• Schonchin Butte

    Lava Beds

    National Monument California

Crystal Ice Cave Tours

Visitor below the first icy slope of the cave

A visitor completes the slippery descent into the cave


Crystal Ice Cave contains some of the most spectacular ice formations among Lava Beds' many caves. Because of the sensitive nature of this cave's formations and its cold environment, Crystal Ice Cave is open to park visitors only on small ranger-guided tours during the winter months.

Tours of no more than six visitors are offered every Saturday at 1:00 pm from December through March and last 3+ hours.

This is a strenuous excursion for people 12 years and older in very good physical condition. Tour participants must use upper body strength to ascend a sheer, 50-foot long sloped ice floor on a rope, must be able to crawl through a tight hole, and have enough fitness and coordination to negotiate loose, boulder-strewn floors and icy patches safely. This tour is not appropriate for people with major medical conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, or osteoporosis, or those with a fear of heights or tight places.

For more information about what to expect during the tour please click here

Helmets, gloves, sturdy boots, and warm layered clothing are required. Headlamps and kneepads are highly recommended.

Reservations for these tours can be made up to three weeks in advance and are very competitive. Call or visit the Visitor Center at 530-667-8113 between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm for more information or to make tour reservations.


The tour guide may cancel the tour at any time for health and safety reasons.


Tour Date

Day you can start

to make reservation

Tour Date

Day you can start

to make reservations

December 14, 2013 November 23, 2013 February 8, 2014 January 18, 2014
December 21, 2013 November 30, 2013 February 15, 2014 January 25, 2014
December 28, 2013 December 7, 2013 February 22, 2014 February 1, 2014
January 4, 2014 December 14, 2013 March 1, 2014 February 8, 2014
January 11, 2014 December 21, 2013 March 8, 2014 February 15, 2014
January 18, 2014 December 28, 2013 March 15, 2014 February 22, 2014
January 25, 2014 January 4, 2014 March 22, 2014 March 1, 2014
February 1, 2014 January 11, 2014 March 29, 2014 March 8, 2014
Ice formations in Crystal Ice Cave
Ice formations in Crystal Ice Cave evoke feelings of awe and wonder.

Did You Know?

Cave Slime

Many of the caves at Lava Beds provide habitat for cave slime! Cave slime is a hydrophobic bacteria that repels water, causing it to reflect a gold or silver color when illuminated with a flashlight. Cave slime is spectacular in high concentrations and is in no way harmful to people.