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Lava River Cave, Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Lava River Cave, properly called a lava tube, whose side walls show the marks of the basalt lava that continued to flow, while its outside was cooling and turning into hard rock. Entrance to the tube became possible after a portion of its ceiling collapsed.

The beginnings of the flow extend back to the nearby Newberry shield volcano which produced a great variety of volcanic attractions, including cinder cones, pumice cones, lava and obsidian flows, Lava Cast Forest, caves, lakes, streams, and waterfalls. Many of the Newberry basalt flows are less than 10,000 years old and retain the fragile surficial features that are characteristic of freshly erupted lava. The youngest ones have little or no vegetation and a stark moonscape appearance which was used for astronaut training in 1966.

The whole area is now part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, managed by the USDA Forest Service.

Access: From U.S. Highway 97 between La Pine and Bend. The one-mile Lava River Cave has an entrance station, and lanterns are available for rent. The cave temperature is a constant 42°, so wear warm clothing.

For the protection of hibernating bats, this cave is closed from November 1 through April 15.

During the summer 2002 season, the cave is open (always 9:00 am to 5:00 pm) as follows: May 1 to June 9–open Wednesday through Sunday; June 12 to September 2–open daily; September 4 to October 19–open Wednesday through Sunday.

For more detail information, visit the Lava Lands Visitor Center, on Highway 97, 13 mi south of Bend, phone (541) 593-2421, or the internet at http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/centraloregon/recinfo/dayuse/lavariver.html.

(Oregon Department of Transportation photo no. 4177)




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