LAVA TUBE CAVES

Lava Tubes | Lava River Caves

Currently Closed

Who would think that surrounding the beautiful Ponderosa Pine forest here is Northern Arizona we have our very own collection of volcanic wonders? One of these wonders includes the lava tubes Flagstaff has to offer that were formed through a volcanic vent located in Hart Prarie. As the lava flowed from the vent, the outside hardened into a tube-like formation. This newly created tunnel filled with molten lava creating a fiery faucet. Once the flow was done the cave cooled and remains a mile-long tunnel for all of those brave enough to explore it. This 700,000-year-old formation remains a cool 35°-45° even in the summer.

Lava TubesPhoto Credit:www.atlasobscura.com/

VISITOR INFORMATION

WHAT TO BRING

  • 3 sources of light. Yes, you really do want at least 2-3 light sources including a flashlight, headlamp, lantern, etc. This is because the rock floors are a painful combination of slippery and dark. If you fall or drop a light source catching yourself you are stuck in the pitch black of the lava tubes. This is no ordinary dark where you can slightly make out the rocks or have your eyes get used to the lack of light. It is the dark where you cannot see your hand if it is touching your nose!
  • Bring steady shoes. This includes hiking boots, running shoes, etc. Anything closed toed is the way to go. This again is due to the lack of light and uneven surface at the bottom of the cave.
  • Bring warm clothing. The cave is not only a constant average of 42°, but it leaks snowmelt and weather from rainstorms. This means the cold can be slightly damp depending on the time of year.
  • Optional-You could bring a helmet. This cave changes height frequently and in the dark, it is difficult to make out anything around your flashlight. Even the shortest of people have the potential to bang their head on the wall if they are focused on the ground.

GETTING HERE

The best season to visit the lava tubes Flagstaff has to offer is during the summer. The cave is open all year round but the service roads to get to them (Forest Roads 245 and/or 171) are closed during the winter. Feel free to ski or snowshoe to the cave if you desire a winter visit. There is also camping around the area but please remember to have your campsite at least a mile away from the cave entrance. The camping etiquette around the area includes picking up all trash, not feeding the wildlife (there are cows that wander the area but are scared of humans), and most importantly no defacing the cave walls. There have been many cases of graffiti in the cave and although they have been removed since it is obviously respectful to leave the area how it was when you first set foot on it. Camp Colton does educational school programs in the cave and the experience is a rite of passage and an awesome adventure to all Flagstaff sixth graders.


Location: 14 miles north of Flagstaff on paved highways and graveled Forest Roads and a travel time of 45 minutes. GPS Coordinates: 35°20'32.2"N 111°50'08.2"W


Directions: Drive 9 miles north of Flagstaff on US 180 and turn west (left) on FR 245 (at milepost 230). Continue 3 miles to FR171 and turn south 1 mile to where FR 171B turns left a short distance to Lava River Cave. For more information please contact Flagstaff Ranger District at 928-526-0866.

MORE THINGS TO DO NEAR FLAGSTAFF

Bearizona Wildlife Park
Bearizona Wildlife Park
Welcome to Bearizona Wildlife Park. We are a Wildlife adventure, open year round.Located on 160 acres in the city of Williams Az. We are right off Route 66 on the way to the Grand Canyon, just a short drive from Sedona and Flagstaff. The park consists of a 3 mile drive thru and Fort Beariz
Welcome to Bearizona Wildlife Park. We are a Wildlife adventure, open year round.Located on 160 acres in the city of Williams Az. We are right off Route 66 on the way to the Grand Canyon, just a short drive from Sedona and Flagstaff. The park consists of a 3 mile drive thru and Fort Bearizona. In the drive thru, you will take your own vehicle or our Wild Ride Bus through pristine Natural habitats for many North American Species. In these free roaming areas You will see wolves, bears, bison, and many other large species that can come right up to your car. Where the drive thru ends Fort Bearizona begins. Park your car and come on in. This is where you will find our smaller animals like river otters and bobcats. The barnyard, which is our petting zoo and fun for all ages. The Raptor Free Flight program, where birds of prey fly right over your head. All Shows which include animal meet-n-greets and training presentations. Big Bear Gift shop, over 8,000 sq feet of treasures and also housing Arizona’s largest model train, a historically accurate replica of the railroad from Williams depot to the grand canyon. For dining options we have the Bearizona Grill for a quick snack or our themed Canyonlands restaurant where you can sit and have a hot meal and a cold beverage overlooking our remarkable jaguar enclosure. You can Hop on our website for all current show times and we hope you can come visit us soon. Not only will you learn about lots of Awesome North American animals but you will also have an amazing time while your doing it.
Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course
Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course is an elevated obstacle course set in the tall Ponderosa Pines. It is securely suspended between the trees at 15 to 60 feet off the ground. At Flagstaff Extreme, we believe the best family memories are usually ones that take place outdoors, so bring th

Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course is an elevated obstacle course set in the tall Ponderosa Pines. It is securely suspended between the trees at 15 to 60 feet off the ground. At Flagstaff Extreme, we believe the best family memories are usually ones that take place outdoors, so bring the entire family! There are 5 adult courses and 1 junior course with obstacles ranging from tarzan ropes, to wobbly bridges, swinging logs, cargo nets, ziplines, and even an aerial surf board!

Come Play in the Trees and explore the outdoors like you never have before!

To see our availability or book a reservation, check out www.flagstaffextreme.com or give us a call at 888-259-0125!

(See our website for age and height restrictions)

Flagstaff Adventure Co.
Flagstaff Adventure Co.
We’ve outitted our Polaris RZR Rentals with GPS units showing you exactly the best places to have a great time while you’re out enjoying nature.
Grand Canyon Railway
Grand Canyon Railway
Visit the official website for Grand Canyon Railway. Book your reservation online for a train tour on one of five classes of service on our vintage train to the Grand Canyon. Or,select a vacation package that includes lodging at our own Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and in Grand Canyon Nation
Visit the official website for Grand Canyon Railway. Book your reservation online for a train tour on one of five classes of service on our vintage train to the Grand Canyon. Or,select a vacation package that includes lodging at our own Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and in Grand Canyon National Park.
Flagstaff E Bike Tours
Flagstaff E Bike Tours
Let's Ride and see the outdoor areas in and around Flagstaff while being able to operate an e-bike at 7000 feet. Ride along Flagstaff's pathways and urban trails (FUTS) one of our RadPower Fat Tire E-bikes. Experience the beauty of the area while discovering how e-biking can reduce polluti
Let's Ride and see the outdoor areas in and around Flagstaff while being able to operate an e-bike at 7000 feet. Ride along Flagstaff's pathways and urban trails (FUTS) one of our RadPower Fat Tire E-bikes. Experience the beauty of the area while discovering how e-biking can reduce pollution, increase your fitness and see more of the outdoors while meeting your physical ability. If needed, you can engage the pedal assist option on the bike to help you get up those hills, along the trails and enjoy the sites. We are an educational experience with discovery on the operation of e-bikes for transportation and recreational purposes and you will learn about mobility assisted options for your outdoor interests. Our customers love the experience, and many choose to purchase an e-bike direct from our official provider "RadPower Bikes". The bike tour is educational and recreational by facilitators and provides work-life leisure message while in the outdoors. Our guides are professional recreation experts and the e-bikes are just part of the process. Ride with us and decide if you can experience exercise, recreation and the outdoors with an e-bike in your life.
Cabins & Yurts At AZ Nordic Village
Cabins & Yurts At AZ Nordic Village
Stay in a yurt or cabin at the AZ Nordic Village, a premier outdoor recreation destination just north of Flagstaff. Perfectly situated in the cool pine and aspen forests at 8,000 ft of elevation between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon National Park, the Village offers rustic cabin and yurt rent
Stay in a yurt or cabin at the AZ Nordic Village, a premier outdoor recreation destination just north of Flagstaff. Perfectly situated in the cool pine and aspen forests at 8,000 ft of elevation between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon National Park, the Village offers rustic cabin and yurt rentals year-round, and summer campsites that are RV-friendly. Frontcountry yurts and cabins are available for those seeking easy access, and five backcountry yurts offer solitude and natural settings with more comforts than a typical backpacking adventure. Many miles of hiking and biking trails leave right from the Village, and there are numerous other activities nearby, including the Lava River Cave, Red Mountain, Arizona Snowbowl, the Arizona National Scenic Trail, and many other hiking and biking trails.

