Explore the most popular views trails in Lava Beds National Monument with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great caves
Has easy access into them.

fun little trail!

Easy trail to some collapsed lava tubes and pictographs. We went on a summer day and even the collapsed lava tubes were still a lot cooler than on the surface.

hiking
7 months ago

Really good trail! Gives great views of lava features and views of the nearby national forest. You'll see lots of lizards and birds. The footing is mainly pea gravel and large pore pummus stone. I'm an avid barefooter but I had to toss on my sandals about 1/2 mile into the hike, the wide pores on the pummus stone have worn down sharp in many places, so be careful with hand and foot holds! On your way out definitely stop in the Heppe Ice Cave to cool off! It's on your way out of the access road from the trailhead.

nice short hike. the views are very nice from the top of the crater.

short but great view of mountains, cinder cones, lakes.

hiking
10 months ago

nice short loop, flowers were good

hiking
10 months ago

Great hike. When I worked at Lava Beds it was my after work hike many evenings

hiking
10 months ago

Very good long hike in Lava Beds. Gets you more out into the wilderness than the other hikes in the Monument

was avrainy, snow day but awesome time !!!
yiu need days to see everything !!!
will be back soon !!!! ♡♡♡♡

hiking
10 months ago

Lots of mosquitos. Some breeze but not enough to cool down or blow away bugs. Full sun the entire hike. The trail doesn't actually go to the top of the butte but skirts to the north and west, which was disappointing to me as I wanted to sit in a nice breeze and enjoy a view. But due to Lava Beds being famous for snakes, I didn't want to bushwhack up the thing and risk a snake encounter, so I just reversed direction and headed back quickly to not get eaten alive by the bugs. There were some very pretty wildflowers and several meadowlarks.

hiking
Monday, September 12, 2016

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.

hiking
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

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.

hiking
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Straightforward hike up the bluff. Nice vantage point of the northern part of the monument.

hiking
Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spectacular views. Can even see Mount Shasta in the distance.

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!

The lava beds are awesome, not much of a hike but you can do a lot of exploring! Make sure you go in fall, it gets VERY hot in the summer.

hiking
Monday, January 12, 2015

Decided to do this hike as a quick stretch / vista view before a winter storm rolled in. It's a quick trail, medium for the incline grade but nothing particularly strenuous given how short it is. Views from the top were definitely worth the drive over as is the red rock trail its self. Just be sure to bring a shell for up top as the wind really rips up there. Maintained dirt road access, small parking lot, no facilities.

walking
Saturday, February 08, 2014

Visited the petroglyphs on this butte. They're all behind a chain link fence to protect them from vandalism. Luckily I had my 300mm lens so I could get decent shots of the art. It's about a half mile walk round trip.

hiking
Saturday, February 08, 2014

My family and I visited Lava Beds National Monument in July 2012. Its an interesting landscape. One hike that we did was Schonchin Butte trail. I chose this hike because I thought the views would be impressive and they were. The hike to the top wasn't too bad. If I remember correctly there were a couple benches on the way up. What made this hike even more memorable was meeting a ranger at the lookout on the summit. He shared his work with us and explained his tools. Being July 4th, he even had my daughter help him raise the US Flag on his lookout. What an experience!

hiking
Wednesday, December 25, 2013

As remote as this National Monument is, I keep coming back to explore it more than any other park. There are many more caves to explore than the one's at the visitors center. You really need more than one day to see it all and should plan to camp overnight. The pertoglyphs are just as fascinating. You will enjoy the area much more in the early spring or late fall as the heat in the summer can be intimidating.

hiking
Friday, June 07, 2013

quick hike to the top of sheepy ridge. we do it daily and the view is outstanding if the air is clear

hiking
Friday, May 04, 2012

This is a great trail along a, mostly collapsed, lava tube in Lava Beds National Monument. It begins at an asphalt paved trailhead near Skull Cave. The trail itself is smooth and gravel surfaced with only a few small steps to hinder a wheel chair. The side trails that go down into Big Painted Cave and under Symbol Bridge are short, but steep and rocky. The trail parallels the lave tube with views into the collapsed sections. There are interpretive panels to read and lots of pictographs to photograph.

nature trips
Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Went here for the first time. The Day was perfect with sun out . This place certainly a good one to visit. Since it is in close proximity to the Tule Lake Refuge you can do the bird watching as well.

nature trips
Sunday, January 23, 2011

I have been here many times but this time we chose to go in winter and we found that they do not plow the road South of the Visitors Center and since we were coming up from Reno we had to get through! We did manage to do it with a sedan but I wouldn't recommend it. A SUV would be a better choice, other then crowds are concerned, well there wasn't anybody there but us and a couple of rangers. Even though it was cold and snowy outside it was still only cool in the caves and we had them to ourselves.

hiking
Thursday, January 13, 2011

I've been here multiple times, and still haven't seen it all.

"More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and campsites, and a high desert wilderness experience await you!" -Website

Here is a helpful hint: If you know in advance that you will be going to this park, you can reserve a slot to see one two caves that are only open to a limited few visitors each season.

scenic driving
Friday, October 15, 2010

This drive has multiple sites of historical and geological interest, as well as a wildlife refuge that is known to attract migrating birds. Native American petroglyphs can be found in the National Monument, and this was also the site of the Modoc War of 1872-3.

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