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.

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

  • Blue Grotto
  • Ovis Cave / Paradise Alleys
  • Natural Bridge
  • Thunderbolt Cave (gated area)
  • Balcony Cave

The reason for this closure is for the protection of maternity colonies of Townsend's Big-eared bats. Bats are important components of the ecosystem. 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. Observations by National Park Service staff have documented the presence of maternity colonies of Townsend's Big-eared bats in the above-listed caves. This bat is listed by the State of California as a Species of Special Concern due to its extreme sensitivity to human disturbance. Through consultations with bat specialists, we have determined this temporary closure to be appropriate for bat protection.

Last updated: May 13, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 1240
Tulelake, CA 96134


(530) 667-8113

Contact Us