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Subway Cave Trail is a 0.7 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Hat Creek, California that features a cave and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from May until October.

Length 0.7 mi Elevation gain 19 ft Route type Loop

Kid friendly

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Cave

Views

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (5)
Tips

Descend into the dark volcanic underworld of the Subway Cave lava tube for a short yet highly memorable hike. Twenty thousand years ago and just 15 miles north of Lassen Volcanic National Park, the ground broke apart and huge volumes of volcanic rock poured forth to create the enormous expanse that is the Hat Creek Lava Flow. Exposed to the air, the top of the lava flow began to cool and solidify, while molten rock below continued to flow - insulated by the now solid roof and creating lava tubes which carried the red-hot rock miles from its source. Subway Cave is a section of lava tube less than a third of a mile long, located between two areas of ceiling cave-ins. Substantial concrete steps have been constructed at both ends of the cave, providing easy access for all would-be spelunkers.

- Flashlights are a necessity in the cave. Forgetful folk may be able to rent them from the information center at Old Station, just south of the Subway Cave park. - Take a jacket with you if you feel the cool conditions in the cave may be uncomfortable. - Open from May to October due to winter weather restrictions. - A very short return hike is also available which double-backs across the top of the tube to the entrance near the parking lot.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (96)
Photos (47)
Recordings (52)
Completed (244)
Anthony B
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 21 2020
Hiking

This is for sure worth checking out. It’s a quick stop area and doesn’t take long to explore. Really awesome cave

View Anthony's Recording
Roger Jenkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jun 14 2020
Hiking

I was there the week that Lassen Volcanic National Park reopened. It is a great stop for a different and unique experience. For my full trip report with pictures, video, information and story about entering the Under World through Devil’s Doorway and taking a right at Lucifer’s Cul-de-sac into a pitch black darkness, alone in a hole in the ground. https://nocalhikingpursuingbalancethruadventure.wordpress.com/2020/06/14/subway-cave/

Veronica Copple
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jun 01 2020
HikingClosedRocky

We forgot to bring a flashlight, so we had to use our phones once we were in the cave. It’s an uneven path inside because of the lava flow, so we tripped a few times trying to hold the light and make sure our kid didn’t fall. I loved the trails above the cave and around the cave as they were much more even footing. The parking lot is still closed as of 5/31, but we just parked outside the gate and walked in.

Ryan Jukes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Apr 27 2020
WalkingBugsClosed
View Ryan's Recording
Linda Bare
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 15 2019
Hiking

Bring a flashlight. Wear good shoes. Kids would love this place. A cool place on a warm day. Was pretty busy when we went. Stop at J&J for eats.

Jim Spinetta
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Sep 03 2019
Hiking

Cool cave

Gar Yeung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMon Sep 02 2019
HikingRocky
View Gar's Recording
Mike Hendry
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 29 2019
HikingRocky

Hike was ok not really worth my time to go again. It was a very short walk and I thought the caves were going to be longer but nope.

Albert Moseley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 18 2019
Hiking

Such a great hike! In the summer, it’s a great way to escape the heat!

Kelly Mieske
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 15 2019
Hiking

Another very fun for kids trail. As others have mentioned flashlight and sweater are recommended. The interpretive signs in the cave were informative. The ground is uneven and sometimes the ceiling is a bit low, not a problem for me at 5’0” but others may want to be warned.

Theo Leachman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Jul 07 2019
Hiking

Really cool geologic feature, bring a light (or a phone light only for more fun.) Gets very dark but only one way with no side tunnels so you can't get lost even if your phone dies just might take you a while to feel your way there.

Brianna Macedo
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 27 2019
Hiking

Bring a jacket it’s chilly inside. Watch your step as the lava flows make for a rugged terrain. Super easy for all ages. Bring a flashlight or lantern. No dogs are permitted.

Ryan Mease
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 11 2019
Hiking

Fun, simple cave hike. Uneven ground would make it difficult for dogs or children. Not too muddy but your shoes will be a little dirty afterwards. I took this hike alone and it was a brief, terrifying three minute stroll through the cave. It’s dark, but you can probably get away with just your phone flashlight. Entire hike was about fifteen minutes. It’s a fun roadside stop on the road between Manzanita Lake and Burney Falls.

