America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Oregon Caves, Miller Room

Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon

The shame of the Oregon Caves has nothing to do with its history, beauty, or activities; it's that only thirty-four thousand people visited the national monument in 2021, down from nearly sixty thousand prior to the world pandemic in 2020. Sure, it's not that close to anything, but no matter the distance, if you're plying up the Oregon coast, or live or are vacationing in the area, this cave is a must see. And there's hiking above ground, a great historic Visitor Center, i.e. the Chalet, an even more historic Chateau, plus winter activites. Warning. Cold here in winter, but pretty pleasant during the summer months. And it's been around awhile; a national monument since 1909, and prior to that, a venture by two failed entrepreneurs.

Situated inland off Route 199, the caverns are located between Redwood National Park and Crater Lake. There used to be a multitude of concession cabins, they are gone, but still a great 1923 built, 1946 rebuilt Visitor Center, the Chateau, being restored, if you've got to get inside before going beneath or above the landscape. Photo above: Miller's Chapel in the Oregon Caves. Courtesy National Park Service.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Oregon Caves LaPointe/Kreb House, 1940

Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon

In what is called the Marble Halls of Oregon, there are a variety of cave tours to take; the Discovery Tour, the Candlelight Tour, the Kids (must be 42" tall) and Family Tour, and the crawling through tight space Off-Trail Caving Tour. There are fees for the tour, but not the park. Outside, there is a Visitor Center full of cool exhibits, orientation, and park services. The Visitor Center is a unique looking building just begging you to go inside and take a cave tour.

Image above: Vintage stereoscope of a spelunker inside one of the main passages of the cave, 1899, Keystone View Company. Courtesy Library of Congress. Below: Oregon Caves Visitor Center, Christopher Willis. Courtesy National Park Service.

LaPointe/Kreb House 2015

Where Is It

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is located at 19000 Caves Highway, Cave Junction, Josephine County, OR. It takes about one hour to drive to the park from Cave Junction, Oregon, which is twenty miles away down Oregon Route 46.

What is There Now

Oregon Caves

The Visitor Center, the gem of a lodge with twenty-three rooms, called the Chateau (a National Historic Landmark), which is closed for renovations, a spectacular cave, walking trails, camping at Cave Creek Campground (fee charged) from Memorial Day until the rains, and Oregon nature. There is no food here with the Chateaa closed, except some snacks.

There is also a Visitor Center in Cave Junction, Illinois Valley Visitor Center, that is open various hours year round. In summer, it is suggested that you stop there first and buy your cave tour ticket so you don't get shut out forty-five minutes up the mountain and the National Monument itself.

When Open and How Much

The park is open daily, but the Visitor Center is only open, and thus cave tours, starting March 25 through Labor Day. Reservations can be made starting March 1. Some tours have a different charge: Discovery, Candlelight (6 p.m.), Kids and Family $10 adults, $7 youth (15 and under). The Off-Trail tour, not for beginners, and strenuous, 16 and over, three hours long, is $45.

Fees and hours are subject to change.

Oregon Caves National Monument

History Nearby

You're just over the Oregon/California border, but inland from the coast. So there's all those California park, some nearby like Redwoods and Lassen Volcanic and others a bit further away. If you're traveling Oregon, Crater Lake is a must as well.

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