While we were driving to Sunriver for the Sunfest yesterday, we passed the Lava River Cave and I thought this would be a good blog topic. The Cave is the longest-known lava tube in Oregon, running 5400 feet (over a mile) underground. It’s located about 12 miles south of Bend on Highway 97, just past Lava Butte.
It’s a pretty neat summer outing, if you’re into that sort of thing. (It’s only open during the summer months.) Take a jacket though—it’s a constant 40 to 45 degrees F in the Cave, year-round. And it’ll cost you $5 for a day pass, and if you want to rent a lantern, another $3.
Of course, you don’t have to rent a lantern… you could bring your own, or a flashlight (that’s what I would always do), and save your money. Take note, though, that "There are restrictions on personal lanterns, NO glass globe, white gas, or kerosene lanterns are allowed (our lanterns have special screen mesh globes, so no broken glass)."
Oh yeah, the point? Well, when was time you explored a natural underground cavern for a mile beneath the surface of the Earth? And what’s really cool—after you get deep enough in so there’s no more ambient light from the entrace, shut off your light. Pitch black, and if you’re quiet, nearly perfect silence. Sensory deprivation!
I recommend trying it at least once (well, not if you’re claustrophobic or really afraid of the dark). Here’s a nice writeup of the Cave, worth a read before you go.