Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake

#100 of 628 in Nature in California
Lava Beds National Monument is a place where you can smell the sage and juniper, listen to birds, and hike miles of lava flows or developed trails. Volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created an incredibly rugged landscape punctuated by cinder cones, lava flows, spatter cones, lava tube caves and pit craters. Explore caves created by the sudden cooling of lava flows, or visit the site of the only Indian war in California at the historic Captain Jack’s Stronghold. The Stronghold, a natural lava fortress, is where a small band of 53 warriors and their families led by Captain Jack held off a force 20 times its size for five months. Just south of the Lava Beds is Medicine Lake ’s volcano, one of the largest shield volcanoes in the world. In actual mass, this volcano is larger than Mt. Shasta . Millions of eruptions over half a million years were gentle rather than explosive, covering more than 750 square miles of landscape with lava. A visit Glass Mountain offers fields of obsidian shining in the sun like black diamonds. At the crest of the mountain, Medicine Lake is a great place for camping, swimming and fishing.

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Lava Beds National Monument Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
316 reviews
  • The natural formations along the trail tour are amazing. The site used by the Modoc Indians to hide and defend their position during the Modoc War is extraordinary. The self guided tour is well done w...  more »
  • This was our 3rd visit and each time we come for several days. Lots of caves and hiking trails. It seems to be best to come in the spring instead of summer. More caves are open and it is not too hot for hiking. The only reason I give it 4 stars is that it can be hard to get maps and guides to the hiking trails. Maps to the caves are given standard but even after asking for hiking guides we didn't get what we needed.
  • This was a lot of fun! We weren't as well prepared for caving but they had free flashlights we could use and other equipment you could buy if you wanted to get more serious. We have 4 kids(9, 7, 5 & 2) and they loved it. The only challenge was the 2 year old wanting to walk on her own and throwing a fit about that. The park rangers were very knowledgeable, a huge help and just all around great. We had a wonderful experience and I'd recommend it!

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