Plan Your Field Trip

School Bus
SCA Jesse leading students into Valentine cave
SCA Jesse taking students into Valentine Cave

Ranger Led Education Programs

Lava Beds offers three curriculum-based ranger-led education programs that can be requested at least 6 weeks before your field trip. Groups are asked to please choose one of the three programs, so that rangers will be available to assist other schools groups. Programs include a guided tour of Valentine Cave, a ½ mile hike through Captain Jack's stronghold, and a geology presentation inside of Mushpot cave.

School Bus

Apply for an Entrance Fee Waiver

Lava Beds collects a park entrance fee, but education groups may apply to have that fee waived. Fee waivers do not apply to campground fees.

Modoc Baskets in Visitor Center
Modoc baskets on display in the visitor center

Stop by the Visitor Center

Dozens of interpretative exhibits showcase the natural and cultural history of the park. There is a 12 minute park video that provides a great overview of all that you can see and do at the park. The visitor center is also where you group will need to come to screened for white-nose syndrome, prior to entering any caves in the park.

At the visitor center you can check out flashlights, for free, to use for the day. There are bump hats, flashlights, suveniors and educational materils that can also be purchased at the visitor center bookstore.

Kids Caving
Caving in Lava Beds

Go Caving

With over 20 developed caves, groups can easily spend days underground exploring this unique environment. Before coming to the park we recommend reviewing the "Cave Safely, Cave Softly" page and sharing it with your students and chaparones.

The safest way to take a large group caving is to divide into groups of 6-8 students with at least one adult assigned to each group. Students can walk around the 2-mile loop road from the Visitor Center with each small group exploring a different cave. To find out hte level of difficulty for each cave and to see which caves are currenlty open please vsit the caving page.

To expand your caving experience you can request the Geology and/or Cave Life Trunks to be mailed to you in advance. They each have about 2 weeks of lesson plans you can use before coming here. You can aso request a ranger guided geology education program, such as Mushpot program or a Valentine cave tour.

Once you arrive at the park, your group will need to come to the visitor center to be screened for white-nose syndrome, prior to entering any caves in the park.

Studetns hiking the stronghold
Students hiking Captain Jacks Stronghold

Go Hiking

With over a dozen hiking trails through Lava Beds, you're bound to find one that offers an amazing adventure for your students. Tails range from .5 miles to over 8 miles in length, and go through various habitats found within Lava Beds.


Extend Your Field Trip and Stay the Night

Lava Beds has one campground, Indian Well Campground, located 1/2 mile (0.8 km) from the Visitor Center and cave loop. There are 43 sites available on a first-come, first serve basis. Sites can accommodate tents, pickup campers, small trailers and motor homes up to 30 feet. There is also one Group Site that can be reserved and accommodate 15-40 people. To learn more visit our camping page.
Rattle Snake
Western Rattlesnake

Stay Safe

Whether exploring Lava Beds above or below ground there things to consider to keep you and your students safe.

Ranger Dave giving a ranger program
Ranger Dave, giving a program

Attend a Ranger Program

In the summer, many free ranger programs are offered on a regular schedule. For small groups, there is typically no need to pre-register. For large groups, please contact us in advance so we can accommodate you. These programs are posted weekly on our Facebook page.

Last updated: April 10, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1240
Tulelake , CA 96134


530 667-8113

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