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.

Things to know before you arrive

Check out our trip planning page for transportation options and directions to the monument, find out about operating hours & seasons, fees and passes and learn about permits and reservations.

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 Basic Information, Safety, Camping and Lodging pages.

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.

 
A group of visitor's hikes uphill through Captain Jack's 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 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.

Current Trail Closures:

  • Captain Jacks Stronghold (both loops and parking lot)
  • Lyons Trail
  • Three Sisters Trail
  • Thomas-Wright Battlefield (first section of trail to Black Crater is open)
  • East Wildlife Overlook
  • Missing Link Trail
  • Bunchgrass Trail
  • Trail to Symbol Bridge and Big Painted Cave

 
A visitor scans the lava tube collapse along the Heppe Cave Trail (cave entrance seen in the distance).
Visitor hiking along the Heppe Cave Trail

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 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, clothing or gear that has been in a place where bats roost (caves, mines, buildings, bridges, etc.) outside of Lava Beds National Monument, 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

  • Big Painted Cave (Due to being in the burn area)
  • Symbol Bridge (Due to being in the burn area)
  • Balcony Cave
  • Blue Grotto Cave
  • Natural Bridge
  • Ovis - Paradise Alleys Caves


Unless noted above, the reason for these cave closures are to protect maternal bat colonies where mothers raise tiny, vulnerable bat pups on the ceilings. The closures are in accordance with the park's white-nose syndrome (WNS) Response Plan, which calls for targeted cave closures aimed at protecting significant bat maternal sites. These closures target caves where populations of Townsend's big-eared bats (Corynorhinus townsendii) and other bat species congregate during the summer maternal season. The intention of these closures is to provide bat populations and to prevent the possible introduction of Pseudogymnoascus destructans (the fungus associated with WNS) fungal spores during the time period when bats are most susceptible to WNS.

Last updated: April 18, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1240
Tulelake, CA 96134

Phone:

(530) 667-8113

Contact Us