265 votes

Lava Beds National Monument

1 Indian Wells, Tulelake, California 96134 USA

Open Now
Mon 12a-11:59p
  • Independent
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    not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Public
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“Over 700 caves to Explore!”

Lava Beds National Monument is a land of turmoil, both geological and historical. Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and a high desert wilderness experience await you! There is so much to do and see at the Lava Beds! The monument's two main attractions are Modoc War historical sites and lava tube caves.  Throughout the summer we offer special events, ranging from Astronomy Day, Night Sky, and Jr. Ranger Day. There are over 22 developed caves and over, 700 discovered caves within Lava Beds National Monument. When caving we recommend that you wear appropriate safety gear including long sleeves, long pants, closed-toed shoes or boots, gloves, kneepads and helmets.

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Reviewed by

  • 36 Reviews
  • 10 Helpful
January 31, 2015
Rated 5.0

I love the lava beds. I grew up exploring it and continued to explore it yearly for most of my life until I relocated. I highly recommend it to fill your sense of adventure. The cave pictured is fern cave, you can only see it by appointment.

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 401 Reviews
  • 292 Helpful
August 22, 2014
Rated 5.0

When talking about volcanic activity in the Pacific, Hawaii is the first place that someone can think of. Well, i have to inform you that the amazing natural monument of Lava Beds in Tulelake is a proof that this part of California used to be extremely volcanic where huge volcanic eruptions took place some million years ago leaving their marks nowadays.

Lava Beds is a great place to visit for those enthusiasts who live and breathe for caves/caverns, history, paleontology, geology or who are just thrilled to walk surrounded by uniquely formed majestic rock formations.

You are strongly suggested to take the ranger tour where your guide will explain you everything you may ask about this spectacular place, that will definitely be loved by your boys, especially if they are adventurous, as my two sons are!

We were informed that quite a few events take place there during the summer with the best one being the Astronomy Day. The main advantage of this place is that it is far away from everything, therefore make sure you have filled your car's tank to the top with gas, cause there are very few gas stations at least 30 miles away from this place. Don't forget to wear proper clothes and shoes in order to explore the caves which are separated in three levels of difficulty : easy - moderate - strenuous. Choose the ones according to your stamina and flexibility.

Thumbs up !!!

5 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 14 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
July 21, 2021
Rated 5.0

Nice place, WAY off the highway. Clean bathrooms, my youngest son fell in love, my oldest son just fell. Had to rush him to the ER closest one was an hour away, even still its definitely on the list for revisiting.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
June 23, 2020
Rated 5.0

Stopped by this place on a road trip from LA to Seattle and I wish we had more time! We arrived later in the day and it was practically empty. We saw the Valentine and Skull caves, but couldn’t go too deep. Will definitely come back to explore further.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
March 22, 2016
Rated 4.0

Make sure to go to the visitor's center first. The caves are neat, but a little scary with young kids. We had a 3yr old, 5y, 6yr and 11yr. They can disappear easily in the cave darkness, so we had to be really cautious.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
March 11, 2015
Rated 5.0

Very cool place , lots of wildlife, many caves to explore and not many other people. We barely scratched the surface!

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
The Ice's

  • 4 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
June 22, 2021
Rated 4.0

Come prepared for the caves. Also while pets are allowed in the park they are not allowed in the caves.

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Reviewed by

  • 74 Reviews
  • 59 Helpful
August 16, 2014
Rated 5.0

One of my favorite places from childhood road trips. Dozens of caves to explore that were formed by ancient lava flows. Some are simple and walkable with small kids, others are intense, claustrophobic and will take hours to fully explore. Also some fun above ground hikes. History buffs should also check out the nearby Captain Jack's Stronghold and Tule Lake Internment Camp.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • Road Warrior
  • 13 Reviews
  • 31 Helpful
February 07, 2014
Rated 4.0

Totally worth a visit! amazing place that I would upload photos to if roadtrippers would let me :).... although I never found a cave with that type of vegetation

1 person found this review helpful

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Lava Beds National Monument

1 Indian Wells
Tulelake, California
96134 USA
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Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm

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  • Parking
  • Pets Allowed
  • Restrooms
  • Wifi
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Credit Cards Accepted
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