Lava River Cave

MODERATE 54 reviews
#7 of 123 trails in

Lava River Cave is a 0.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Flagstaff, AZ that features a cave and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

0.8 miles 16 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

cave

rocky

The Lava River Cave is a natural formation remaining from a lava tube. The entrance to the cave is a rapid rock covered decent that "levels off". The cave floor is the cooled waves of lava that once flowed; its very hard and uneven. There are some tight spots when crouching is required; large backpacks should be left at the surface. At the end of the main cave is a small cave just big enough to sit in; not for big guys or the claustrophobic.

hiking
20 days ago

I loved this cave, not much is needed, just a sweatshirt and a headlamp. The terrain was rocky, but not bad. The only thing that was a bummer, lots of people were going in and out. Great starter cave

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

This was an interesting underground experience. Not as cool as the Maui Hawaiian lava tubes but also don't cost anything. Bring warmer clothes and flashlights but worth it!

hiking
1 month ago

Awesome hike. Make sure to bring a good flashlight or preferably a headlamp and plenty of battery. Went on a Thursday and only passed 4 other groups along the way. Requires a bit of scrambling to get in and out of the cave but fairly easy once you're in.

1 month ago

I wish I could've gone during the week. It wasn't super busy but I would've been able to enjoy it more I think with a little less traffic. Bring a sweatshirt and a head-lamp.

hiking
2 months ago

This has always been one of my favorite hikes in Northern Arizona! You'll definitely want to set aside a couple hours if planning to trek all the way to the end. Wearing light layers of clothing would be a good idea, as it can get down below 40 degrees. Flashlights are a must, but headlamps are preferable, especially while trying to make your way down to rocky decent down into the cave. Watch your step, and have a blast!

hiking
2 months ago

Fantastic day activity, impressive lava tube. Can handle the hike in boots or athletic shoes. Takes about 1.5 hours to the end and back. Animal friendly, busy on weekends as expected. Like others have mentioned, take a minute to turn off your lamps and enjoy the primordial dark, definitely worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

Cool experience. Not many formations and pretty crowded especially around the opening--we went on a Saturday, so that's not surprising. Still very unique, and it doesn't take much time to do. If you want to do something else close by, the Kendrick's Peak hike is only a 15 minute drive away, and we easily did both in one day. Headlamp is a must. Footing is very slippery and uneven, so boots/closed-toed shoes are also ideal. My crew did it in tevas, but everyone's feet got cut up. Also, according to the sign at the entrance, the temps are between 32 and 40 degrees in the cave and it is 0.75 miles each way if you go to the end of the cave. Sounds short, but allow extra time due to the footing and the crowds.

3 months ago

Wasn't expecting to love this one as much as I did. Make sure you take a good flashlight! And someone to go with I wouldn't recommend it alone. You are in a pitch black cave the only light you have is the flashlight that you and those around you have! Views of the cave are beautiful. Take a jacket, take some hiking boots or something with good grips on your soles.

4 months ago

4 months ago

the cave is fantastic. well worth the drive out there!

hiking
4 months ago

Fun hike through the cave. It can be a little difficult to climb down or climb up the entrance due to high traffic and people having problems carrying their little children. It does get cold in the cave

hiking
5 months ago

Simple hike to cave, then fun little cave walk in a linear lava tube. Very rocky but not hard. Directions on alltrails will get you there. But, signage is not real visible. Keep your eyes open and you will get there. Their is no admission fee. Open Dawn to Dusk.

5 months ago

Amazing underground tunnel! Be sure to bring your headlamp!

5 months ago

Yup it's a cave. Sucks for tall people but otherwise pretty cool. Bring a flashlight.

6 months ago

Great for geology enthusiasts--rating it high for the geological significance. Wear your headlamps and shut them off at the end for a moment of Zen.

hiking
6 months ago

Really easy to get to, and inside the caves was incredible! Definitely not what I was expecting but I really enjoyed this! Something all Flagstaffians should do:) bring a high lumen headlamp and a light jacket, it's cold down there even in summer.

8 months ago

If u have the option come in off the 180 vs I-40.
Short n easy as caves go. Entrance is a bit slick if your hands aren't free.