Added by Richard Bacon
Unique lava tube hikeFun outing on rainy days, with easy accessCreepy but exciting hike1.1 miles out-and-back90 foot elevation gainClose proximity to various hikes/outings near Bend
Located 20 miles southeast of Bend, Boyd Cave is a well preserved lava tube stretching close to a mile. To get there, take Highway 97 South through Bend and turn left on China Hat Road. Go straight for exactly 9 miles. Turn left at mile 9 onto the trail at FS242. You will know it has been 9 miles if you see a cattle guard and the road becomes unpaved just a few feet ahead. The small park sign will say 0.5 miles to Boyd Cave, continue on till a round about and look for the stair case.
Once in the cave, make sure you have headlamps or flashlights (headlamps are suggested to keep your hands free to scale small rock sections). The trail is flat the whole way, but you will have to climb over several sections of rocks and encounter one 8-10 foot section that requires army-crawling on the ground to get through. While the trail maintains ceilings tall enough to walk through 80% of the hike, you will have to crouch through several sections. If you are claustrophobic, I would not recommend this excursion.
After a mile or a little less, you will come to the end. There is a small space small enough to crawl through at this point, which may lead you to believe there is more to explore, but beyond it is a closed section.
Because of the nature of the hike, a backup light source is strongly suggested. If your primary source of light happens to go out, the pitch black can be disorienting and create a tough time getting back to the entrance. The caves are open year round, but it if you choose to go in winter, there are two points to consider: it can get very cold underground, so warm clothing is essential. Also, if bats are hibernating, waking them can cause them to lose their body fat they are storing for the winter and not let them survive until spring. It also could be a terrifying experience.
Happy cave exploring!
- Warm clothing
- Hiking shoes
- Friends (hiking this alone would be quite creepy)
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