CAVE JUNCTION — Cave tours will be offered free Saturday at the Oregon Caves National Monument.

CAVE JUNCTION — Cave tours will be offered free Saturday at the Oregon Caves National Monument.

Located about 18 miles east of Cave Junction on the Caves Highway, the caves will be open for their annual free tour day beginning at 9 a.m. with the last tour set to begin at 6 p.m. Each tour will accommodate only 16 people.

The cave route is moderately strenuous, covering a half-mile of trail and stairs. Children must be at least 42 inches tall to take the tour.

However, a special tour into the first room of the cave can be requested for families with children too small for the longer tour. Wheelchairs can be used only in the first room.

Warm clothing and comfortable walking shoes are recommended for the tour. Cameras with flash attachments can be used in the cave. No tripods are permitted, however.

In addition to the caves, the monument operated by the National Park Service offers ranger programs and nature trails. Hikers may prefer to take hikes earlier in the day when it is cool, then retreat into the caves during the heat of the day. The temperature inside the caves averages 44 degrees.

Those who want to take a cave tour in the afternoon should obtain their ticket before going on a hike, officials said.

A gallery with locally produced art and crafts is located on the lower floor of the Oregon Caves lodge. Lunches and dinners are available at the coffee shop and chateau dining hall.

For more information on the open house, call the 592-2100 or visit www.nps.gov/orca.