Nature & Science

bats with White Nose Syndrome
Please help us protect the bats at Lava Beds. If you plan to go caving at Lava Beds and have been in a cave or mine East of the Rocky Mountains in the United States or Canada or anywhere in Europe or China, please read this important information about the deadly disease White-nose Syndrome.
Mule Deer are a common sight in the monument.
A herd of mule deer. Photo: N Charlton


You might be surprised by the variety of wildlife that overcomes dry summers, cold winters, and scarce water to thrive here. Learn more about the wildlife, including birds, bats, mammals and much more here.

Manzanita blooms blush along the Big Nasty Trail
Manzanita blooms along the Big Nasty Trail. Photo: Alison Bender


Even the small changes in elevation, soil, and shade found on our high buttes, open plains, lava flows, and cave entrances provide unique conditions for plants to grow.
Learn more >>>
Species checklist >>>
Exploring a lava tube cave
Unique geology in a lava tube cave. Photo: David Hays

Natural Features & Ecosystems

Extensive lava tube caves and volcanic geologic features provide an exciting and unique recreation for visitors and a critical habitat for special plants and animals. Learn more on our caves page.
Snow falls on the weather station
Snow blankets the monument's weather station, where temperature, wind speeds, precipitation amounts, and air quality have been tracked for decades. Photo: David Hays

Climate & Environmental Factors

The lava beds are an amazing natural laboratory. Here one can study the starry night skies, the impact of climate change or wildland fires, invasions of exotic weeds, and even the effects of international industrial pollution.
Learn more >>>

Medicine Lake Volcano
Medicine Lake Volcano is a shield volcano built almost entirely of fluid lava flows. Shield volcanos are named for their large size and low profile, resembling a warrior's shield.  Also visible are many cinder cones.

Nico Ramirez

Geology of the Medicine Lake Volcano

Medicine Lake Volcano has been active for 500,000 years. The eruptions were gentle, rather than explosive like Mount St. Helens, and coated the volcano's sides with flow after flow of basaltic lava.

Geology Brochure >>>

Geologic Map of Volcano >>>

Hazards Assessment for Medicine Lake volcano >>>


Last updated: March 3, 2020

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1240
Tulelake, CA 96134


(530) 667-8113

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