Newberry National Volcanic Monument Celebrates 25th Anniversary
1990 – 2015
One-mile long Lava River Cave is the longest lava tube in Oregon. Thousands of years ago, a river of molten lava created a channel, and the sides crusted over to form the roof. Hot lava continued to flow out of the channel, leaving the tube hollow.
Cave temperature is a constant 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Wear warm clothing and sturdy shoes and carry flashlights or propane lanterns. Rental lanterns are available.
Descend 150 steps to the Collapse Corridor where piles of volcanic rock fell from the roof and sides.
The volcanic rock ceiling in Echo Hall reaches 58 feet above the floor and measures 50 feet wide. Near the end of this hall, Highway 97 passes 80 feet overhead.
Volcanic stalactites found throughout the cave are also known as lavacicles.
Sand covers the cave floor in the Sand Gardens. Approximately 310 feet from the end, sand reaches to the ceiling.
On your return trip to exit, sunlight at the entrance is a welcome sight.
Five-square mile Lava Cast Forest is more than 6,000 years old. Lava from vents on Newberry Volcano surged through an ancient ponderosa pine forest. Engulfing the trees, lava quickly cooled around the trunks to form molds. The trees eventually burned to charcoal or ash. A one-mile, self-guided trail with 12 interpretive signs, winds over the lava flow where rock penstemon and Indian paintbrush grow among young ponderosa pines.
Next week we’ll visit Newberry Volcano.