Hidden Forest Cave

Deschutes National Forest

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Hidden Forest Cave


  • View of Arnold Ice Cave entrance near the parking area.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Lava depression adjacent to Arnold Ice Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Arnold Ice Cave entrance.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Short network of trails that lead to Hidden Forest Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Large lava depression en route to Hidden Forest Cave, part of the Arnold Ice Cave System.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Exploring inside one of the lava depressions en route to Hidden Forest Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Large lava depression en route to Hidden Forest Cave, part of the Arnold Ice Cave System.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave from above.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave from above.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Looking down at the Hidden Forest Cave 35-foot depression.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Yellow buckwheat en route to Hidden Forest Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Looking north toward Hidden Forest Cave from the south side of the depression.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • The iconic view of Hidden Forest Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Inside Hidden Forest Cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Another view inside the cave.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave from the outside.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Hidden Forest Cave from the outside.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) within the Hiden Forest Cave lava depression.- Hidden Forest Cave
  • Close-up of the volcanic rock.- Hidden Forest Cave
Overview + Weather
Remote and iconic lave cave.
No access to water. Short cave.
Central Oregon, OR
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Points of Interest:
Geologically significant, Other
Other point of interest: 
Dogs allowed: 
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky


Mixed precipitation starting in the evening.


Mostly cloudy throughout the day and breezy until evening.


Light sleet in the morning and windy throughout the day.


Windy until afternoon and mostly cloudy throughout the day.


Partly cloudy until afternoon.


Clear throughout the day.


Mostly cloudy starting in the evening.
Adventure Description

Adventure Description


Located roughly 12 miles southeast of Bend and a part of the same lava tube flow that created Arnold Ice Cave, Hidden Forest Cave is a magical and unique geological destination in the middle of Central Oregon's high desert.

Collectively known as the Arnold Ice Cave System, there are 19 caves in total and numerous more collapsed caves (depressions) that measure 4.5 miles from end to end, with most of the caves being little more than a few hundred feet deep. Wind Cave is located just 1.5 miles to the north on the other side of China Hat Road, and it is the longest, measuring 3,839 feet long. Due to its critical bat population, however, Wind Cave is permanently closed. Other notable caves in the system include:

  • Arnold Ice Cave
  • Charcoal Cave
  • Dark Hole
  • Pictograph Cave (1,640 feet long)
  • Stookey Ranch Cave
  • Bat Cave
  • Deg Cave

Like the nearby and heavily visited Lava River Cave (5,466 feet long), these lava tubes formed as the top layer of a lava flow was exposed to air. The air cooled the lava, which slowed as it solidified. The lava lower down remained at temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees and continued to flow like a river below the hardened top crust. The lava then drained away and left the empty tube in place. Hidden Forest Cave is unique because its both a lava tube and a nearly 500-foot-long, 40-foot-deep depression where the cave's ceiling collapsed.

Visiting the Cave

Starting on the same trail as Arnold Ice Cave, you'll walk about five minutes down the trail passing two or three other lava depressions before reaching Hidden Forest Cave. You'll know it's Hidden Forest Cave as there is a large grove of ponderosa pines in the middle of the depression, unlike the three to five trees that stand in the middle of others. There is a trail that follows the rim to the back side and gradually winds its way down to the cave's impressive entrance.

Hidden Forest Cave is open year round and is easily accessible. It's a good idea to bring a headlamp or flashlight if you plan to venture further back into the cave. Dogs are prohibited, and climbing or bouldering are not allowed on the cave walls. This cave suffered greatly from vandalism in 2001, and volunteers spent years removing graffiti and rehabilitating the environment near the cave. As always, be respectful. When in the area, you can also enjoy nearby Boyd Cave and Skeleton Cave (by special permit only, call 541.389.8359 for details), roughly 3 miles northwest of China Hat Road.

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Updates, Tips + Comments

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Field Guide + Map

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Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(16 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(71 within a 30 mile radius)

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