Edited by: Keri Stooksbury
- How To Get to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Where Is Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve?
- Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve Opening Hours and Seasons
- Nearest Airports to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Driving to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Taking the Train to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Taking the Bus to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Getting Around Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- What To See and Do in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Best Times To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Best Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve for Ideal Weather
- Best Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve To Avoid the Crowds
- Best Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve for Cave Tours
- Cheapest Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Annual Events in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Where To Stay in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Where To Eat in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
- Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve Facts
- Final Thoughts
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Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is nestled high into the Siskiyou Mountains of Southwestern Oregon. Known as the “Marble Halls of Oregon,” this national monument offers incredible sights and activities, from cave tours and amazing hikes to unbelievable opportunities to watch wildlife and camping in the great outdoors.
Each year, this park brings in over 70,000 visitors from around the world. While it is one of the least visited parks in the National Park Service, it is definitely a place you will want to experience.
How To Get to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Where Is Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve?
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is located in the Siskiyou Mountains in the southwestern region of Oregon. The closest cities to this park are Cave Junction and Grants Pass. This monument stretches over 480 acres and consists of forest and underground caverns.
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve Opening Hours and Seasons
The opening season at this national monument is never set in stone. Weather conditions are a significant factor in when the park opens. The goal each year is for the park to be open in March, but snow often covers the ground due to its high elevation and location, which delays its opening.
Once the park opens, it stays open until the first week of November. The visitor center is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tours are offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nearest Airports to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
The best airport option for flying to this national monument and preserve is Rogue Valley International Medford Airport (MFR) in Medford, Oregon. This option is about an hour and a half from the park.
This airport offers direct flights to 12 destinations, including Denver, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, and Seattle. Airlines that service this airport include popular names like Allegiant, American, Avelo, Delta, and United.
Many car rental agencies and customer service representatives can help you arrange the final leg of your journey once you arrive at this airport.
Driving to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Depending on your destination, there are several options for driving to this park. The directions are straightforward to follow. Take a look at some of the most popular routes.
From Brookings, Oregon
Drive Ssouth on US-101 and take a left at CA-197. Turn left toward Grants Pass/I-5 off of US-199. In Cave Junction, take a right onto OR-46 and follow this road until you arrive at the parking lot to the monument, which is approximately 20 miles away.
From Crescent City, California
Take US-101 North and use exit 794 to merge onto US-199 to Grants Pass/I-5. Once you arrive at Cave Junction, take a right onto OR-46. Follow this road for 20 miles, and you will enter the parking lot for the monument.
Grants Pass from I-5
Merge onto NE 6th Street/OR-99/Redwood Highway from exit 58 and follow the Redwood Highway for 3 miles. Turn right toward Cave Junction at US-199 and follow that for 29 miles. Once you get to Cave Junction, take a left onto OR-46 and follow it for 20 miles until you arrive at the parking lot to the monument.
Taking the Train to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
There isn’t a train service directly to this park, but you can get near. Amtrak offers service to Klamath Falls, which is a 3-hour drive from the monument. You can then connect to Amtrak’s Thruway bus line to a bus stop in Cave Junction, which is about a half hour from the park. Keep in mind that you’ll need to arrange further transportation (such as a rideshare or rental car) for your final journey to the park.
Taking the Bus to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
There is no bus service directly to this national monument and preserve, but you can get close. Greyhound offers a line that stops at Grants Pass each day. It is about an hour and 15 minutes from this city to the park, so you must arrange a ride service or rental car to make it the rest of the way.
Getting Around Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
The best way to get around Oregon Caves is by private vehicle. There is a lot of driving involved with visiting this park. The National Park Service offers a variety of printable and interactive maps to help you plan your adventure.
What To See and Do in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
There are several exciting things to see and do at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. Visitors from all around enjoy the variety of activities available in this Oregon Park.
Cave tours bring most visitors to this national monument and preserve, with various tours available here. Some of the most popular tours include the Discovery Cave Tour, the Candlelight Cave Tour, off-trail tours, and options for kids and families. Each tour type offers a unique way to experience this mesmerizing cave system.
Park rangers lead visitors through this underground system of caverns. Visitors can make reservations in advance, and there are fees for touring the caves.
Cave tours are available from early spring to fall, Thursdays through Mondays. The season ends at the beginning of November. Those with children participating in cave tours must be at least 42 inches tall. These tours are 90 minutes long.
This national monument is an excellent place for hiking enthusiasts. There are 6 trails that showcase incredible views of the monument and the surrounding Siskiyou Mountains.
The trails wind in and out of the park’s boundaries and showcase unique features like the marble outcrops, Illinois Valley, meadows, and covered bridges along Cave Creek. The trails vary in distance and level of difficulty. The Cave Creek Trail, Cliff Nature Trail, and Old Growth Trail are some of the most loved trails at this park.
Exploring the monument from these hiking trails is one of the best ways to explore the landscapes and sights of the park.
