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!
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.
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 northern end of the park, and most of the caves can be found near the visitor center at the southern end of the park.
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 hosts several special events, including the Timeline Living History event, Astronomy Day & Night Sky event, and Jr. Ranger Day.
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 flashlights can be purchased at the visitor center. You are strongly encouraged to bring your own headlamps or flashlights, however flashlights can be checked out for free at the visitor center and must be returned each afternoon.
If you have boots or other gear used in caves or mines outside of Lava Beds since 2006, or in caves or mines outside of the United States ever, 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
Blue Grotto Cave
Paradise Alleys Cave
Natural Bridge Cave
Thunderbolt Cave (up-flow from trail entrance)
These caves are closed for the protection of maternal bat colonies. Bats are important components of the ecosystem. They provided 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 in to caves where bats are present. Disturbance can cause drastic declines in bat populations. Townsend's Big-eared bats are listed by the State of California as a Species of Special Concern due to its extreme sensitivity to human disturbance. Lava Beds is home to the largest California population of Townsend's Big-eared Bats and relies on cave closures to protect this healthy population.
This closure typically will remain in effect throughout the duration of the summer.