Redmond Caves

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Redmond Caves
Entrance to Redmond Caves, Redmond, Oregon, 2005.jpg
Entrance to Redmond Cave no. 1
Location Deschutes County, Oregon, USA
Geology Horse Cave lobe; basalt of Lava Top Butte[1]
Entrances 6
List of
Each cave has one entrance, except Cave Next Door has two
Difficulty Easy to Moderate
Access Public
Cave survey 1997-06-07; 1980-11-??; 1969-03-28

The Redmond Caves are a group of six lava tubes in Deschutes County, Oregon, United States. The caves are located in the city of Redmond and are jointly managed by the city and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).[2][dead link][3] Five of the caves are in the Redmond Caves Park and have been known locally for many years. The caves are a part of the Horse Lava Tube System and are the farthest northern extent of the system.[4] The lava flow that created both the Horse system and the Redmond Caves continued on into the Redmond Dry Canyon and terminated near Crooked River Ranch.[4][5] The caves have a geologic age of about 80,000 years.[6]


Many of the caves in the system were known long ago by prehistoric Native Americans, as attested by archaeological artifacts found therein.[2]

The first known caves of Central Oregon by Euro-Americans, may have been the Redmond Caves. During the 1870s an old stage road passed by their area.[7] Since their discovery by settlers, various uses have been recommended for the caves. One report mentions the caves were considered for potato storage as early as the 1910s.[8] There was also a proposal from a Madras resident who wanted to use them for growing mushrooms.[7] On one occasion, the Deschutes Historical Society was notified about using the site as their museum.[9]

In 1954, the Lions Club of Redmond opened up an entrance to a previously inaccessible cave. After finally gaining entry into the cave, they discovered footprints of modern shoes in the dusty floor. Later, two boys admitted to squeezing into the cave the night before.[10] The newly opened cave turned out to be the longest on site and Y-shaped.[10] Later, the cave was fully explored by two boys searching for relics. They discovered that the Y-shaped passage was instead a loop.[11]

After the discovery of the new cave, John Berning of the Lions Club, showed a few artifacts to Dick Nooe and Harry Sly (then small boys). The artifacts had come from within the caves. Later, the boys would go back several times to sift through the dirt and pumice and found a wide assortment of ancient artifacts. After the boys were notified that they were violating the Preservation of American Antiquities Act, they donated their collections to the University of Oregon.[11][12]

During the 1960s, the caves were considered as fallout shelters by the Office of Civil Defense.[13][14] The three largest caves were reviewed and noted to have a capacity up to 450 individuals.[13][14] In the early 1970s, packets were mailed to residents of Bend and Redmond showing directions on how to get to their nearest fallout shelter. The caves were to be used in the event of an atomic attack, volcanic eruption, or earthquake.[15]

Since the 1970s, the caves were constantly being proposed as a city park site.[16] Not until the last five years has the site seen progress towards that goal. Before improving the site, archaeological field studies had to examine the caves and their contents.[2][17][18][19] In the meantime, the caves have suffered from recurring vandalism and defacement.[20][21][22]


University of Oregon students mapping the caves

The caves have been the center of cleanups over the years. After repeated vandalism and defacement of the caves, projects were created to help maintain them.[23] In 1997, the Oregon High Desert Grotto participated in the survey and mapping of all five caves on the site.[23] By 2002, the BLM held a cleanup event at the Redmond Caves. Together they extracted 300 tires in addition to a car at the park site.[24][dead link] In 2006 the BLM organized another cleanup. It took place on National Public Lands Day and received help from the Oregon High Desert Grotto and the Willamette Valley Grotto. They removed graffiti and trash, in addition to other projects.[25][26]

Bat usage of the caves has been documented at various times. It has been suggested that prior to frequent human use, the caves held many bats.[27] On a visit in early 1986 by Mark Perkins, a bat biologist, however, he reported seeing only one hibernating Big-Eared bat. During a summer search, Perkins again noted only one Big-Eared bat using the caves as a night roost.[27] During the same survey, Perkins also documented the usage of the caves by two bats previously unknown to have used the caves. They were the Big brown bat and the Western Small-footed Myotis; all were male bats.[28] The BLM drafted a Record of Decision on management of various resources. Among the considerations was the restoration of suitable bat habitat in a portion of the Redmond Caves.[29]

The caves[edit]

The park currently holds five caves; in the past, however, more caves around the site were known.

A very small cave is located on the adjacent airport property. Airport Cave is a very small cave only 12 feet in length.[30]

One cave was known to exist at the site of a former lumber mill nearby. Dick Nooe recalled tunneling westward whereupon he heard a thundering sound overhead. It turned out to be a train on the surface.[12] This cave is known as Redmond Railroad Cave and was closed up years later by the lumber mill. It is located on the property of Brad's Auto Parts.[30]

On a similar note, a cave west of the Redmond Railroad Cave was accidentally breached. This cave had no known natural entrance prior to the breach. It was opened up during the construction of a parking lot. It was estimated to be 100 feet long and headed westward and the floor was covered in gypsum deposits. The cave was closed back up during the construction. The cave was originally discovered when a bank resided on the property, but today it is a Dairy Queen.[30][31]

Lions Cave was opened up by the Redmond Lions Club in 1954 and named for them by an editor of The Redmond Spokesman.[32]

The six existing caves have two sets of names. Numbers have been designated by the BLM, and those previously without names, were coined by the caving clubs of Oregon.[23][30][31]