Hunting is permitted only within the boundary of the preserve. It is prohibited within the monument. Some animals that can be hunted in this area include deer, elk, upland birds, and waterfowl. Those who choose to hunt during their visit to this preserve must be familiar with the rules and regulations. There is a map outlining the hunting boundaries on the park’s website.
There are 2 buildings serving as visitor centers for this national monument: Oregon Caves Visitor Center and the Illinois Valley Visitor Center.
Oregon Caves Visitor Center is open from the spring to the fall, during cave-tour season. This is where guests can obtain tour tickets and park information and learn about the Oregon Caves and Siskiyou Mountains from the many exhibits. This facility also offers information about the Junior Ranger Program, has an on-site bookstore, and is the juncture for Cliff Nature Trail and Big Tree Trail.
The Illinois Valley Visitor Center is located in Cave Junction. This facility is open daily during the cave tour season, and it is closed on Sundays during the winter. Visitors can purchase tour tickets or visit the park store to buy souvenirs to commemorate their trip.
The visitor centers are a great place to kick off your adventures at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.Hot Tip:
Be sure to check the current conditions before you head to either of these centers, as it would be a disappointment to make a 45-minute drive just to find out the tours are closed.
Many animals live in this national monument and preserve, making it a wonderful place to view wildlife. Several ecological zones are present here, thanks to the park’s unique location, which means wildlife viewing is never dull.
Some mammals found here include the American black bear, cougars, bobcats, mountain beavers, and Columbian black-tailed deer. There are also interesting amphibians that live in the monument area.
Some of these include the Pacific tree frog and the Pacific giant salamander. Finally, over 130 types of birds call this park home throughout the year, including Steller’s jays, sooty grouse, ravens, and northern spotted owls.
The best areas to view the wildlife in the park are along the hiking trails. Be sure to follow the safety tips like observing the animals from a distance, never feeding them, keeping children close by, and avoiding wildlife during mating, nesting, raising young, and winter seasons.
Best Times To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Any time you are able to visit this national monument, you are guaranteed a fantastic experience. However, if there are certain activities or events you would like to participate in, there may be a better time to visit throughout the year.
Best Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve for Ideal Weather
September is the best month to visit this national monument for ideal weather. The temperatures range from the low 50s to the low 70s, with an average of 3 days of rain. A September visit will allow for comfortable temperatures for hiking and wildlife viewing.
Best Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve To Avoid the Crowds
October is the best time to visit this national monument to avoid crowds. October has fewer visitors and is a great time to tour the cave. The weather is also quite comfortable, with temperatures ranging from the low 40s to the low 60s. On average, there are about 9 days of rain this month, so be sure to come prepared for a shower.
Best Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve for Cave Tours
The best time to visit this park for cave tours is in June. The temperatures are comfortable, and there are several different tour options at this time of year. Fewer guests also make this a great time to enjoy a slower tour.
Cheapest Time To Visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Saving money while traveling may seem impossible, but with a little research and planning, you will find it is entirely possible. September is the best time to travel to this national monument and save money. Schools are back in session from summer vacation. After Labor Day, travel subsides, saving several hundreds of dollars with reduced rates for flights and accommodations in the nearby towns is possible.
Annual Events in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Events such as cave tours and ranger-led talks occur regularly at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. While no annual events occur on a regular schedule, every once in a while, the park will host events such as star parties, wildflower events, and full moon nights.
The best way to learn about the upcoming events is to call and speak to a park ranger at the visitor center.
Where To Stay in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Securing your lodging options is one of the first orders of business when planning any trip. Thankfully, there are plenty of choices in and near this national monument. Let’s explore the options for setting up a home away from home when visiting this part of Oregon.
Inside the Park
There are a couple of options for visitors who want to stay within the park’s boundaries. Whether you prefer sleeping under the stars or staying in a fine lodge, this national monument has you covered.
Cave Creek Campground
Cave Creek Campground is the only developed campground in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. This beautiful campground is off Highway 46, 15 miles from Cave Junction and 4 miles from the cave entrance. Fire rings, vault toilets, and water are all available here.
This campground is open seasonally between Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekend. There are 17 sites in this location, and they are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The sites are too small to accommodate RVs or campers, so this is an ideal option for tent camping.
Oregon Caves Chateau
The Oregon Caves Chateau is one of the National Park Great Lodges and a National Historic Landmark. This lodging option is perfect for visitors who want to stay within the park’s boundaries. This facility is currently closed and undergoing renovations due to structural damage and should reopen in the coming years.
The chateau is a stunning 6-story lodge with 23 guest rooms, a gorgeous dining room, and spectacular views over the forested canyon. There’s also a 1930s-style coffee shop on-site, making it an excellent lodging, dining, and relaxation option.
Towns Near Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
For those who don’t want to stay within the park’s boundaries, there are a couple of options within an hour’s drive. Whether you are seeking a small town with a few options for lodging and dining or a bigger city with a better selection, several options make it a great home away from home during your visit.
