Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National Monument

Quick Facts

Lava Beds National Monument

California

(530) 667-8113

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created an incredibly rugged landscape punctuated by cinder cones, lava flows, spatter cones, lava tube caves and pit craters. During the Modoc War of 1872-1873, the Modoc Indians used these tortuous lava flows to their advantage. Under the leadership of Captain Jack, the Modocs took refuge in "Captain Jack's Stronghold," a natural lava fortress. From this base a group of 53 fighting men and their families held off US Army forces numbering up to ten times their strength for five months. Visitors can tour both the geologic and historic wonders of this unusual landscape. Maybe you love caves, or you've never been in one. Or you're a history buff, love wildflowers, or just need a few hours of solitude in the wilderness away from the daily commute? Lava Beds is the place for you. Indoors or out, any time of year, there's always a variety of activites and events to keep you busy, interested, and amazed.

Map of Lava Beds

Latitude, Longitude: 41.714178, -121.509802

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Although the road shoulder is narrow, road bicyclists frequently travel through the beautiful high desert landscape.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    There is no public transportation in the park. All roads in the park, even the unpaved Medicine Lake Road, accommodate standard passenger vehicles. Snow can temporarily close roads, but the main paved road is plowed whenever necessary and the park is kept open all year.

  • Camping

    The 43 - site Indian Well Campground is located at the south end of the park just downhill from the Visitor Center. It features an amphitheater, two restrooms, and ample supplies of drinking water. It was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, and features the original historic hand-built lava stone picnic tables they constructed. Campsites are available year-round, as are water and modern restrooms. However, the park may close portions of the campground for seasonal maintenance or energy efficiency in winter when campers are scarce.

  • Caving

    Most caves in the monument are open for exploration without a guide, and many are well marked, easily accessible, and relatively safe to explore with flashlights, a helmet, and sturdy footwear and clothing.

  • Hiking

    Guided nature and historic walks are available.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horses and pack animals are only permitted on Three Sisters, Lyons, and Whitney Butte Trails. Leg protectors are recommended for horses and riders. All wilderness regulations apply to both horse and rider.

  • Picnicking

    Picnicking is available, but there are no designated areas. Please keep your safety in mind when picnicking in and around the caves.

  • Winter Sports

    Winter sports are not available.

Seasonality/Weather

Lava Beds' caves, trails, camping, and attractions are open year-round. Cave Loop Drive is closed to vehicles after dark, but you may still enter on foot or bicycle. Occasionally in winter, snow can temporarily close park roads until they are plowed.

Directions

Driving

Visitors travelling south on Highway 139 (from Oregon) will see signs four miles south of Tulelake directing them into Lava Beds. Visitors travelling north on Highway 139 (from Alturas) will see signs 27 miles north of Canby directing them into Lava Beds.

Flying

Klamath Falls International Airport

Phone Numbers

Primary

(530) 667-8113

Links

Comments

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