After arriving in Oregon, we quickly fell in love with all of the outdoor adventures in the area. One of our favorite past times of all was exploring all of the hidden caves in Central Oregon.
Due to the high volume of volcanos in the Pacific Northwest, most caves are lava tubes created from the molten lava flow. Be sure to add these magical Oregon caves to your Pacific Northwest itinerary; these are great day trips for families and explorers alike.
The Best Caves in Oregon
Here are 5 incredible caves in Oregon to add to your bucket list:
1. Sawyer Cave
Sawyer Cave is a hidden gem in Central Oregon; if you choose to visit, you will likely have the cave and entire area to yourself. We really enjoyed hiking around the forest and lava tubes during our visit here.
Pro-tip: Many of the caves in this area are closed during certain months of the year (October – April) for the preservation of an endangered bat species. Please be responsible adventurers and respect these requests.
Getting To Sawyer Cave, Oregon
Sawyer Cave is located just west of Santiam Pass on Hwy 20 in Central Oregon. We parked our car at the Little Nash Sno-Park and walked through the edge of the forest to find this cave.
2. Boyd Cave
Boyd Cave is one of the biggest caves in Central Oregon. Its accessibility and location make it one of the best caves to explore, with the majority of the tube being walkable.
Pro-tip: A flashlight is a must for venturing into this cave.
Getting To Boyd Cave, Oregon
Boyd Cave is located 9 miles southeast of Hwy 97 on China Hat Road. The turnoff for China Hat Road is just south of downtown Bend.
Read next: The 16 Best Hot Springs in Oregon
3.Hidden Forest Cave
This was by far our favorite cave in Central Oregon. With so many caves nearby and so much deserted land to explore, this cave is perfect for a day trip. We spent hours hiking, looking for new caves, and enjoying the trails.
Getting To Hidden Forest Cave, Oregon
This cave is located 3 miles south of Boyd Cave on China Hat Road.
Hidden Forest Cave, in particular, was a bit difficult to find, but we ended up finding it by taking the trail from the parking lot heading straight (there were a few other trails branching off to the right and left, but stay straight!).
We trekked about six minutes before we discovered the back of the cave on the right-hand side. You’ll want to hike around the edge of this crater to find the entrance.
4. Arnold Ice Cave
Arnold Ice Cave wasn’t our favorite cave to explore because it was quite difficult to access. When you finally arrive at the cave, it is a steep climb down to the bottom. During our visit, there was a lot of ice, making the climb very dangerous.
Although it wasn’t the best time of year to visit, Arnold Ice Cave is still an incredible sight to see. I recommend visiting in summer or fall.
Getting To Arnold Ice Cave, Oregon
Arnold Ice Cave is another cave located in Deschutes National Forest and is neighbors to Hidden Forest Cave. Take China Hat Road 12 miles southeast of Hwy 97 to find the cluster of caves in the area.
5. Skylight Cave
Skylight Cave is another one of the most awesome caves to explore in Central Oregon. The road to this cave is rough, but it’s definitely worth the bumps. I would highly recommend going to Skylight Cave in a 4WD, high-clearance vehicle.
Skylight Cave is closed from October until May due to an endangered bat species. Again, please respect these requests.
Getting To Skylight Cave, Oregon
You can find Skylight Cave northwest of Sisters just off OR 242W. Use the map below to navigate to the entrance of this cave.
A Wrap-Up: 5 Mystical Oregon Caves Near Bend
Oregon still flies under the radar among travelers, but now you’re in on the secret. The Pacific Northwest is packed with some of the best outdoor adventures in the United States. When planning a trip to this West Coast state, be sure to fit in as many Oregon caves as possible.
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