Lava Cliffs

view of rocky cliff face from the road
Lava Cliffs

NPS Photo / Kim Grossman

Quick Facts

Scenic View/Photo Spot

Lava Cliffs features a rare section of volcanic rock in Rocky Mountain National Park.

This area is the result of a lava flow that traveled from the Never Summer Range around 28 million years ago. Many years later, glaciers moving through the area cut open the hillside and revealed the lava cliffs seen today.

Look closely for sightings of wildlife perched along the cliffs. Prairie Falcons and American Pipits can be seen in the area. In mid-summer, look to the valley beneath the cliffs for elk enjoying the cold, alpine air.

Note: Trail Ridge Road closes from here west to Colorado River Trailhead mid-October to Memorial Day. Extreme weather can change the status of Trail Ridge Road at any timeā€”be ready to adjust your travel plans if needed, and always check the weather before you start your drive.

Altitude Warning: Altitude sickness affects many visitors every year. Symptoms include headache, nausea, fatigue, dizziness, vomiting, and even unconsciousness. Altitude can also aggravate pre-existing conditions like heart and lung disease. Take your time, drink water, eat, and rest. The only cure for altitude sickness is to go down to a lower altitude.

Help keep wildlife wild. Never approach or feed wildlife. Animals that learn people are a source of food can become aggressive or stop hunting or foraging on their own. Keep your distance - it's the law! You could be hurt or issued a fine.

Rocky Mountain National Park

Last updated: November 13, 2020