Last weekend we spent a day at the Lava Beds National Monument in Modoc county California.
I've been visiting this area since the mid 60's but I always find something new and interesting. There are hundreds of caves to explore and just as many volcanic features around the monument.
Just across the road from the main visitor canter is the "Mush pot" cave. This cave is small and recently lights have been installed for visitors can get a good look at the formations inside the cave. There is a "cave loop" drive that takes visitors to many caves in just a small area. Exploring these caves has to be one of my favorite childhood memories, and the caves are accessible to most ages.
Among the better caves are the Valentine cave, Fern cave, the Catacombs cave, and the Merrill ans Skull ice caves. Flashlights or lanterns are needed to explore any of the cave other than Mush pot.
Camping is available inside the park but it's recommended for spring though fall only, as the winter months are very cold. Hours of operation are (fall, winter spring) 8:00 am to 5:30 pm.
Summer hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Bring plenty of water or juice as you may get thirsty going through so many wonderful lava caves.
Areas of interest include Captain Jacks stronghold, where a handful of Modoc Indians held off the US Army for many months. There are also Indian paintings or "petroglyphs" in many areas throughout the park.
Great fun for people of all ages, 6 and up.
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