Visited: July 2019
Duration: 1/2 day 4-6 hours
Accommodations: Shasta View Hotel (between Lava Beds and Whiskeytown NRA) Highly recommend
Eruptions occurring 30-40,000 years ago formed over 700 lava tube caves found in Lava Beds National Monument. Lava tubes are formed by hot flowing streams of lava that start to cool. The center of the stream stays hot and flows, the outside of the the lava stream begins to cool and harden. The hot lava drains out leaving pipe like caves (tubes).
Here at Lava Beds National Monument you can explore above ground and below ground. We chose to explore the caves, this requires a permit to do (easy stop at the Visitor Center). There are over 700 plus caves in this park. The visitor center supplies you with flashlights, free of charge. Wear protective clothing, caves are cold, helmet, and don’t go alone.
We explored the Cave Loop road stopping at Mushpot Cave, Blue Grotto, Upper Sentinel and Lower Sentinel. We saw some pretty cool cave formations along the way.
After our cave exploration we headed back to the Visitor Center and watched the film, finished our Jr Rangers, earned the badges and we were off to Mt. Shasta via Gillem Bluff. We headed to the northern part of the park to explore and drove through Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This was a great stop up in Northern California. Our next visit is to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Check back for that.