• Schonchin Butte

    Lava Beds

    National Monument California

Plan Your Visit

Planning Your Lava Beds Adventure Starts Here!

Whether you're coming in the summer or winter a little pre-trip planning will provide you with a safe and enjoyable visit to Lava Beds. With countless opportunities for discovery the following information and links will help you plan an adventure that's just right for you!

 
Visitor Center display

Modoc exhibit inside the Visitor Center.

How do I get to the park?

Check out the links to your left to get directions, find out about operating hours & seasons, and learn about fees & reservations.

When traveling to Lava Beds please keep in mind that while the main park road is open all year, not all roads outside the park are open during the winter and early spring months. If you are unsure if the roads you are planning on taking are open, feel free to give us a call at 530-667-8113, and we will do our best to let you know.

 
hiking through the stronghold

Hiking through Captain Jack's Stronghold

Hikes, Walks, Talks, Tours and so much more!

There is so much to do and see at Lava Beds, both above and below ground! The monument's two main attractions are the historical sites of the Modoc War and exploring the lava tube caves. Modoc War sites are found primarily at the north end of the park, and most of the caves can be found near the visitor center at the south end of the park.

Check out our schedule of Ranger-Guided Interpretive Programs here.

You can explore on your own, or join us to learn more about Lava Beds. The monument offers ranger led cave tours, morning walks/talks and evening campfire talks in the summer. In addition to these programs Lava Beds also host several special events, including the Timeline Living History event, Astronomy Day & Night Sky event, and Jr. Ranger Day.

Find the answers to questions such as can I bring my dogs, where can I camp, are the roads paved, and much more in the Things To Know Before You Come section, including information on Safety, Camping and Lodging.

 
cave-ladder

Planning on going caving?

There are over 20 developed caves waiting to be explored! To learn more about these caves and how to cave safely and softly please visit the caving page. When caving we recommend wearing appropriate safety gear including long sleeves, long pants, closed-toed shoes or boots, gloves, kneepads and helmets. Gloves, kneepads, helmets and flashlight can be purchased at the visitor center. Flashlights can also be checked out for free at the visitor center.

If you have boots or other gear that has been in caves or mines east of the Rockies (including in Canada) or in Europe, please leave these items at home. This is an effort to prevent the spread of White-nose Syndrome, a deadly fungal bat disease.

Current Cave Closures

  • Ovis Cave / Paradise Alleys
  • Thunderbolt Cave (upflow from trail entrance)
  • Blue Grotto
  • Natural Bridge
  • South Labyrinth Cave
  • Balcony Chamber
  • Mitertite Hall

These caves are closed for the protection of maternity colonies of Townsend's Big-eared bats. Bats are important components of the ecosystem, as they provide insect control and pollination of plants among other functions. Maternity colonies, hibernating bats, and all roosting bats are very sensitive to human disturbance, such as entry into caves where bats are present. Disturbance can cause drastic declines in bat populations. Officially these caves will remain closed throughout the summer and will open again in mid-October.

Did You Know?

Pacific Coast Treefrog

Pacific coast treefrogs (Hyla regilla) are the only frogs at Lava Beds, but are common throughout the monument and prefer cool, moist caves entrances. They are usually seen after occasional summer rainstorms.