0.4 miles round trip
50 feet elevation gain
Open all year
This short hike explores one of many chilly caves riddling the ancient lava flows outside Bend. Bring one flashlight per person—and a lantern as well, if possible. And don’t forget to bring coats. Even on a hot day it can be quite cold underground.
The lava flows here spilled about 10,000 years ago from the flanks of the Newberry Volcano, a vast shield-shaped mountain dotted with cinder cones. When the flows were molten the basalt was so runny that even after its surface solidified, liquid rock flowed underneath. The draining lava left long, tube-like caverns.
Of the four caves in this particular cluster, only Boyd Cave is now open to hikers. Arnold Ice Cave is filled with ice. Skeleton and Wind Cave were open to hikers until 2007, when they were gated closed to prevent vandalism and protect hibernating bats. Now only commercial tour companies and groups with a Forest Service permit are given the key to the gates, and then only between May and mid-October, when the bats are not hibernating. Waking up a bat in winter can cause it to use so much of its stored body fat that it may not survive until flying insects once again are available as food in spring.
Start by driving Highway ...
A nearby lava tube, Arnold Ice Cave, is ...