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“Very cool! An amazing site. Bring a headlamp/flashligh” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave
Coconino National Forest, Flagstaff, AZ
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Ranked #7 of 34 Attractions in Flagstaff
Type: Caverns/ Caves, Nature/ Wildlife Areas, Outdoors
Attraction details
OKC
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Very cool! An amazing site. Bring a headlamp/flashligh”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2014 via mobile

My pre-teen daughter and I hunted down the lava river cave after dropping my wife and son off to ski at the Snowbowl. Several miles up 180 and a couple of log roads later we arrived at the site and were happy to see that quite a few others had made the trek too. No ranger station, not much fanfare, no concessions, just a big hole in the ground surrounded by rocks and minimal signage.

Peering in, we could hear "wow", "cool" and "awesome" from the headlamp/flashlight clad visitors. Game on!

Getting into the cave is a bit of a challenge as it's quite steep, but at least there is some light at that point---and only that point. Once down the initial decent, the light disappears completely other than the occasional beams from the other visitors. It really was like walking on a waterless riverbed....sometimes in a tunnel that would fit a train, sometimes having to do a short crab crawl. It really was awesome.

Though it was cold in the cave (maybe 35-40?) I was sweating my rear off as we hiked the 3/4 mile to the end. It's not a loop, but an out and back. I wore tennis shoes, but wished I'd worn my hiking shoes as the riverbed is fairly rough. The tunnel is mostly very wide, no crowding or single-file other than a bit on the initial decent/ascent.

I saw people of all ages there, from 5-65. Our hike all the way through must have been about an hour and half, but you can really get a great feel for the wonder of it without going all the way to the end.

Well worth the out of the way drive. Bring some water for after your hike. Flashlight a must, headlamp better. My daughter's iPhone flashlight worked great and didn't kill her battery.

Visited March 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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California Hot Springs, California
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
4 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Worth the stop”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 20, 2014

Interesting trek into the dark underground. Eerie but exciting. Very safe and a good fun hike. Dirt road to get there. Signs are posted.

Visited November 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phoenix, Arizona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great cave hike!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 11, 2014

A pitch dark hike through a toothpaste tube shaped lava cave. This would not be an appropriate hike for dogs, children under 4, or anyone who is not steady on their feet. One flashlight per person was enough and light jackets suited us just fine. It will take between one and 2 hours to do the whole cave. If you are wearing a backpack, take water. Otherwise just wait until you get back to the car to drink, because you will need one hand free to balance yourself on the big rocks. There would be no reason at all to take a snack. If you cannot go 2 hours without eating, well..............

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Castle, Colorado
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Fun”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013

We went there as a family, you will need to wear layers, it's cold under ground. We had flashlights but it would have been nicer to have head lamps(easy and cheap to find at the local Walmart)right at the entrance there is a lot of climbing but as you get further in there is not much climbing. Watch your head! It is pitch black down there. The next day my legs were sore lots of squatting in order to get through. We loved it, adventure!

Visited May 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Prescott, Arizona
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Perfect Hike. Just remember flashlights and jackets.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 25, 2013

This hike is moderate in difficulty but fun for all ages and group types. The drive to the Lava Tube is beautiful in itself, but exploring the Lava tube and the unique rock formations is truly the best part. I highly flashlights/headlamps and jackets for every person in your group. It can be very dark and cool In some parts of the cave. The hike will take about 2 hours for the average family.

Visited April 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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