In addition to the Out ’n About Treehouse and nearby campgrounds, the six-story Oregon Caves Lodge (P.O. Box 128, Cave Junction, OR 97523, 541/592-3400, $90 and up) offers food and accommodations May 1–October 31. Located about 50 miles west of Grants Pass on U.S. 199, the château stands at an elevation of 4,000 feet. Built in 1934, this rustic structure blends in with the forest and moss-covered marble ledges. Indigenous wood and stone permeate the building so that you never lose a sense of where you are.
The guest rooms feature views of Cave Creek canyon, waterfalls, or the Oregon Caves entrance. For a unique experience, we recommend the sixth floor. The rooms may be small, but they have more character and extend out at odd angles from the building. The Pendleton blankets, tall painted chairs, and wooden bed frames add to the historical nuance.
The château has been nicknamed the “Marble Halls of Oregon,” and you can see the huge marble fireplace in the fourth-floor lobby for yourself while you thaw out after your spelunking expedition. The food at the château is surprisingly good, and having Cave Creek running through the center of the dining room definitely adds to the unique atmosphere. Downstairs, the old-fashioned 1930s-style soda fountain (daily May–Oct. 15) dishes up classic American burgers, fries, and shakes.
For a nice after-dinner hike, take a walk down the Big Tree Trail, named for a huge Douglas fir estimated to be more than 1,000 years old. With a circumference of 38 feet 7 inches, it is among the largest standing trees in Oregon.
The 3-mile round-trip wends its way through virgin forest that has tan oak, canyon live oak, Pacific madrone, chinquapin, and manzanita, as well as Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. The hike is not that difficult, and the solitude and views of the surrounding mountains are as inspiring as the Big Tree.
For a jaunt that is just under 1 mile, try the Cliff Nature Trail. Placards will help you identify the plant life as you traverse the mossy cliffs, and there are also some good vistas of the Siskiyou Mountains.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel