Lava River Cave

MODERATE 115 reviews
#13 of 165 trails in

Lava River Cave is a 0.8 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Flagstaff, Arizona 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.

DISTANCE
0.8 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
9 feet
ROUTE TYPE
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.

2 days ago

You park in the middle of a forest, walk a bit and BAM! You’re standing over a half-million year old Lava tube- it’s pretty crazy to think about! Anyway, the hike itself can be slippery and since it’s dark & cold down there, make sure you bring a headlamp and some layers. Well worth it, a must-do hike in Flagstaff.

hiking
19 days ago

I really should click the mountaineering option lol. The walk in is lots of huge rocks. So foot placement Is important!
BRING A HEADLAMP. You'd rather have your hands to balance yourself.
It was extremely beautiful and I'm so flavored went! It's .75miles one way under the tunnel according to the legend. I timed my way back out and with a few picture stops, it took 48min out...
there are some sections you have to duck to avoid hitting your head.

NOT dog friendly. Some lady tried bringing her dog in and when I heard it crying and whimpering because he didn't want to go in because it's so dark and lots of rock climbing down into the cave, I asked "did you see if this is dog friendly?" She responded "were from Colorado he's done worse" she didn't even go in and then later as I'm in the cave I see her behind me... no dog. Don't make your baby suffer

1 month ago

This is a good and fun excursion for older children and family, but respect for the wonder of its origin has waned considerably. Noisy and heavily trafficked.

hiking
1 month ago

Please be prepared for this hike. While it is amazing, it is not “easy.” You should have hard hats ($10 at Lowe’s) and headlamps ($8 at Lowe’s). The beginning is a steep descent into darkness and loose rocks. In January the rocks were not wet. Apparently during the summer that is an issue. Have at least 3 light sources in case one fails. There was blood from people hitting their heads without protection. The rocks are jagged so wear hard soled hiking shoes. It was 45 degrees inside. Dress warm. We encountered people with only cellphone lights... bad idea. If the phone dies, you are in total darkness.

1 month ago

My daughters, 4 and 6, loved this one...rocks are tough as you enter, kinda steep but not too bad.

2 months ago

Fun hike! Definitely different from the traditional hiking experience. Bring a headlamp and dress for cool/cold temperatures.

2 months ago

Lots of fun with a group of friends.

2 months ago

Beautiful! Worth the hike!!

3 months ago

Fun!

3 months ago

Cold, other worldly place
Awesome!

hiking
4 months ago

i loved this cave really amazing took my daughter 9 and my sissy 15 they had a blast I didn't want to leave flaggstaff in general.

hiking
6 months ago

This is a neat place but once you've done it you don't have to do it again. wear good shoes and bring a good headlamp

hiking
6 months ago

awesome experience. dogs definitely cannot go in the cave. we did try with our two dogs but its way to rocky. boyfriend and i took turns doing the cave trail while the other watched the dogs. CHECK THE MAP. i got lost and disoriented in the cave and so did several other people.

hiking
7 months ago

Great hike, definitely recommend headlamp so you can use both hands and good grip shoes. A must do in Flagstaff, great adventure.

hiking
7 months ago

Very awesome hike in the cave. Took the whole family and we all had a blast. Will definitely go again

hiking
7 months ago

It was a fun experience and cool

hiking
7 months ago

An interesting experience and fun for the kids. It will be cold in the cave, and remember your headlamp. Also, watch your head in some spots.

8 months ago

This was a really fun hike. There isn't much of a walk to get to the Cave entrance. Bring a headlamp. We hiked with our 4 and 6 year old and they did a great job. Great fun for kids. Wear good shoes, pants and bring a sweatshirt.

hiking
8 months ago

It was chilly at the beginning, but as I got moving it wasn't bad. some of the rocks are slick, so tread carefully! I brought a headlamp and was able to use my hands to climb over some of the boulders. there were a few spots where the ceiling was low, but not too bad. one thing to note...it's a dirt road to get out there. my little Eos made it, but a higher clearance vehicle would have been nice.

hiking
8 months ago

The cave is wide, and the ceiling is very high. In some places the ceiling rises to about 30 feet.

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