Over half of the high desert surface environment at Lava Beds is protected as wilderness-- a spectacular place to photograph, explore, watch wildlife, or find solitude.
Extensive lava tube caves and volcanic geologic features provide exciting and unique recreation for visitors and critical habitat for special plants and animals. Lava Beds has over 700 caves.
For thousands of years, Lava Beds has belonged to the homeland of the Modoc people; rock art left behind tells part of their story. In modern times, the Modoc War, CCC era, homesteading, and early cave exploration have been chronicled in photographs.
Lava Beds is a land of surprising abundance. A constant display of wildflowers starts in early spring with Carpet Phlox and Sage Marigold, and ends in fall with the golden landscape of flowering rabbitbrush. Wildlife from beetles to mountain lions can be viewed by the patient (and lucky) visitor. Visit the Nature & Science page for many more photos.
The fire management program at Lava Beds is managed to use natural and planned "prescribed" fires as tools to improve our natural resources. Lightning-caused wildfires also occasionally sweep the landscape, as occurred in August 2008.