• Speleothems in Miller's Chapel.

    Oregon Caves

    National Monument Oregon

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  • Road Work, Expect Delays

    ODOT will be preparing highway 46 for asphalt patching. Please use caution when traveling between the monument and Grayback Campground. Various work will be from continue until July 31, 2014.

  • Watch for Wildlife

    Please be on the lookout for fawns on the section of Caves Highway around Caves Campground! There is at least one very young one that is using the pavement as his transportation corridor.

Walter Burch

“I am confident that there are more caves, or chambers to be discovered,” Walter Burch *.

Walter C. Burch was one of the key founders in Oregon Caves’ history. Burch first heard about the caves in 1884, and within that same year got together a party of people to explore them. He and Homer D. Harkness attempted to get a title on the land surrounding the caves, but three years and $1500 later, they had nothing but squatters rights. They opened the caves as a tourist attraction under the name the Limestone Caves.

Burch’s big achievement was discovering a huge section of the cave. He was down in a room that we now call Niagara Falls when he felt a heavy draft of wind coming through a small opening. Burch spent two days laying in a pool of ice water two inches deep in order to blast out the hole. He made it barely large enough to crawl through, and even had to remove his outer garments. Walter Burch was the first person to set eyes on Grand Column, and the first to discover many spectacular rooms in Oregon Caves.

Did You Know?

The rock wall and water fall taken in this 1930s photo are the same you see today when you visit the Oregon Caves chateau.

Most of the rock work seen around the historic district of Oregon Caves was made by Civilian Conservation Corps crews. More...