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Lava Beds National Monument

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Overview

Lava Beds National Monument is a land of disorder. For over 400 millennia, volcanic activity has formed this landscape, creating a land with a rough and irregular surface. Not only is the land marked by the varied volcanic features, this scarred earth is dotted with Native American rock art sites, multiple campgrounds, historic battlefields, and stunning high desert wilderness. Explore the lava tube caves and tour the historical sites of the Modoc War sites to experience the rich history and geography that the park has to offer.

To learn more about Lava Beds National Monument, visit www.nps.gov.

Local Info

Visitor Centers:
The Lava Beds Visitor Center hours vary by season. Check the park's website for current hours of operation.

Fees & Passes:
To learn more about park fees, click here.Note: Due to its remote location, Lava Beds does not accept debit or credit cards.

Visiting Tips

Lava Beds National Monument is open daily, year round, except on December 25. Hours of operation vary throughout the year. Check the park's website for current hours of operation.

Cave Loop Drive is closed to vehicles from 5 pm to 8 am, but you may still enter on foot or bicycle. Occasionally in winter, snow can temporarily close park roads until they are plowed.

Camping & Lodging

Lava Beds has one campground, Indian Well Campground, located 1/2 mile from the Visitor Center and Cave Loop. There are 43 sites available on a first come, first served basis. Sites can accommodate tents, pickup campers, small trailers and motor homes up to 30 feet. Not all sites can accommodate motor homes. For more information on camping in the park, click here.

Free backcountry camping is also permitted. Restrictions are in place for camping near developed areas and caves. Fires are prohibited and no surface water is available. No groups of more than 12 individuals are permitted.

To learn about non-camping lodging options, visit the park's website.

Food & Drink

Other than the snacks sold at the Visitor Center bookstore, no food is available within the monument. The closest restaurants are in the towns of Tulelake, CA and Merrill, OR, both about 25 miles away. Check out the park's website for more information.

Other Activities

Lava Beds is surrounded by thousands of acres of public land and is located near a great variety of other scenic, historic, and recreation destinations! Be sure to check out Modoc National Forest as well as Klamath National Forest.

Maps & Guidebooks

To download a variety of free brochures to help plan your visit, click here.

Gems in Lava Beds National Monument - 1

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gem Favorite Fleener Chimney. Good thing they have a guardrail...

Fleener Chimneys

(1) Tulelake, CA

Recommended Routes in Lava Beds National Monument - 2

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Favorite The beautiful Northern California landscape.
Easy/Intermediate

Captain Jacks Stronghold

1.3 mi 2.1 km 104' Up 31.8 m Up 107' Down 32.54 m Down

Tulelake, CA
Favorite The fire lookout sits at the summit atop lava splatters.
Intermediate

Schonchin Butte Trail

1.5 mi 2.4 km 460' Up 140.12 m Up 457' Down 139.38 m Down

Tulelake, CA

Lava Beds National Monument Running

  • 34 Miles 54 Kilometers of Trail
  • 2 Recommended Routes
  • 1 Gem Gems
  • 21 Easy Trails Easy Trails
  • 5 Intermediate Trails Intermediate Trails
  • 0 Difficult Trails Difficult Trails
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Trails in Lava Beds National Monument - 24

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0.0 mi 0.1 km #1Merrill Cave Trail
Easy
Tulelake, CA
Easy
Tulelake, CA
0.0 mi 0.0 km #2Skull Cave Trail
Easy
Tulelake, CA
Easy
Tulelake, CA
0.5 mi 0.7 km #3Heppe Cave Trail
Easy
Tulelake, CA
Easy
Tulelake, CA
0.1 mi 0.1 km #4Indian Well Cave Trail
Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
0.9 mi 1.5 km #5Symbol Bridge Trail
Easy
Tulelake, CA
Easy
Tulelake, CA
8.0 mi 12.8 km #6Three Sisters Trail
Intermediate/Difficult
Tulelake, CA
Intermediate/Difficult
Tulelake, CA
3.6 mi 5.8 km #7Whitney Butte Trail
Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
10.0 mi 16.0 km #8Lyons Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
0.7 mi 1.2 km #9Gillem Bluff Trail
Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
1.2 mi 1.9 km #10Bunchgrass Trail
Easy/Intermediate
Tulelake, CA
Easy/Intermediate
Tulelake, CA

Photos of Lava Beds National Monument - 35

Trail Run Project is built by runners like you. Add Your Photos

The beautiful Northern California landscape.
Feb 2, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
The view is excellent from the trail.
Nov 28, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
Lava rocks and lichen for days.
Feb 2, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
Along the Big Nasty Trail
May 5, 2018 near Tulelake, CA
Views of the Tulelake National Wildlife Preserve spread out before you.
Nov 28, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
The fire lookout sits at the summit atop lava splatters.
May 21, 2016 near Tulelake, CA
Looking southwest from the Lyons Trail.
Jun 1, 2019 near Tulelake, CA
Going west on the Three Sisters Trail with Schonchin Butte in the distance.
Jun 1, 2019 near Tulelake, CA