Trip Planner USA  /  California  /  Tulelake  /  Nature  /  Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake

Categories: National Parks, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.8/5 based on 220+ reviews on the web
Lava Beds National Monument is located in northeastern California, in Siskiyou and Modoc counties. The Monument lies on the northeastern flank of the Medicine Lake Volcano, and has the largest total area covered by a volcano in the Cascade Range.The region in and around Lava Beds Monument lies at the junction of the Sierra-Klamath, Cascade, and the Great Basin physiographic provinces. The Monument was established as a United States National Monument on November 21, 1925, and includes more than 46000acre.Lava Beds National Monument has numerous lava tube caves, with twenty-five having marked entrances and developed trails for public access and exploration. The monument also offers trails through the high Great Basin xeric shrubland desert landscape and the volcanic field. 1872-1873, this area was the site of the Modoc War, with a band led by Kintpuash (also known as Captain Jack). The area of Captain Jack's Stronghold was named in his honor.Geologic formationsLava Beds National Monument is geologically outstanding because of its great variety of "textbook" volcanic formations, including lava tube caves, fumaroles, cinder cones, spatter cones, pit craters, hornitos, maars, lava flows, and volcanic fields.
Add Lava Beds National Monument and other attractions to your Tulelake trip itinerary using our Tulelake vacation generator.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
going to
read all reviews »
  • We did a couple of lava tubes of varying degrees of difficulty in a day. They are all fairly short, so many can be done. Helmets, knee pads and gloves are an absolute must if you want to really explor...  read more »
  • Interesting to see, but in a very remote location. From the entrance, it's a long drive to the Visitor's Center. We gave up about the halfway there and turned around. There are caves to explore, but y...  read more »
  • I came here not knowing what to expect with my husband and brother, we are in our mid 20's and looking for a little adventure! We came for the afternoon. Oh my gosh it was one of the coolest experienc...  read more »
  • I love walking/crawling through caves, so I could have spent several days here. It's nice that you can explore them without a guide. The Golden Dome trail was really cool looking and interesting to know that it's caused by bacteria. Bring your own flashlight. The ones that they loan out looked bulky and heavy. There's also nice trails above ground, if caving isn't for you. This was one of the most fun National Monuments I've visited.
  • We toured several of the easy caves-one by the visitor center and 2 others. They all had stairs or easy entrances. The terrain can be uneven so a walking stick is helpful. You can borrow a flashlight from the visitor center but better to bring your own. There are many caves they require more skill or duck walking/crawling although we didn't explore those. There were many butterflies when we were there. Well worth the trip.
  • Truly majestic experience here with friendly staff and camp hosts. It took about two days to explore the caves located on cave loop. I personally enjoyed Skull cave due to its vast scale in comparison to the others. If you're looking to dive deep, I highly recommend catacombs cave as there are multiple layers with passages branching in many directions vertically and horizontally. At about 800' into this cave you will approach a stairwell on the left hand side. This stairwell leads to a second layer of exploration. If you continue on the main tube you'll reach a point at about 1000'. From here you'll need to crawl on you belly to squeeze through to the next passage. I would suggest bringing knee pads, gloves, and elbow pads as the course lava rocks will scuff you up real nice like. Embrace your inner exploratory impulses and head to this park. I look forward to visiting this place again soon!
  • Very cool site. When we went it was about one hundred degrees outside but only sixty degrees in the lava tubes. I'd recommend bringing good shoes, a fleece, a flashlight. Have fun exploring!
  • This is a truly amazing park worthy of National Park Status. Their special tours to the ice cave and the fern cave are truly a unique experience. You have to book in advanced for these reservations, and they go fast! Skull cave was my favorite amongst the lava tubes.
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 1​h 30​m