October 10Lava River Cave - South of Bend by Julie
The Lava River Cave south of Bend is not a state park, but part of the Deschutes National Forest - Newberry National Volcanic Monument. I have enjoyed working there for 3 years now as a ranger/interpreter with the Deschutes National Forest. A new enterance to the facility is being constructed by ODOT. Please, visit us next summer when the cave reopens.
September 16Quick stop on US-97 south of Bend, OR by Jim
We were travelling south on Hwy 97 out of Bend when we encountered Newberry National Volcanic Monument - it had a nice visitor center and an extinct volcano very near-by which we took a quick look at. While in the Visitor Center they mentioned that there was an Oregon State Park across the road which was closed at that time of year, but the access to the lave tube caves was open. They warned us that we should be certain that we had at least two good flashlights per person before we ventured into the caves since there was no one who was going to come looking for us if we got lost in the dark of the cave. the second flashlight was to help us find our way OUT (after the first flashlight quit working). They also warned us to have warm jackets since the lava tubes are always quite cool.
We found the parking lot near the entrance to the lava tubes and walked down the ramp and into the caves. We only planned to go a short distance into the cave, but it was fascinating as it opened up into a couple of large spaces. In all we were only in there for a couple of hours and probably went no more than a quarter of a mile, but it was worth the stop.
As we were exiting the cave, a group of hardier (younger) sightseers came out about five minutes behind us, but we had never heard their boisterous voices until they emerged from the cave.