Cave Junction, Oregon
Cave Junction is about 20 miles from this national monument and preserve. This is the closest option for visitors who want to stay near the park.
Most lodging options in this town are locally owned lodges, private rentals, campgrounds, and RV parks. One of the most unique options here is treehouse rentals, where visitors can sleep high above the ground in gorgeous cabins that showcase spectacular views.
You’ll find a wide variety of restaurants available in this city. From hometown diners to authentic Mexican restaurants, sushi bars, and barbecue joints, there’s something for every palate here.
There’s plenty to do in this Oregon town. Many visitors enjoy spending the day exploring museums, botanical gardens, state parks, wineries, and animal preservation centers.
Grants Pass, Oregon
Grants Pass is a little over an hour from this national monument and a great place to set up a base camp. This town has everything you could need for a comfortable stay. Accommodations in this city range from popular chain hotels to locally owned inns, affordable motels, and lodges in the great outdoors.
Pizza parlors, Mexican taquerias, quaint cafes, and Asian restaurants are some dining options in this town. No matter what you crave, you will find a perfect hunger solution here.
There’s plenty to do in this incredible city. Wildlife rehabilitation centers, parks, farmers markets, art museums, and vineyards are popular places to visit while staying in this town. Lodging, dining, and recreation opportunities are abundant in this town. It’s an excellent option for visitors who want to stay near the park.
Where To Eat in Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
There are 2 options for dining within the park’s boundaries: the Caves Café and the Chateau Dining Room. Each option has terrific selections for a delicious meal while you visit. These dining options are currently closed for renovations, with the hopes of reopening in the coming years.
Should you need an option for dining while visiting the park, you will find plenty of options in the nearby towns. Let’s take a look at the top-rated restaurants near the park.
Carlos Restaurante – Mexican and Seafood
Carlos Restaurante – Mexican and Seafood is located in Cave Junction, just 20 miles from the park. This is an excellent place to take a break from your park adventures and refuel with authentic Mexican cuisine.
The menu at this restaurant features classic Mexican specialties such as house-made margaritas, tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and fajitas. Customers rave about the chili relleno, shrimp enchiladas, margaritas, chips, and salsa.
You won’t want to miss the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Carlos Restaurante when visiting this national monument and preserve. It is one of the closest restaurants to the park, has outstanding food, and unmatched customer service.
River Valley Restaurant
River Valley Restaurant is a 30-minute drive from Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve. This restaurant serves old-fashioned comfort foods for breakfast and lunch daily.
Breakfast specials, omelets, homemade soups, hot sandwiches, and burgers are just some items on the menu here. Some of the most popular dishes include eggs Benedict, biscuits and gravy, western cheeseburger, and oriental salad.
River Valley Restaurant has a homey feel; you can enjoy your favorite classics and exceptional hospitality there.
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve Facts
1. A New National Monument
President William Howard Taft established this national monument on July 12, 1909.
2. Original People of the Park
The original people who lived in the monument’s area were the Takelma Native Americans.
3. An Enticing Land
In the 1820s, fur trappers from Hudson Bay Company explored the surrounding Siskiyou Mountains and traveled the Rogue River Valley. Later on, in the 1830s, settlers and gold seekers followed the paths made by the fur trappers.
4. A Land of Fossils
Fossils were found in 1995 of jaguar bones and grizzly bear bones. Research dates these fossils back to 38,6000 and 50,000 years old.
5. Civilian Conservation Corps
Many men of the Civilian Conservation Corps had a role in the 1930s, assisting in development projects at the monument. These roles included building waterlines and picnic areas and installing telephone lines and electric lights.
Oregon Caves National Monument is a trove of treasure just waiting for you to uncover. Tour the caverns, explore the forests, and experience the Siskiyou Mountains in an unbelievable way. Book your trip to this national monument and discover what brings in over 70,000 visitors to this park each year.
Featured Image Credit: NPS
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve?
It is free to enter Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, but if you are hoping to participate in cave tours, there are fees for each tour. Most tours have a $10 charge for adults and a $7 fee for children. Discounted tickets are available for senior citizens.
How long should I plan to visit Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve?
Depending on how much you want to do, spending a full day or 2 visiting Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is recommended. This amount of time will allow for participation in cave tours, wildlife viewing, hiking, and even camping, should you choose an overnight visit.
What is the weather like at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve?
The weather at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve varies by season. Summer is comfortable and warm, with temperatures ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. Winter is very cold and snowy. During the spring and fall, you can expect rainy and snowy conditions.
Can I bring my dog to Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve?
Pets are permitted at Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve as long as owners abide by the pet regulations. Pets are to be leashed and supervised at all times, and owners are expected to clean up after pet waste. There are areas where pets are prohibited, such as inside the cave, on hiking trails, in bodies of water, or inside park facilities.
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