Welcome to Lava Beds Lava Beds National Monument is a land of turmoil, both geological and historical. Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and a high desert wilderness experience await you!
I love to go here year round. the ice that forms in the caves in January thru February is well worth seeing.
great desert hiking as well as caving. take a flashlight or rent one from the visitor center at no cost. Lots to do here.
Spectacular if for no other reason than the history of the place. Be prepared if you are a flag waving white man because this is just one of many places across the continent that we committed murder and genocide. The history of this place is intense as you walk around. Be sure to pick up a trail guide for $1 at the trailhead parking lot.
Two options to visit this historical sites: an INNER loop (a bit under a mile) that goes through the inner defense positions of the Modoc indians warriors (as well as the "living quarters" for their family). This is a dense and intricate network of natural lava trenches, caves and rugged outcroppings. As others have noted, this is no "walk in the woods". There is a reason the Modocs were able to hold off the US Army for so long: this is not easy terrain to wander through. The inner trail (taken clockwise) rejoins the OUTER trail at the place when a makeshift memorial to the Modoc resistance has been erected.
the OUTER look follows the perimeter defenses of the Modocs, with more trenches and caves but, overall, with more of an open feel and may wide views of the plateau around the stronghold. I visited the site late on a slightly stormy June afternoon, all by myself, and the atmosphere of the area was at the same time utterly peaceful and yet loaded with the tragic history behind the Stronghold.
Good shoes/boots and good footing a must!
Note: If history brings you here, you probably know that, couple miles away you can also stop briefly at the site of General Canby's assassination.
A short hike -- under 1,5 miles round trip -- but with good rewards when you make it to the top: sweeping 360 degree views and, if you have time to visit with the ranger(s) at the lookout, a good opportunity to learn more about the area and the duties of those who man the lookout.
Considering the short distance of te hike, the close proximity to the Lava Beds Visitors Center, and the views from the top, this is a good option for anyone a bit pressed by time. The grade is, as expected when climbing a cinder cone, a bit sustained and will give a nice workout to older or slightly out of shape hikers. There are however 2 benches on the way up if you want to catch your breath while enjoying the views of the plateau and the lava flows.
The access is via a short and well maintained dirt road; any vehicle will make it to the small parking lot without problem. As others have mentioned, no facilities.
I went up in mid June and many wildflowers still provide a colorful counterpoint to the stark red rocks of the top, as the trail winds its way around the small summit crater. Many photo opportunities, of course.. or just a good invitation to sit down for a while and take in the beauty of this very special place.
Hot shit! Super nette Rangerin! Hat mir genau gesagt wo es sich lohnt hinzugehen, auch noch Details zur Entstehung der Höhlen gegeben.
Man bekommt Taschenlampen geliehen (kommendes Jahr gibts neue, die aktuellen sind schon ziemlich ausgelutscht.)
Für die komplizierteren Höhlen lohnt sich der Guide mit den Karten für ca 8$.
Ein Tag reicht um das wichtigste zu sehen, man kann aber sicher noch zwei extra Tage draufpacken wenn man alles gesehen und gelaufen sein will.
Also von mir eine Empfehlung!
Pretty cool trail! You can almost feel the history embedded in the niches in the rock formations as you walk through. Unbelievable views, as we had a beautiful, cool day to complete this loop. Might be a bit hard in the heat of the middle of summer, we just happened to luck out with some cool summer days while visiting the area.