Forests, lakes and rivers aren’t the only outdoor areas the Pacific Northwest has to explore. Oregon and Washington are home to many beautiful cave systems, many of which are open to the public. Here are a few of the best cave systems the Northwest has to offer:
1. Oregon Caves
Located about 20 miles outside of Cave Junction, the Oregon Caves National Monument is a breathtaking underground system just waiting to be explored. Park rangers lead guided cave and off-trail tours, as well as popular candlelight tours. Visit the park website for more information.
2. Lake Cave
Another great system for exploring, the Lake Caves are located near Mount St. Helens in Washington. The large caverns and expansive system make it a perfect spot for family day trips as well as more experienced spelunkers.
3. Under the Lake Cave
This interesting lava cave is located near Sheridan Mountain in Oregon and was discovered in the late 1980s by Kim Luper. It got its name because it was originally thought to be located directly under a lake. The cave has four parallel passages, one of which leads to a beautiful cavern with a small skylight.
Of course, inexperienced cavers should be extremely careful when first exploring any cave system. Make sure you have a map and at least one functional LED headlamp, LED flashlight, or personal LED lantern. Also, make sure park rangers, friends or family know about your trip.