Illinois Valley Oregon is a place filled with exciting and memorable places to visit when travelers and residents of Oregon go seeking adventure. As the traveler leaves Grants Pass Oregon traveling southwest approximately 30 miles away is the wonderful community of Cave Junction. Here a traveler can find the magnificence of the Oregon Caves and The Oregon Caves Chateau.
A local resident Elijah Davidson discovered the Oregon Caves in the 1874, an avid hunter it is told that Elijah had shot a deer and was proceeding to take care of the fallen meat when suddenly a bear appeared. Elijah’s much loved dog Bruno did as most dogs would do. He chased that bear. While chasing after his beloved dog Elijah noticed that they both disappeared into the side of the mountain he had just been hunting on. Elijah did what any loving dog owner would do when he heard Bruno and the bear fighting within the cave, he followed them into the caves. With only 3 candles he was forced to abandon Bruno and crawl out of the dark following the running stream that went through the caves. Hence the beginning of the tours of the Oregon Caves began with Elijah and his dog Bruno (who had returned to their home on his own) started taking friends and travelers to the caves.
The Oregon Caves Chateau was built and opened in 1934 where it has served visitors to the Oregon Caves since that time. Reported now to be haunted the Chateau seemed to call to my family for a visit. So this year for my birthday we went to the Oregon Caves and stayed at the haunted Oregon Caves Chateau.
On the way we visited many sights and places in the Illinois Valley, which I will write further on at another time. However, this is a report on our visit to the Oregon Caves and the Oregon Caves Chateau.
Arriving at the Caves it is immediately evident that the Chateau sits right at the mouth of the Oregon Caves. Along the mountainside is a look alike building that is actually the home of the National Forest Service Rangers who care for the caves and the Caves Chateau year round.
My family arrived and we immediately took our tour of the Oregon Caves. Reasonably priced at $8.50 an adult and $6.50 a child. The caves are listed as moderately strenuous and not recommended for people with heart or breathing problems. I however took the tour making sure I had my nitro and was just fine during this 2-hour trip to the underworld. Susan was our guide and an employee of the National Forest Service. Not only did Susan give our group a wonderful, educational, and informative tour she is an avid cave person herself and the group could see she loved the job she was doing. The sharing of this beautiful, natural place created over centuries by Mother Nature was something dear to her heart.
One the tour was completed, in approximately 2 hours; we came out of the cave on the other side of the mountain from the entrance. A nice trail will take you on a leisurely walk to the top of the mountain for a panoramic view or a trail leading down and around the side of the mountain will take you back to the caves entrance.
We then crossed the parking lot to register at the Oregon Caves Chateau for our overnight stay. The main lobby was something otherworldly in a way. It contains a huge marble double-sided fireplace with comfortable couches and chairs around both sides for guests. The dinning room is located on the third floor alongside the café and gift shop. The original stream runs through the formal dining room as it comes down from the Oregon Caves itself.
The rooms at the Oregon Caves Chateau are exactly as they were in the Chateau’s original beginning with pressboard on the walls and the windows overlooking the caves entrance, pool just outside the caves and the trails that are filled with beauty.
Our room was a double, which included two queen size beds and a full bathroom. One unique thing about the Oregon Caves Chateau is that there is no television or telephone in your rooms, the décor takes you back to the original days of the Chateau and the front desk staff will tell each guest that the front doors are locked at 10:00 pm and opened again in the morning. If there is an emergency there are staff members on location or the Forest Service persons who will be called by an emergency button.
Most visitors come to the Oregon Caves Chateau for relaxation and a taste of the way it use to be, quiet and relaxing in the dining room with marvelous foods to choose from and a wine selection to meet the tastes of every guest who visits. Some visitors however come to see the local ghosts that are said to still walk within the Oregon Caves itself and still walking the halls of the Oregon Caves Chateau.
We had a wonderful dinner in the dining room, a little expensive but very elegant and good. A breakfast was served with the cost of our room in the Café each morning. One disappointment was not seeing the resident ghosts but most of the disappointment came to our party because when booking the time at the Oregon Caves Chateau we were specifically ask if there was any special event that brought our party to the Chateau. We explained that it was in deed my birthday, but upon arrival we were ask whose birthday it was and what birthday it was but that was the extent of the recognition. There was nothing special presented, no special desserts, wines, meals or even room services provided for this special event.
The trip was fulfilling in that our party learned much of the history of the Oregon Caves and enjoyed the ambiance of the Oregon Caves Chateau itself.