Spiral Stairs Oregon Caves

Spiral stairs is a spot in Oregon Caves National Monument where water once leaked in through an opening from above ground. Above the spiral stairs is what remains of the opening (no closed) where the dripping water created flow stones with bacon strips around the edges of the shaft:

Ceiling above the spiral staircase Oregon Caves

When looking down, the shaft doesn’t end, but continues to a level below. That shaft that now holds a spiral staircase to get to a lower level of the cave which you must descend to see other parts of Oregon Caves:

Spiral Staircase in Oregon Caves National Monument

The next stop on the Oregon Caves tour is at the Grand Column.

Niagara Falls Oregon Caves

One of the many highlights of Oregon Caves National Monument is the flow stone formation named Niagara Falls. As might be guessed, the cave formation gets its name because the flow stone resembles Niagara Falls:

Niagara Falls flow stones in Oregon Caves National Monument

While the formation is beautiful, it also is a testament to what happens when caves aren’t protected. As you look at the bottom of Niagara Falls, you can see that many of the tips o the formation have been broken off and taken as souvenirs:

Broken rock formations at Niagara Falls flow rock at Oregon Caves National Monument

When you learn that it takes 100 years for one of these to grow the length of the tip of your pinky finger, you realise that the damage done erased tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of years of work, and it puts into perspective the important work that the National Park system does to keep these beautiful places intact for later generations to see.

The next stop on the Oregon Caves tour is at the Spiral Stairs.