Accessibility

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve strives to make memorable and enjoyable experiences accessible to all our visitors. The following information provides guidance on accessibility throughout the park.

Cave Accessibility

Physical Considerations: Please be aware that the cave tour is physically demanding. It requires the ability to walk and stoop through narrow, twisting passages, including an 88-foot (27m) passageway with ceilings as low as 45 inches (114 cm), and the ability to ascend and descend over 500 steps, many of them steep, uneven and/or without handrails.

To ensure the safety of the entire group, all visitors are asked to demonstrate the physical ability to navigate the cave tour route. During the introduction, the guide will ask visitors to crouch down to approximately 45 inches (114 cm) and take several steps. If a visitor is unable to do so, they will be invited to visit Watson’s Grotto, the first room of the cave, but may need to exit at that point. (Watson’s Grotto is 75 feet [23 m] from the entrance and requires stooping as low as 51 inches [130 cm]).

This tour is moderately strenuous and not recommended if you have a heart condition, breathing issues, poor balance, trouble walking, issues climbing stairs, or have back, knee, hip, ankle, or foot problems.

To protect the resource, visitors are asked not to touch the cave walls or features along the tour route. An exhibit in the visitor center does provide an opportunity for a tactile experience of the cave.

Use of Mobility Devices
Watson's Grotto, the first room of the cave, is accessible to visitors using wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and similar devices. However, the cave beyond is physically too narrow to accommodate these devices. Rangers are happy to accompany people with wheelchairs and walking devices into Watson’s Grotto.

Canes/Walking sticks: To protect the resource, walking sticks are not allowed in the cave except for people that medically require a walking assistance device. Grate openings, crevices, and low ceilings pose a challenge for people with canes. For safety reasons, we recommend that canes have a stem diameter greater than one inch and be 45 inches or less in length.

 

Service Animals

Service animals are welcome within the visitor center, Chateau, and many other areas where pets are prohibited. However, for the safety of the handler and the animal, service animals are not allowed within the cave. The cave tour route includes steep, open-grate stairways, spiral staircases, and irregular ceilings as low as 45 inches. Service animals tested displayed nervous behavior in the cave, were unable to negotiate the spiral staircase, struggled to ascend the steep imagination room staircase, and they became a tripping hazard to the handlers and people around them. Contact the park to explore alternatives to access the cave.

Service animals are defined by the Department of Justice under the Americans with Disabilities Act as, "any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability." Therapy or emotional support animals are not considered service animals and are not permitted in areas normally prohibited for pets.


Visit the Americans with Disabilities Act web page for more information about service animal regulations.

 

Accessibility Accommodations

Sign Language Interpreter: The site does not have a sign language Interpreter on site. Contact the park well in advance and special arrangements can usually be made to request a sign language interpreter to visit the park on the day of visit.

 

Accessibility in the Park

Parking

Accessible parking is marked with blue reserved signs in the lower parking lot and in the upper parking lot near the visitor center and next to the Chateau.

Visitor Center and Chateau

The Oregon Caves Visitor Center and the Chateau are wheelchair accessible with the use of portable ramps. Staff will be happy to set these up upon request. Both buildings are original structures constructed in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

 
National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass

National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass-Access Pass
The Interagency Access Pass is a free pass for U.S. citizens and permanent residents of the U.S. with a medically determined permanent disability. The Interagency Access Pass provides free access to Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance Fee and a 50% discount for Standard Amenity Fees. The 50% discount for Expanded Amenity Fees typically includes such things as camping, boat launches, and specialized interpretive tours, including tours of the Oregon Caves. The discount only applies to the pass owner. Proof of residency and documentation or signature on an affidavit stating the applicant is disabled is required to obtain this pass. Acceptable documentation includes a statement from a licensed physician; a document issued by a Federal agency, such as the Veteran's Administration; Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income statement; or a document issued by a State agency for vocational rehabilitation. Showing a state motor vehicle disability hangtag is not acceptable. This pass does not cover or reduce special recreation permit fees or fees charged by concessionaires. The Access Pass is valid for the lifetime of the pass owner whose signature is on the pass.

Last updated: October 4, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

19000 Caves Hwy
Cave Junction, OR 97523

Phone:

(541) 592-2100

Contact Us