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ORoads: The Roads of Oregon

ORoads: Oregon Route 46

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Oregon Route 46
OR-46 Navigation:
Info/Map | Definition | History | Route Log | ODOT Traffic Cameras | Pictures (coming soon)
Oregon Route 46 Info and Map
OR-46's Routing from Cave Junction to the Oregon Caves National Monument
Lengths: 19.33 miles (current alignment)
19.51 miles (1932 alignment)
Type: Undivided Highway
Lifespan: 1932-present
Western Terminus: US-199 at Cave Junction
Eastern Terminus: A parking lot at the Oregon Caves National Monument
Cities Served: Cave Junction
Intersects: none
Multiplexes: none
Oregon Highway Name/Numbers: Oregon Caves Highway #38
Oregon Route 46 Official Definition

"Over the Oregon Caves Highway from its junction with the Redwood Highway, US199, in Cave Junction, easterly to the Oregon Caves."

~ ODOT, Descriptions of US and Oregon Routes, March 2007

Oregon Route 46 History

OR-46 was created at the inception of the Oregon route numbering system in 1932, heading between US-199 in Cave Junction (formerly called Redwood Highway Junction) and the Oregon Caves National Monument in the middle of the Rogue River National Forest. The caves themselves were discovered in 1874 by Elijah Davidson, who discovered them while hunting bears in the forest. Since then, the caves were dedicated in 1909 as a National Monument, and the largest complete Jaguar fossil in the country was found in 1995 by people mapping the caves. Because of the preciousness of the caves, and because OR-46 is a narrow, steep, winding highway, it can be very dangerous to travel.

Before the road that became OR-46 was built in 1922, the only way to access the caves was by a 12-mile trail from Williams, Oregon, which is closer to present-day OR-238.