The Oregon Caves
National Monument and Preserve
A Bit About the Oregon Caves
The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, also known as The Marble Halls of Oregon, is located in Oregon, with a cave system deep within the Siskiyou Mountains. There are nearly 1,600 acres in the park, as well as 15 miles of water that the cave ecosystem depends on. When did it become a National Monument and Preserve? It was signed into law as a National Monument on July 12, 1909. The park was then expanded by adding a National Preserve on December 19, 2004. Admission to The Oregon Caves is always free.
What Can I Do at The Oregon Caves?
At the park, one of the main attractions is the marble cave system located in the Siskiyou Mountains. Want to explore these marvelous land formations? The Oregon Caves offers four different guided tours to explore them. There is The General Cave Tour, which is a 90 minute, half mile long tour with more than 500 stairs to climb, and a total climbing distance of 230 feet. The lowest passage you ever will have to go through is about 45 inches tall. You get to see all the amazing sights of the cave led by just a tour guide and your headlamp. Claustrophobic? You can leave 45 minutes into the tour, if you chose that you would not like to go any farther. Want a challenge? If you are at least 15 years old, you can take on The Off-Trail Cave Tour. This 3 hour long tour brings you off-trail, and through tight squeezes and gaps, all while learning caving techniques and etiquette. Lastly, there is The Candlelight Tours and The Haunted Candlelight Tours. During these tours you are led by only candlelight. You can see the caves like early explorers seen them in the past. On The Haunted Candlelight Tour, you can hear some of the fascinating local history and discover some tales of the caves. Planning on doing one or more of these amazing tours? Go to http://www.nps.gov to book a reservation to go on a cave tour. Not a fan of caves? On the Oregon Caves National Preserve there is 4 nature trails, all open year-round. Just imagine the wonderful views of nature on those trails during every season.
The General Cave Tour
$10 for adults 16 and over
$7.00 for juniors ages 15 and under
$12.00 ages 12 and over
The Off-Trail Tours
$45.00 a person, ages 15 and over
Staying at the Historic Chateau
Since there is no camping allowed in the park, you can enjoy an amazing and relaxing stay at The Chateau Lodge. The lodge is located right on the preserve, so you don't have to drive any more than you did to get there than you had to to get to the National Monument and Preserve. It is one of the National Park's Great Lodges and a National Historic Landmark just by itself! Just imagine staying at an gargantuan six-story hotel which has a fine dining room, a 1930's themed coffee shop, and 23 rooms. Each room has it's own charm and unique style. The lodge is open May seventh through November first, and almost everything-from their employees' uniforms, the soap and shampoo, their food, the items in their gift shop, to their furniture is crafted locally. And just imagine the view of the sunset over the horizon of the preserve just out the windows of your room.
Plants and Animals at The Oregon Caves
The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve has many sights to see, counting the beautiful plants and animals. On the preserve, you could see federally threatened - even rare bird species, as well as many common ones, like the Steller's Jay. The Oregon Caves is also home to 5 species of owls, including the Saw-whet and the Great Horned Owl. In the caves, you are likely to see a Woodrat peeking around the stalagmites, salamanders crawling over the smooth marble rocks, and centipedes guarding their eggs on the cave floor. Oh! Look above your head! A Townsend big-eared bat just flew above you! The Oregon Caves are home to 8 of the 15 species of bats found in Oregon.
What is the Weather like there?
During the Winter, the caves are not open for tours, and the Chateau Lodge is not open to stay at. But, you can always see the beautiful and wonderful sights of nature on the 4 nature trails that are open year round. The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve sees lots of snowy winters and rainy weather during the spring, due to the amount of rainwater being influenced by the ocean levels. During the summer, visitors can experience comfortable temperatures ranging from 65 degrees to 85 degrees fahrenheit, due to the mountain's high elevation. On hot days, you will be able to see lots of the beautiful creatures being more active. But dress dress warm for cave tours! Cave temperatures are about 44 degrees fahrenheit.
Why was this area turned into a National Monument and Preserve?
This area was turned into a National Monument and Preserve because it preserves and protects the unusually created geology of an important cave system and water formations connected to the Siskiyou Mountains for the understanding, benifet, and enjoyment of the public.
Would I Like to go there?
I would love to visit The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve because:
- I love going for walks on nature trails to see the beauty of nature.
- I would love to tour a cave by candlelight and hear the interesting history of the cave.
- I would be amazed to see the amazing 6 story Chateau Lodge for myself, and hopefully be able to spend a night in one of the unique rooms!
- I would love to see all the wildlife that the caves and the preserve have to offer that Wisconsin does not have.