Bruce asked me for any good lava tubes in the lower 48. I know of a few off the top of my head, but when I did the Google, no list of lava tubes came up that I could find. This is insupportable, as we used to say in French class! We need a list of lava tubes open to visitors, stat.
I’ll begin with the ones I know, and you, my darlings, can chime in with the ones you know, and by the end of this, we shall have a nice, relatively complete list we can then publish here and at Rosetta Stones so that people can find it. We can include Alaska, Hawaii, and US Territories as well, why not! If you’ve been, and have got photos and a brief description of your adventure that you wouldn’t mind sending me to publish, you can email me at dhunterauthor at gmail.
Adventures with Lava Tubes in the Continental United States
Lava River Cave, Flagstaff. This is my second lava tube – the first one is, alas, closed to the public now. We visited whilst camping on the San Francisco Peaks. It’s part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field, and it is awesomesauce. It’s a mile long, and in most places, it’s quite comfortably big.
Lava Beds National Monument, Tulelake. This is a unique site, with a huge number of lava tubes in the flank of the Medicine Lake shield volcano. There are dozens of developed caves you can choose from, ranging from easy-peasy to ZOMG ARE YOU KIDDING.
Subway Cave, Lassen National Forest. This is a shorty, only 1/3 mile long, but you don’t have to crawl! Yay! A nice, simple tube with informational signs, suitable for learning about how lava travels. There are some nice descriptions of it here.
Craters of the Moon, Arco. There are hundreds of caves, including many lots of lava tubes, on the site; four lava tubes are easily accessible from the Cave Trail.
El Malpais National Monument, Grants. There are four excellent lava tubes accessible in this basalt badland. There are a variety of difficulty levels to choose from.
Lava River Cave Interpretive Site, Bend. This is a neato mile-long extravaganza of stairs and boardwalks through a tube in the Newberry Crater volcanic field.
Ape Cave Interpretive Site, Cougar. This is Mount St. Helens’s own lava tube! It’s the third longest lava tube in North America, and has a bunch of features common to lava tubes, including “subway” tracks, a skylight, and a lavafall. One of these days, B and I will have appropriate light sources and can show you it! But here’s the entrance while you wait.
This list is too small! Send me your lava tubes and make it bigger!