Vic Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarThu Jun 06 2019
Hiking

Yes it really is pitch black in the cave. Bring a flashlight and sweater. Definitely a different experience.

Sunny Michael
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu May 09 2019
Hiking

Super fun with kids :)

Jess Mooney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 09 2018
Hiking

Quick little hike into a fantastic lava tube! Plenty of area in the pitch black. I did this alone and was lucky to be the only one in the cave. Super easy to get around (no debris or rocks to hike through or over), but the floor is a bit uneven, so keep some light lowered as you go and dont get too confident in the dark. Make sure you explore all the alcoves and keep heading back to the actual exit. Great fun, free, and so so easy!!

kristina diaz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSun Sep 09 2018
Hiking

Great short hike! While not located in the NP, it’s worth the drive to see this unique hike! It’s a lava tube and pitch black dark once you get inside. If you have a head torch you will be fine just watch your steps as the ground is very uneven. Once out the other side you can walk around more trail above ground before going back down and through to the parking area. Hiked on Thursday 9/6/18.

Clint Cerro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Aug 10 2018
Hiking

I would love to find those responsible for spray painting the walls. they should serve jail time. the hike is easy and short.

Guy Ronni Whitmer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 08 2018

We often bring friends and family, especially kids. At 6'2" I will bump my head on the ceiling in places, and. looking up you'll trip on nobby places on floor. The entire walk is slower than the milage indicates and outside part hot and dry in summer, carry water if you bring kids.

Marceline Slack
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 01 2018
Hiking

Interesting cave. Rough ground to walk on. Be sure to have a good light source. We can check it off our bucket list.

Angela French
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jun 21 2018
Hiking

Excellent. Previous reviews say it well. Note: your smart phone flashlight will NOT suffice (unless you like running the risk of stubbing your toes or tripping). Note regarding dogs: a previous reviewer cautioned dog owners regarding tender paws and lava rock. Here's my point of view: if your dog primarily hangs out in the house or on a backyard lawn then you may want to be careful about taking your dog through. The lava rock underfoot is dirt and mud covered, but it does poke out in multiple places and could hurt a tender paw. If your dog regularly walks or hikes with you on varied terrain including cement, gravel, rocks, etc. and you take reasonable precautions about which path your furry friend takes in the cave, you should be fine. My husky walks and hikes frequently; his paw pads had no problem with the cave floor.

Kimberly Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarTue Jun 19 2018
Walking

What an awesome experience. Bring your flashlights or you won’t make it through!! A short walk up well established steps leads you right to the opening of the cave. Within minutes you are inside the lava tubes. We went early in the morning after a rainstorm and could see water crystals on the roof of the lava tubes. Easy enough for kids but hold their hands because of the rough rocky ground. Definitely a must stop if in the area

Pam Devault
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed May 09 2018

Short trail very dark inside bring flashlight and good shoes i would not bring a dog sharp lava beds on floor in many aread2

Sarah D
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Apr 16 2018
Hiking

The children and I love this dark hike through the lava tube! Everyone did well with their own headlamps, as the floor is quite uneven.

Greg Dickerson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jan 19 2018
Hiking

Very easy hike. Amazing how dark it is inside. I love introducing people to the cave.

Sean Railing
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Aug 19 2017
Hiking

Fun short hike through a dark cave. VERY IMPORTANT: BRING A FLASHLIGHT OR HEADLAMP WITH BATTERIES FULLY CHARGED. It is completely dark in the the cave. There are markers and plaques with info through out the cave. The temperature can be 15F to 20F lower than the outside temperature in the parking lot so you might want a jacket. Highly recommend this hike if your interested in volcanic geology or caves. We loved it.

Jason Hallett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Aug 09 2017

A totally rad place.

Monica Olvera-Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Aug 02 2017
Hiking

It’s a very unique experience. Our family has came here years ago several times and now I brought my boys. They didn’t understand why we needed flashlights. It’s a cave tunnel :-) They enjoyed the experience and reading the info along the way. It can get cool but it feels good on those hot days. Carefully we made our way to the end because of the rocky bumpy pathway. It’s an experience they won’t ever forget. I recommend it for sure.

View Monica 's Recording
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