Lava Beds National Monument
Volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created an incredibly rugged landscape punctuated by cinder cones, lava flows, spatter cones, lava tube caves and pit craters. During the Modoc War of 1872-1873, the Modoc Indians used these tortuous lava flows to their advantage. Under the leadership of Captain Jack, the Modocs took refuge in "Captain Jack's Stronghold," a natural lava fortress. From this base a group of 53 fighting men and their families held off US Army forces numbering up to ten times their strength for five months. Visitors can tour both the geologic and historic wonders of this unusual landscape. Maybe you love caves, or you've never been in one. Or you're a history buff, love wildflowers, or just need a few hours of solitude in the wilderness away from the daily commute? Lava Beds is the place for you. Indoors or out, any time of year, there's always a variety of activites and events to keep you busy, interested, and amazed.
Seasonality / Weather
Lava Beds' caves, trails, camping, and attractions are open year-round. Cave Loop Drive is closed to vehicles after dark, but you may still enter on foot or bicycle. Occasionally in winter, snow can temporarily close park roads until they are plowed.
Visitors travelling south on Highway 139 (from Oregon) will see signs four miles south of Tulelake directing them into Lava Beds. Visitors travelling north on Highway 139 (from Alturas) will see signs 27 miles north of Canby directing them into Lava Beds.