  • Airport Cave (Redmond Cave no. 6)
  • Redmond Cave (Redmond Cave no. 1)
  • No Account Redmond Cave (Redmond Cave no. 2)
  • Cave Next Door (Redmond Cave no. 3)
  • Lions Cave (Redmond Cave no. 4)
  • Insignificant Redmond Cave (Redmond Cave no. 5)

Buried caves include:[30]

  • Redmond Railroad Cave
  • Bank Cave

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jensen, Robert A. (2009), A field guide to Newberry Volcano, Oregon; The Geological Society of America, Field Guide 15, pp. 53–79. 
  2. ^ a b c O'Grady, Patrick (c. 2005). "Redmond Caves Archaeological Field School". Retrieved 2009-12-01. 
  3. ^ Bureau of Land Management (September 2005), Upper Deschutes Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-01-22, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  4. ^ a b Champion, Duane E. (2002-05-14), Mapping Newberry Volcano's Extensive North Flank Basalts, retrieved 2009-12-01 
  5. ^ Peterson, Norman V.; Groh, E. A.; Taylor, E. M.; Stensland, D. E. (1976), Geology and Mineral Resources of Deschutes County, Oregon, Bulletin 89 (State of Oregon, Department of Geology and Mineral Industries), pp. 20–22 
  6. ^ Donnelly-Nolan, Julie M. (2004), Magnetic Excursion Recorded in Basalt at Newberry Volcano, Central Oregon, Bibcode:2004AGUFMGP43B0861C 
  7. ^ a b Unknown (1954-02-08), "City of Redmond Takes New Interest in Ancient Caves", The Bend Bulletin, p. 6 
  8. ^ Unknown (1940-02-15), "Redmond Group to Explore Caves", The Bend Bulletin, p. 1 Section One, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  9. ^ Unknown (1978-05-03), "Cave Viewed as Museum", The Bend Bulletin 
  10. ^ a b Unknown (1954-04-08), "Lions Club Breaks Into Large Cave, Cavern Biggest in Redmond Park Area; Small Boys Beat Explorers", The Redmond Spokesman, pp. 1, 3, 6 
  11. ^ a b "Federal Act Stops Relic Hunt in Cave", The Redmond Spokesman, pp. 1, 6 Section One; p. 3 Section Two, 1954-04-01 
  12. ^ a b Stranahan, Martha (1978-06-28), "Redmond Caves Beckon their Former Explorers; Haze Hides Caverns' Past, Future; 'Atlatl Boys' Stake First Redmond claim", The Redmond Spokesman, p. 12 
  13. ^ a b Grant, Ila S. (1963-01-09), "Marking of shelter sites is underway", The Bend Bulletin, p. 1, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  14. ^ a b Krupka, Robert A. (1966-06-11), An Evaluation of the Shelter Potential in Mines, Caves and Tunnels, Appendices I, II, III, Office of Civil Defense, pp. 11–35 
  15. ^ Tripp, Julie (1973-02-13), "A-bomb or Volcano, Shelter Plan Offers Hope For Some", The Bulletin, p. 6 
  16. ^ Pratte, Bob (1979-05-23), "Cooperation Is The Key, Officials Excited With Project", The Bulletin, p. 4 
  17. ^ Pinkerton, Trish (2005-10-29), "Caves Explored for Park", The Redmond Spokesman, p. C1, C10 
  18. ^ O'Grady, Patrick (c. 2005), Redmond Caves Archaeological Project (PDF), retrieved 2009-12-02 
  19. ^ KOHD News (2007-10-26), Redmond Caves, archived from the original on 2011-07-13, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  20. ^ Darr, Deanna (2000-04-19), "Despite Vandalism, Redmond Caves a Good Getaway", The Bulletin, p. B1, B3 
  21. ^ Flowers, Eric (2003-09-10), "Officials Seek to End Vandalism at Redmond Caves", The Redmond Spokesman, p. 3 
  22. ^ Merritt, Rebecca (1997-06-11), "Cave Job Begins With Plan", The Bulletin, p. B1 
  23. ^ a b c Nichols, Sarah (1998), "Redmond Caves Project", Oregon Underground, pp. 9–10 
  24. ^ U.S. Forest Service (2002-09-25), National Public Lands Day Culminates Local Cleanup Effort, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  25. ^ Bureau of Land Management (2006-09-26), 2006 National Public Lands Day Sites and Activities (PDF), p. 4, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-10-07, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  26. ^ U.S. Forest Service; Bureau of Land Management (2006-10-12), Local Volunteers Clean Up Redmond Caves (Ochoco and Deschutes National Forests and Prineville District, Bureau of Land Management Office of Communications) (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-03-04, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  27. ^ a b Perkins, J. Mark (1986), Central Oregon Survey for Townsend’s Big Eared Bat, Plecotus Townsendii 1986 Final Report, ODF&W Contract # 86-3-03, USFS Requisition # 88-FWL-86, p. 92 
  28. ^ Perkins, J. Mark (1998), Results of Mist Netting and Bat Trapping at Redmond Caves and Selected Mine Sites for Prineville Bureau of Land Management 
  29. ^ Bureau of Land Management (2005), Upper Deschutes Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan (PDF), p. 20, archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-01-22, retrieved 2009-12-02 
  30. ^ a b c d e Skeels, Matt (2015), The Middle Ground - 2015 NCA Regional Guidebook, p. 20 
  31. ^ a b Skeels (2009-12-03). "Central Oregon Caves". Retrieved 2009-12-03. 
  32. ^ "New Cave - But Just the Beginning". The Redmond Spokesman. April 8, 1954. p. 2 Section Two. 

External links[edit]