Redwood Forest Sequoia sempervirens

Oregon Caves National Monument

Near Cave Junction, Oregon, East of Hiouchi, CA

Cave Junction, Oregon, is just 43 miles from the edge of Jedediah Smith Redwoods at Hiouchi, California. Then Caves Highway 46 by 19 scenic miles. From the redwood empire, take Highway 199 east and make a right turn in Cave Junction on 46. From Interstate 5, exit at Grants Pass, go west on Hy. 199 to Cave Junction and make a left turn on 46.

Oregon caves entrance

The Monument is located at 4,000 feet on wooded slopes of the Siskiyou Mountains. Expect comfortable summer temperatures, snowy winters, and rain during spring and fall. The marble rock of Oregon Caves was once a tropical reef that was pushed under the contintental edge to a depth of 12 miles and later uplifted to 4,000 feet above sea level. The mountains surrounding Oregon Caves are composed of ocean crust rocks uplifted from Earth's mantle: one of the largest serpentine rock outcrops in the United States.

Until 1922 the only way to get to Oregon Caves was a 12 mile trail from Williams, Oregon. Visitors explored the cave and spent the night at a camp outside the cave entrance. When visitors came to Oregon Caves in the late 1800's they explored the cave by candle light.

If you plan to go in the Caves, remember that children must be at least 42 inches tall and demonstrate ability to climb stairs, before taking the guided cave tour. The caves are not the only feature. There is hiking too. A few trails are listed below:

Big Tree Trail

This hike takes about half a day to complete because it is a steep climb. This trail takes hikers through beautiful scenery, meadows, and the largest Douglas fir tree known in Oregon.

Distance - 3.3 miles loop - one source says 3.8 miles
Duration - 2 to 3 hours
Elevation gain -1,100 feet
Trailhead - archway behind the Visitor Center

Cliff Nature Trail

This trail at the Monument passes over marble rock outcrops, Douglas fir and grand fir forest, with spectacular panoramas. The trail climbs over part of the mountain the cave is located in. Themiddle of the hike has a vista point where most of the monument valley is in view.

Distance from cave exit - 0.7 mile
Duration - 30 minutes to 1 hour
Elevation gain - 75 feet
Trailhead - cave trail exit

Distance - from the cave entrance - 1 mile
Duration : 45 minutes to 1 hour
Elevation gain - 300 feet from the Chateau

No Name Trail

Distance -1.3 miles
Duration - 45 minutes to 1 hour
Elevation gain - 250 feet above Chateau
Trailhead - archway behind Visitor Center

Walk underneath the covered bridge which follows Cave Creek, crosses the creek, and climbs back up to the other end of the Monument. You can relax on the many benches along the trail. The hike is short, but steep. The scenery is excellent, with two short trails leading to two waterfalls on No Name creek. This is a good route back to the parking after a cave tour.

Old Growth Trail

Distance - 0.8 mile loop
Duration - 30 to 45 minutes
Elevation gain - 200 feet above Chateau
Trailhead - archway behind Visitor Center

Historic Civilian Conservation Corp trail climbs gradually among oaks, marble outcrops and a grove of spectacular old growth trees.