After exploring the marble halls of Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, we checked in to the Oregon Caves Chateau with kids, a National Historic Landmark and part of the PBS series, Great Lodges of the National Parks. Another charming addition to my collection of historic properties stays, I found this lodge packed with quaint woodland details and creatures.
What I loved at the Oregon Caves Chateau
- The sense of history with Monterey Furniture pieces throughout.
- The lobby offers an evening respite and a place to meet fellow travelers.
- The Northwest-inspired menu in the dining room exceeded my expectations.
What I wanted at the Oregon Caves Chateau
- The restaurant needs a historic renovation.
- Updated wall colors and carpet through the property
The Oregon Caves Chateau with kids
After winding in and around a southern Oregon national forest for more than an hour, we see the rustic park sign announcing our destination, Oregon Caves National Monument. While my boys love climbing through mountain caves, I’m here for the historic hotel, The Oregon Caves Chateau. Another national park lodge to add to my collection of stays that include Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon to Lake Quinault Lodge in Olympic and from Old Faithful Inn to the Inn at Furnace Creek in Death Valley.
Built in 1934 by local contractor, Gust Lium, the cedar bark-covered, six-story building with 10 sides is part of the rustic picturesque architectural style. Set in a ravine, the building hugs the sides of the steep landscape with rock work completed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC).
Throughout the Chateau, I found Monterey Furniture pieces. Made in California from the 1930s until the 1940s, their furniture used Oregon adler wood and design influences from Spanish Colonial and California Mission styles.
The Oregon Caves Chateau features the largest collection of Monterey Furniture from the early classic period. I found several pieces in the lobby and my room even included some pieces.
The lobby’s fireplace dominates the space and offers a place to enjoy a book or board game after a day of exploring the caves. With a wall of cottage-inspired windows on the creekside of the lobby, natural light floods the room. Adjacent to the main lobby, I found a kids playroom stocked with games and books.
My Room at The Oregon Caves Chateau
I reserved a corner room overlooking the creek with two double beds. With a room packed with Monterey Furniture antiques and charming quilts, I instantly felt welcomed. We even spotted several deer from our room in the late afternoon.
The beds were comfy and reminded me of my grandmother’s house. My room included a dressing table along with a round table with a pair of chairs where my kids worked on their Junior Ranger booklets.
Though my room didn’t include air-conditioning, I felt comfortable during my July stay. My room didn’t feature a phone, TV or Wi-Fi and I didn’t miss them. After relaxing in our room for a bit we walked downstairs to enjoy the common areas.
My Bathroom at Oregon Caves Chateau
I live in a 95-year-old house, the terms vintage and original make me giddy. The bathroom transported me back in time but I’m a romantic.
With original fixtures, I found the the bathroom quaint. It performs its duty instead of offering an island of relaxation. After all, I’m in the middle of a national forest over an hour from any towns.
I found enough towels from my family of four along with standard toiletries.
Dining at The Oregon Caves Chateau with Kids
During my stay at the Oregon Caves Chateau with kids, we dined overlooking the creek in the historic property. From the large windows, I watched the sun slowly disappear into maze of fir trees. A perfect way to end a day of exploring.
In a room that I thought needs a historic restoration, I found the entrees and service better than I expected.
With a menu infused with Northwest-inspired entrees, the flat iron steak, bison meatloaf and rainbow trout tempted me along with seasonal salads. The dining room also features Oregon wines and cheese.
My kids enjoyed an Italian soda topped with a mountain of whip cream. The Oregon Caves Chateau’s dining room features a kids’ menu with options like natural grass-fed burgers and local-made hot dogs. I found vegetables, salad and fruit for sides for the kids’ meals too.
For families wanting a quick bite, I found a coffee shop at the Oregon Caves Chateau.
Family Fun at the Oregon Caves Chateau
Reserve a tour at Oregon Caves National Monument, the Discovery Tour lasts a 1 ½ hours or take the Candlelight Tour for a historic, evening tour. For the adventurous, the Off-Trail Tour scrambles and squeezes through the cave for 3 hours.
The cave isn’t the only landscape to discover in the Siskiyou Mountains. I found several shaded trails to explore.
- Cliff Nature Trail, a .7-mile trail from the cave exit to the visitor center with a 75-foot elevation gain.
- Old Growth Trail, a 1.0-mile loop from the main parking lot to the visitor center
- Big Tree Trail, a 3.3-mile loop is an ambitious hike with a 1,125-foot elevation gain.
- No Name Trail, a 1.3-mile trail features waterfalls.
Staying at Historic Properties in National Parks
I adore historic properties. With quaint details, from the woodwork and original tile work to the sloping floors and creaking doors, I always book a room at a park’s lodge since each is unique.
I evaluate these properties differently than I would a new hotel property. Most are seasonal properties that are shuttered over the winter and many employ students. A few properties offer luxury in remote locations and others pack in charm along with a pool, though those are the exception.
Most lodges don’t offer air-conditioning though most feature ceiling fans and windows that open. TVs are hard to find and the Wi-Fi is for checking emails only. I know this and don’t expect the modern day conveniences in some of the most remote locations in the U.S.
Pools are rare but hiking is usually right out the front door. Other activities, like horseback riding can be found at many locations too. I always take the free historic tours of the properties.
Most historic National Park Lodges feature large lobbies for enjoying your evening. With my kids, I grab a board game, usually stacked in a corner of the room, and enjoy the simplicity of a game night. Many guests sit by the fire and read a book. Others grab a glass of wine and discuss what they experienced. Some special lodges even provide live music in the evening.
Where’s the Oregon Caves Chateau
Oregon Caves Chateau is located at 20000 Caves Highway, Caves Junction, in southern Oregon. Complimentary guest parking is outside of the Chateau.
Oregon Caves National Monument is 145 miles from Crater Lake, 240 miles from Bend, Oregon, and 75 miles from Redwood National Park in California. It makes an excellent addition to your Oregon road trip.
Oregon Caves National Monument is a fee-free park site, admission for cave tours.
Note: Oregon Caves Chateau is closed for renovations for 2019.
Looking for more information on Oregon, I recommend Moon Travel Guides, I own several.
This post contains an affiliate link.
Know before you go:
- I remind my kids to be gentle with the furnishings and the original doors in historic properties.
- If you plan on visiting Oregon Caves National Monument you can not wear any clothing, this includes shoes, that’s been in another cave due to White-Nose Syndrome.
- From Cave Junction, along U.S. Route 199, it takes 45 minutes to get to the Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve and the last few miles are a series of s-curves.
- RV and travel trainers are not recommended beyond mile post 12 on Caves Highway.
- Kids can’t be carried on cave tours.