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Pets allowed
Yes
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Please respect the outdoors and leave no trace. One tip how to dispose of waste properly: Pack out toilet paper and hygiene products. For more information, visit https://lnt.org/learn/7-principles

Boca Cave is still a little-known jewel on the edge of the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Its unique location allows for an excellent view of Mount Jefferson right out the cave entrance. The bonus on this hike is nearby Triangulation Peak, which affords panoramic views of Mount Hood to the north as well as Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, and the Three Sisters to the south.

After closely following the driving directions along several logging roads you will find the well-marked trailhead with several informational bulletins and a free self-issue wilderness permit station. The hike begins on gently rolling terrain as it crosses a ridge to the east toward the peak. After approximately 1.5 miles the trail then becomes somewhat steeper as it ascends the northwest slope of the peak via a few short switchbacks. At the first switchback you will be met with an up-close view of Spire Rock, a basalt formation jutting up into the sky.

On the summit plateau of Triangulation Peak there is an unmarked trail junction. Follow the trail to the right for the summit and unimpeded views of the Cascades. A wildfire lookout sat atop the peak from 1933 to 1967. No evidence remains of this relic. A short boot path traverses the ridge to the west and leads to a small spire for a clear view of Spire Rock to the north.

Once you've had your fill of the views from Triangulation Peak's summit, be sure to explore Boca Cave. Follow the summit plateau trail back to the unmarked junction and take the trail to the north. This trail leads through several unofficial campsites, some complete with fire rings. The trail then disperses and is clearly unmaintained. To reach the cave, follow a boot path down the northeast slope through the thick forest. A hand-written sign for Boca with a clear arrow has been scrawled into the side of one of these trees indicating you are on the right track. This trail is steep and unofficial, so take caution. Follow this trail for a quarter of a mile down the slope as it circles to the north around a giant rock formation; this is the cave itself. The trail will lead you right to its mouth.

Be sure to make your approach to the cave known to any wild animals that may be occupying the cave. Its gaping, dark mouth can be both daunting and exciting to see. After donning your headlamp or turning on your flashlight, take your time exploring the interior of the cave. It does not penetrate a far distance, but it expands to a wide, vaulted room. At the time of this adventure's reconnaissance, a fire ring existed in the cave; remember to follow the Leave No Trace principles and avoid contributing to this evidence of your presence. Follow the trail you've taken back to your vehicle.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Pros

Old-growth forests. Panoramic views of several Cascade peaks. Unique cave with a view.

Cons

Cave trail is not maintained. Rough logging roads.

Trailhead Elevation

4,800.00 ft (1,463.04 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,031.00 ft (314.25 m)

Address

NF-2233
Detroit, OR 97342
United States

Features

Backcountry camping
Rock climbing
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Cave
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Mt. Jefferson + Metolius River Area, Oregon

Comments

About how long is this hike? Is it really about 4 hours from Portland?
07.14.18
Great views of Mt. Jefferson, and the cave is nice and cool on hot days. I’m not sure I would have found the cave if I hadn’t met some people who had previously been there. The trail goes down into the burned down section of trees and then around the rock wall.
Parts of trail were covered in very deep snow (In picture, Late June) which made it quite difficult to follow. We had to backtrack several times after realizing we were no longer on a trail. The road up to the trail head was half pavement/half gravel and very well maintained. Boca cave wasn't easy to find, but look for an opening off the trail near the peak (to the left on your way up) that has a large rock all by itself. Keep going beyond it and a "trail" will be obvious. This part is steep and dicey at times. Trekking poles would have been nice.
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