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“Caves! Lava! Bats! Petroglyphs!”

Lava Beds National Monument
Ranked #1 of 7 things to do in Tulelake
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reno, Nevada, United States
Level Contributor
47 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
“Caves! Lava! Bats! Petroglyphs!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 24, 2013

This place is fascinating. We only gave ourselves a couple of hours here and we left planning a weekend-long camping trip. There is so much to see and do here!
We only had time to do one cave. We did the chocolate cave. It was so beautiful, cool, crazy, and lots of fun. We wished we could do a few more. Chocolate cave has big caverns in it, covered in glittery gold bacteria. Where there isn't bacteria, the walls look like melting chocolate turned to stone. It is easy to imagine the lava flowing through and leaving the tube behind. It inspired our imaginations.
The visitor center is small but super helpful and informative. The rangers are great at recommending where you should start, what you should do and how you can do it safely. Also, because of disease ravaging bats on the East Coast, the park wants you to stop there first to make sure visitors are not endangering bats. They gave us a permit to put in our windshield so rangers would know we were cleared for using the caves. There are books available for public reading and a museum with information about the natural history, the geology, and the various people who have lived and fought in Lava Beds. We bought hard hats there for $6.50. We were definitely glad we had them when we were stooping and crawling as we explored the beautiful cave. Then, when we were leaving after our quick trip, we were glad the kids had such cool souvenirs to remember the place by.
The kids loved it, the adults loved it. We will definitely go do some more of the caves again.

Visited September 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Sarah R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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249 reviews from our community

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English first
Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
114 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
“Worth a visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 15, 2013

Loved this place. There's so much to see and do. It wasn't explained very well in our guide books (we simply thought it was some kind of monument) so we didn't really know what to expect. Hence when we arrived we weren't well equipped for exploring all of the caves. As a result we could only do the caves with an easy or intermediate difficulty rating. The visitor centre do loan torches but you have to buy everything else. Make sure you take a helmet and protective knee pads if you plan to do the most difficult caves. Overall, we had a fantastic time exploring the caves and would definitely recommend this place for a half day or full day visit.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank CJSc0tt
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
LOUISVILLE
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Underground Fun”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2013

I traveled here with two older teenagers, and we all loved the park.. You can go at your own pace, spending as little or as much time as you want looking around the lava tubes. Loved the fact that they let you go in without a guide, just you and your flashlights. A small book describing the various tubes is available at the visitor center. It was a good resource in helping us decide which areas to explore, as there are so many to choose from. Some of the tubes continue near the ground surface, while other go deeper underground. Remember to bring water and pack a lunch, as there are not a lot of services available at the park. This is definitely a must stop if you are visiting the Crater Lake area.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank KentuckyLucky1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, tx
Level Contributor
53 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Lava Beds NM is a hidden gem”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 30, 2013

visited here 9/14/12.

entered via Tule Lake...as the road turns south, you will encounter a spectacular lava flow...devil's homestead flow....on both sides of the road...very impressive.

At the visitor center, ask the rangers about exploring a cave...they will loan you a flashlight...went for Sentinel Cave....highly recommend this.

was pleasantly surprised by Lava Beds NM....just driving down after seeing Crater Lake, not expecting much....found a very underrated gem of our National Park System.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank jwr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
83 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“WOW one of the best days of our visit”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 6, 2013

I am not the outdoorsy type, and no way am I going in a cave, yet I LOVED the day we spent here. The vastness of the park and all there is to do is amazing. It was $10 a car to get it which is an amazing price especially because it would be very easy to spend an entire day here.

To me this is a MUST do for anyone, with or without kids.

Visited August 2013
Helpful?
Thank Anna T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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