Boyd Cave

Written by’s Local Expert


Boyd Cave in Sunriver, Oregon, is a lava tube, and it is incredibly interesting to see. It’s within the Deschutes National Forest, located on the Newberry Volcano. It’s between 75,000 and 400,000 years old, and when you step into it, you’ll see just how stunning it is. It’s so well preserved that people can walk into and explore a portion of it. I highly recommend this experience if you are in the area of Bend (which is where the cave is actually located).

The Boyd Cave Trail is pretty short in that it is under a mile in length. It will take you to Coyote Loop Trail, and at that point, you can cross the road to get to the Arnold Ice Cave Trail. If you decide to take the trail, it’s a gravel road.

The cave is accessible throughout the year, but it is often best to visit during the spring through fall. It is simply too cold during the winter. From my understanding, this cave does not have bats in it that are commonly found in other lava caves in the area (which is a really good thing!)

This cave is friendly to most people who are able to be mobile, but smaller children may become a bit scared of the 20 steel steps you have to take to get to the floor of the cave. The cave floor isn’t smooth, but it’s flat and easy enough to navigate. You’ll have about 8 feet of headroom in most areas. Remember, you are 20 feet down, and it will be cold here. Use your hands in this adventure, exploring the way the material feels, including how cool it is. It’s so interesting to see what’s lurking underground, and this is an easy way to do it.

Boyd Cave Directions & Parking

There are a few caves in this region located just off China Hat Road. To get here, take Highway 97 south and exit at #143, Knott Road. From there, turn left and continue to follow China Hat Road for about 15 minutes. You will then reach a sign that tells you where to turn. It’s on the left. You’ll then follow a small dirt road into the parking area. The entrance to the cave is just down from that area.

Here’s the good news. There is no long trail leading into the area. Unlike some other caves in the area, you just park right up front in the parking area and then enter the cave. You do not have to park and walk first (which is so common in some of these other areas.)

The Cave

Once you get into the cave, take your time and explore every part of the available area. I found that by really taking a few extra minutes, I could learn a lot more and appreciate the space I was in! Once you walk in, you will feel as if you are deep within a hole. There are a set of stairs to climb down. Believe it or not, the first steps down were made of wood and far steeper than what you have to climb now. Nevertheless, there are a number of steps down.

Then, you’ll be tempted to want to just follow the path, but before you do, take a look at the walls of the cave. You can see the marks from the lava flowing here. The entire area is really well maintained, but you still have to pay attention to what’s occurring. You could hit your head or miss a step. You’ll also notice there’s some chalk-like dust on the surface of the rocks down here. That’s to be expected and nothing that will not wash off you later. It can be a bit slick in some situations.

You will want to wear something warm because it is very cold down here. You’ll have the ability to explore about 1880 feet within the cave once you are down here. There are some tight areas to get into, but it’s worth trying to fit into the area.

Be sure to take the time to really get to know the basalt and pahoehoe formations in this area. Look at the detail work – and touch it. You’ll love just how beautiful this area is.

Be sure to bring a bright light. It gets dark down here, and having your own light allows you to pace yourself a bit better. A headlamp works well as long as it is bright enough.

Local Tips

  • Day Pass and Parking Permit Needed to Access Cave


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