail and historic candlelight tours, the Heart of the Rogue is just waiting for you to discover it.

Discovery Cave Tour

Discover a labyrinth of marbled corridors as you explore the wonders of the caves through this guided tour. Pass glistening flowstones, twist through the natural passageways, and visit a large room 220 feet below the surface. Your guide will lead you and explain the interesting geology and history of the caves throughout your 90-minute, small group tour.

On a hot summer day, the caves are a refreshing way to get out of the sun and explore the natural wonders the Heart of the Rogue has to offer. The tour is moderately strenuous, requiring the ability to walk and stoop through narrow and low passage ways.

NOTE: Unfortunately, due to park ranger staff shortages for the year of 2022, the following tours are not being offered this year. Please check back for more details and updates.

Candlelight Cave Tour

Candlelight tours are the final tours of the day, where you can experience walking through the caves in a whole new light. Experience the Oregon caves by flickering candle lanterns - just like early explorers and travelers did! This unique tour allows you to transport through time, watching the shadows dance along the marble walls and learning the history of the caves. Follow your guide through each cavern and passageway with an intimate group of up to 12 people.

Step into the shoes of one of the first people to ever step foot into this magnificent geologic wonder, and uncover the untouched beauties of the Heart of the Rogue.

Kids and Family Cave Tour

Enter into a world where your imagination can run free with this family-friendly, kid-centered tour. A ranger will guide you and your youngsters through the magical caves, learning about how they came to form and what creatures dwell inside

The tour is 90-minutes total, and children will be able to complete fun activities as official explorers throughout the tour. Test the temperature of the River Styx at the cave entrance, see the life and micro-systems throughout the caves, and enjoy a fun day out in nature with this energetic experience!

Off-Trail Caving Tour

Looking for a thrilling challenge? Twist through crawl spacesclimb over boulders and negotiate wild areas off the trail in this three hour experience. Trained, off-trail cavers will teach you the ropes of cave etiquette and the techniques you will need to go face-to-face with the depths of the Oregon Caves.

Groups are intimate with a seven person maximum, and cavern travelers must be 15 or older to experience this tour. Immerse yourself into the parts of the caves few explorers have the guts to venture to, and become a true Oregon caver by the end of the experience.

BRING: Warm clothing; the caves are 44 degrees Fahrenheit. Good walking shoes with closed toes.

LEAVE AT HOME: Flashlights, backpacks or purses, walking sticks, food products including gum, tobacco or tripods.

CONSIDERATIONS: For your safety, all visitors are asked to demonstrate the physical ability to navigate the twisting corridors by crouching down to the lowest point of the tour. Children must be at least 42 inches tall and cannot be carried through the cave. Some points throughout your route do not have railings, and the tours are not recommended if you have breathing issues or poor balance.

PROTECT THE BATS: Do not wear or bring clothes, shoes or other items used in a cave, mine, or other bat habitat. Spores carried on personal items between habitats spreadwhite-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that kills bats.

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Weaving in and out of the Oregon Caves monument lie six beautiful hiking trails with wonderful views of the caverns. Each trail varies in distance, giving you the chance to customize your trip’s length and intensity however you see fit. Trailheads can be found at the Oregon Cave Visitor Center, the most notable being “Big Tree” with the widest Douglas-fir tree known to exist in Oregon.

Explore the wild corners of Oregon, and enjoy panoramic views of Illinois Valley paired with the best views of the caves!

The roads wind through the thick evergreen forests of Oregon. GPS devices may not give the best directions through the gravel roads, and RV travel is not recommended on the final road to the Oregon Caves Visitor Center.

Medford from I-5:

Get on I-5 N from Medford

Take exit 55 for US 199 / Redwood Hwy toward S Grants Pass

Continue onto US-199 S / Redwood Hwy (29 mi)

Turn left onto Laurel Rd (2.2 mi)

Turn left onto OR-46 E (12 mi)

Follow OR-46 E for 20 miles to the monument parking lot.

From Crescent City, California:

Drive north on US-101

Take exit 794 to merge onto US-199 toward Grants Pass/I-5

In Cave Junction, turn right onto OR-46; If time allows stop at the Illinois Valley Visitor Center for current conditions and information.

Follow OR-46 for 20 miles to the monument parking lot.

When you travel to the rogue, the possibilities for adventure are truly endless. From the challenge of crawling and climbing to simply enjoying the natural life all around, the Oregon Caves are a wonder to behold. Discover the marbled passageways, along with the many other natural treasures of the Heart of the Rogue.

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