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“Lava River Cave” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave
Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff, AZ
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Ranked #11 of 80 things to do in Flagstaff
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Attraction details
Houston, Texas
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
34 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Lava River Cave”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 19, 2013

I've reviewed this before and thought I should add a couple of things. Yes, this is super easy - BUT for adults and kids probably 6 and up only. It is pitch black dark without headlamps or a flashlight and I recommend both. The floor is not level anywhere and the entrance is both slippery and the rocks can move. So although easy, I wouldn't recommend it for smaller children or anyone who doesn't feel comfortable without a lot of light. You cannot see your hand without a light source.

It is also cold - around 40 degrees (we were there late June and this past September) so you really should have a jacket on and if you can, wear gloves. Gloves are great for two reasons - 1) they'll keep your hands warm 2) there are a couple of sections where you'll appreciate them because you're down on all fours basically.

Also, when I had read the reviews before we went out the first time folks talked about taking the left side versus the right side. There is only one tunnel that dead ends (yay, you can't get lost!) with basically an O in the middle of it. In other words, whether you take the right or the left you're going down the same tunnel.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
Payson, Arizona
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“Great cool wind”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

The parking and trail to the cave was well marked and easily accessible. There was a great cool wind coming from the cave. However, access requires bolder crawling and because we are older (still in good physical shape) we opted to not go too far for fear of twisting an ankle or falling.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aurora, Illinois
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Great Free Attraction. Get directions form a local!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 8, 2013

This is a outstanding free attraction if you can find it. Make sure you know where you are going. DO NOT RELY ON GPS. Ask a local. The roads are rough and dusty. If you have a car plan on driving 5 mph max to save your suspension. The cave is a basically a rocky hole in the ground which you climb down into. Immediately the temp dropped form 90F+ to ~40F. Dont be "that guy" who takes your kids in there with sandals... be smart. The floor is easily negotiated, but there are plenty of places to trip or get your foot caught. Bring lights and extra batteries. Get there early too... unless you want to be surrounded by "that guy"... There is NOTHING else around so prepare.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chandler, Arizona
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
46 helpful votes 46 helpful votes
“Not your average hike in the woods”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 6, 2013

Hiking in the lava river cave is a great way to spend part of a day in northern Arizona. The drive from Flagstaff is scenic on both the paved and unpaved roads. After a short hike from the parking lot to the cave, you descend about 40' or so into the main part of the cave. Be prepared for cool temperatures as the temperature in the cave is around 42. You will want a jacket, sturdy shoes, and a headlamp or flashlight as it is pitch black and there are no lights. Plan on about an hour to hike to the end of the one mile tunnel and back. If you are taking kids, they should be very sure of foot and not afraid of the dark. Go in the summer and enjoy nature's air conditioned treat.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Washington
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
37 attraction reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Great family fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

This was a great experience. We were visiting flagstaff and it happened to be really quite hot (95 or so) that day so we went underground. We hiked with 10 people (6 adults and 4 kids - ages 4-9) and had a great time. Don't forget to wear some good hiking shoes and pack extra lights. We had one light for each person and ended up with two people holding hands on the way back because the lights went out by the time we made it to the end and back. Headlamps are highly suggested because you will want to use your hands at times when the ceiling gets low. Did I mention, this is FREE...

It was about 45-60mins going in because we were stopping to take pictures and check everything out and about 40-45 mins on the way back out.

When the tunnel splits, the path to the left (heading into the tunnel) stays taller then the one on the right.

Take a second and shut off all of the lights and enjoy the pitch black silence down here.

I don't suggest bringing children in backpacks. I almost did this and saw a guy doing it. There are too many spots where a little one can get smacked by the ceiling.

Also, I don't suggest bringing a dog down here. Again, we saw a couple people doing this and the dogs were being carried. In the dark, it would be very easy for your dog to injure themselves with the uneven floors. Dogs can see well in the open darkness but not in pitch black.

Here is the info you need to find the place
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coconino/recreation/otheractivities/recarea/?recid=55122&actid=102

It is a dirt road so plan on it taking a little longer then you might expect.

Visited June 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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