Oregon Caves and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

May 3rd ~ Southern Oregon

Logo for Oregon Caves

We parted ways with my sister and her husband after breakfast this morning where they joined us for a sampling of a morel mushroom frittata I had fixed. We did not manage to find many mushrooms this year, but there were at least enough for everyone to have a taste. 

Today was broken up into three sections as we drove on Interstate 5 from Central Point to Grants Pass, and then south on US Route 199 toward our final camping destination at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

It’s a Burl Gallery

It’s a Burl Gallery

Quirky, fun, artistic, clever, imaginative carvings and sculptures are what you will find here.

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The items are all hand crafted by about ten different artisans and range from functional pieces of furniture to odd, one of a kind pieces of art. It is definitely worth a stop if you are passing this way.

Oregon Caves National Monument

Laura at Oregon Caves

There are several tours available. We took the discovery cave tour that lasted about one and a half hours.

As we waited for our departure time, Laura captured this beauty in a group of six.

Black Tail deer

Entrance to the cave

Plaque at entrance

I can’t say that this is the most beautiful, nor grandest, nor colorful, nor interesting cave we have been in. It is however unique that it is one of only three in the USA that is made primarily from marble.

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Please note: (per their website)

Children: For their safety, children must be at least 42 inches (107 cm) tall to take a tour. The cave route is not safe for small children. Children cannot be carried through the cave.

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.

I found the tour interesting, but not a wow. Two things really stood out – the lighting throughout was poor and many stairways did not have any handrails. For anyone with any physical limitations or balance issues this would be quite dangerous.

The last time I was here was twenty-six years ago and I was much more fit. I probably would not do this tour again.

The exterior walls were exquisite covered in moss

We did however enjoy seeing the historic château lodge right next to the cave entrance. Rates are not cheap, but reasonably lower than many of the other National Park lodges we have visited. With its huge fireplace, old-fashioned style cafe, and a dining room that has a small creek passing through it, the charm was not lost on me.

Interior of lodge

Salted caramel milkshakes – Yummy!

Jedediah Smith State Park

Michael and Tim working the BBQ

The park consists of 9,500 acres of redwood trees, including several groves of old growth trees, and is situated right on the Smith River.

“The park was named after explorer Jedediah Smith, who was the first American to travel, by land, from the Mississippi River to California in 1826, passing through the area of the future park.” – Wikipedia

This is the northern edge of Redwood National Park, home of the Giant Sequoias. From our campsite (#57), we had a view of the river and a short path that took us down to the water. Right across from us was a beautiful strand of enormous redwoods. Truly a delightful setting.

Our campsite with a path to the river

Smith River

Took about 1/2 an hour to explore around the campgrounds and found this growth.

I have no idea what it is, but thought it was beautiful in a strange way

Animals spotted so far: Black tail deer, wild turkeys, squirrels, coyote, Llama, sheep, goats, cows, horses, Canada geese, chipmunks, daddy long-leg spiders, banana slug, two bald eagles.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that we were able to get a great camping site right on the Smith River. I have wanted to camp at Jedediah Smith Park for years and have never been able to make it happen – until now. I’m also thankful for the delicious salted caramel milkshake that I devoured with great glee and gusto at the Oregon Caves Cafe.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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15 Responses to Oregon Caves and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

  1. vivian meade says:

    A blog to warm my heart… We have done the caves..some time ago…and found that it was indeed challenging ..(claustrophobia in some parts reared its ugly head)… Jedediah Smith Park was always one of my favorites.. and must do it again.. Thank you so much for your wonderful pictures. I am sharing this on my FB page…

    Like

  2. Laura Urban says:

    Another awesome day! Loving every minute❤️

    Like

  3. sheilsm says:

    Being an RV camper, myself, I am thoroughly enjoying your posts about your camping experience. There is nothing like sleeping in your own bed with windows open and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature! Your friends are lucky to be traveling with you! Thanks again, for sharing your travels!

    Like

  4. joylennick says:

    Some beautiful shots there, folks! And salted caramel milkshake?! Yummy. A heart-lifting place to be Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  5. Widdershins says:

    No mooses yet though? 😀

    Like

    • Nope, no moose. After hunting for WEEKS on our trip last summer before we finally found one, I am now grateful for whatever comes our way. I think seeing the bald eagles up close has been the biggest treat so far on this trip.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. tippysmom2 says:

    Another great day, it looks like. I love the pictures from the Burl Gallery. I would love to have that table in my house! It is awesome! I like unique functional wooden items. I probably wouldn’t do well on that cave tour. Sounds like there were sections that were too closed in for me. I can handle it for a really short period of time, but not 88 feet. I, too, loved the moss covered exterior. The Jedidiah Smith Park looks like a wonderful place to spend the night. The grown is some sort of lichen. Looking forward to your next installment.

    Like

    • The Burl Gallery always has new items that are quite unique. The inlaid pieces are my favorites. I too am claustrophobic, but did OK in that regard. It was the poor lighting and no handrails in sections that did me in.

      Liked by 1 person

      • tippysmom2 says:

        I can see how that would be a little disconcerting and potentially dangerous. And, I’m sure they told you to NOT touch the sides of the cave, so you couldn’t even use that to help stabilize yourself. Glad it didn’t trigger a claustrophobic reaction. When I went to Mammoth Cave, there was a section that you could barely squeeze through, but a short distance. So, they told us that those who tended toward claustrophobia should be at the back so we/I could wait for everyone else to get through before I stared. That way, I wouldn’t get stuck in there if there was a traffic jam ahead. That helped.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Cherilyn says:

    I think you guys just became my new favorite travel bloggers lol. I don’t get to do much traveling myself so, thank you for doing this.

    🙂

    Like

    • It is our pleasure to share our adventures, especially when we can show a place where someone may not otherwise get to see, or even rekindle a good memory for a place they have seen long ago. Thank you for joining us and for your kind words of encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

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