January National Park Highlight: Lava Beds

Winter is still alive and well here in Coloradom but we can’t help but daydream of warmer weather and sleeping with our windows open in the Roofnest.

That’s why this month, we wanted to bring you a national park that has gone relatively unknown. We cheated a tiny bit this month by highlighting a national monument, but Lava Beds is a must-visit in Tulelake, CA.

Camping

The first thing we know you’re probably wondering is: Can I actually camp here?

There’s one campground called Indian wells and has 43 sites that are all on a first-come, first-served basis. Each site can hold up to 8 people, and is only $10 a night. If you have an annual pass you also get a 50% discount on every night you stay there. 

Each site comes with a fire ring, picnic table, and wood-burning grill which you can either collect dead/fallen wood from the Modoc National Forest or purchase some at the visitor center. When nature calls there are restrooms with water, sinks, and flushable toilets all year round.

Caving

Caving is one of the many amazing activities in this park. With over 700 caves and lava tubes, there isn’t enough time in the day for the amount of adventure here.

Always make sure to be careful exploring caves, making sure you have light to see, and knowing what you are doing. That being said, here are some of our favorite caves in Lava Beds. 

  • Hopkins Chocolate Cave
  • Golden Dome Cave
  • Sunshine Cave
  • Skull Cave

There are also many bat species all across the park in these caves, so if you see them don’t be scared. They don’t want to be bothered, and they don’t want to bother you. 

Hiking

If you get claustrophobic and staying above ground is your preference there is an endless amount of gorgeous hikes here that will take your breath away.

From trails under a half-mile such as Heppe Cave Trail to 10-mile loops such as Lyons trail, there is a hike for everyone here. There are 13 total trails to choose from but unfortunately, there are no mountain bikes or dogs allowed on any of these trails, so leave your pup up in the Roofnest.

We know another stop on our next road trip after we visit Death Valley. We hope you find this place as beautiful as we do. Make sure to practice the leave no trace rules and let’s keep our earth beautiful for everyone to enjoy. 

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