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Review of Lava River Cave

Lava River Cave
Ranked #6 of 109 things to do in Flagstaff
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 7, 2013

Our family of 4 including two children, ages 10 and 8, completed the lava cave hike today and we can't stop talking about it! It was AWESOME and so unique. It was so cool to experience total pitch black darkness and absolute quiet. Going to the end and back took a little under 2 hours. Headlamps (as opposed to flashlights) are a MUST because you'll need your hands to steady yourself for balance and to help you scurry over large boulders. Our kids had little carabiner LED lights clipped to their belt loops and those came in handy, too. Inside the cave, it's cold and drippy in some places (melting ice?), which makes for some veeerrry slippery rocks, so sturdy thick-soled shoes are good to have. You may also want to wear gloves, or bring band-aids -- our son exited the cave with scraped up palms due to catching himself from falling on sharp rocks. Ouch! As for clothing, we were dressed in jeans, short-sleeved tees, and a sweatshirt, which worked out great.

General note: The first 15 minutes down and the last 15 minutes back up are the hardest part of the hike. In between that, it's mostly walking upright on large stones or rough ground, with a few low-ceilinged spots here and there where adults will need to bend down to get through.

The drive in from the main road is on a rocky, unpaved path so it's an extremely bumpy ride for about 20-25 minutes. Your car will get covered in red dust.

I would recommend this adventure for children ages 7 and above, though more adventurous 5 or 6 year olds could probably do it without any assistance. Adults should be in reasonably good shape with all 4 limbs in working order, and the ability to climb boulders and to balance yourself on rocky, loose surfaces.

1  Thank wock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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282 - 286 of 381 reviews

Reviewed August 5, 2013

went there, went down,, it is all boulders from start to finish,, can never relax, nothing to see in side either, except boulders that you climb over, and over, and over, there is NO walking inside, it is all crawling over boulders.. no floor, only rocks upon rocks... so now you know....

4  Thank stillsore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2013

This a a completely non-modernized lava tube. Except for signage and a rock border at the surface there are no man-made conveniences. It is cold and pitch black - it should be, its a cave. Bring a couple flashlights each and be sure to wear a sweatshirt and long pants. It was easy enough to find using directions in an AZ hiking book about 4-5 miles off 180 north of Flagstaff down a couple of dirt forest service roads (not the most gentle on your car). We loved it, but we do enjoy the outdoors in its pristine form - without added lights and roped off areas.

1  Thank HikerGail
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 2, 2013

My two grandsons, 7 and 4, absolutely loved this mile-long caving expedition. It is fairly easy but take adequate shoes, lighting and jackets. Not to be missed.

1  Thank Darryl L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 1, 2013

This place is really cool and off the beaten path. It is a short distance to the north of Flagstaff, and is for those who want to go out of the way a little more. What it is, is a natural lava tube formed when the area was above geothermal activity and surround by active volcanoes. The tube was formed by the lava as it hollowed out a path, which is the cave you can explore now. You follow the cave until it dead ends about a mile in, you can have a lunch or snack or just relax before heading out. A favorite thing to do on my field trips there was to sit at the end of the cave while everyone turns off their flash lights, the darkness is pretty absolute. It is cold in the cave so dress warm, you will be navigating through hard rock so hiking shoes or boots are recommended, and there are no lights in the cave so bring a flash light. It is open to the public and no charge is required; however, that does mean no one is present I case of injury or car trouble, unless other people are there, and there are not any services( i.e. water, bathrooms, or places to get food.) so come prepared. But it is worth everything you put into going out there. Good for kids as well as adults. Must be physically fit, a little flexible and not afraid of the dark or small places.

3  Thank Alexander B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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