In the winter season, the Arizona Nordic Village hosts a groomed trail system for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and fatbiking. Over 20 miles of trails offer opportunities for everybody to have a winter adventure!
Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend
Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend

Spend a day visiting two of the most iconic landscapes in the American Southwest- Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend! Our Lower Antelope Canyon Tours take you into the heart of one of the most spectacular slot canyons in the world. Afterwards, we visit the famous Horseshoe Bend, where y

Spend a day visiting two of the most iconic landscapes in the American Southwest- Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend! Our Lower Antelope Canyon Tours take you into the heart of one of the most spectacular slot canyons in the world. Afterwards, we visit the famous Horseshoe Bend, where you can peer off the edge at the mighty Colorado River!

Out Of Africa Wildlife Park
Out Of Africa Wildlife Park
Come see Tiger Splash show performed daily. Watch Bengal tigers in natural play as they "hunt" their caretakers. Open Monday-Sunday 9:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Just 40 minutes from Sedona.
Predator Zip Lines Camp Verde, AZ
Predator Zip Lines Camp Verde, AZ

Experience the wind ripping through your hair on a thrill ride over nature's wildest predators. Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on a world-class zip line over Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde Arizona! We are conveniently located less than 20 miles from Sedona, in the heart of

Experience the wind ripping through your hair on a thrill ride over nature's wildest predators. Enjoy the adventure of a lifetime on a world-class zip line over Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde Arizona! We are conveniently located less than 20 miles from Sedona, in the heart of Northern Arizona's wine country, just minutes from tasting rooms and vineyards. From the top of the towers, you can see majestic red rocks, the San Francisco peaks, and the whole breathtaking Verde Valley including Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome. Come join us for a Zip Line adventure that you'll never forget! Ride the most exciting zip line ever devised, over Out of Africa and soar over Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Hyenas, Bears, Jaguars and other natural predators!

Sedona UFO & Vortex Tours
Sedona UFO & Vortex Tours
"Voted BEST 1 day experience in Sedona. Let me show you the true POWER of SEDONA! Sedona is not a city it is a consciousness. The Vortex energy here is the most powerful any where on the planet. I will take you to the most miraculous healing vortex for a guided meditation to meet your Spir
"Voted BEST 1 day experience in Sedona. Let me show you the true POWER of SEDONA! Sedona is not a city it is a consciousness. The Vortex energy here is the most powerful any where on the planet. I will take you to the most miraculous healing vortex for a guided meditation to meet your Spirit Guides. Sedona NIGHTS are pure magic! Not only will you see a million more stars in our sky. My UFO tour will forever change the way you think of the world around you. I GUARANTEE SIGHTINGS! This 1 day experience can truly be a game changer. Your consciousness will open to coming into more contact with your Star Family. MAKE THIS PART OF YOUR SEDONA JOURNEY
Pioneer Museum
Pioneer Museum
Located in the historic Coconino County Hospital for the Indigent. Exhibits reflect Flagstaff and northern Arizona history, as well as ranching, logging, and transportation. Open Mon.–Sat. for self-guided tours.
IMAX Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitor Center
IMAX Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitor Center
Located 1 mile from the National Park South Rim Entrance. Go beyond the rim in the spectacular IMAX adventure film shown on a 6-story high screen. The Visitor Center also includes Pink Jeep Tours, Pizza Hut Express and the world famous National Geographic Store.
Lowell Observatory
Lowell Observatory
A privately owned astronomical research institution located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Best known for the discovery of Pluto. Each year, about 70,000 people visit the Observatory to learn about astronomy. Open daily.
Guided Outdoor Rock Climbing & Indoor Climbing Gym
Guided Outdoor Rock Climbing & Indoor Climbing Gym
Flagstaff Climbing Center is located in historic downtown Flagstaff. The center features over 6500 square feet of widely varied climbing terrain to suit all abilities and climbing styles. Guides are available to hire for outdoor climbing trips. Choose from several areas around Northern Ari
Flagstaff Climbing Center is located in historic downtown Flagstaff. The center features over 6500 square feet of widely varied climbing terrain to suit all abilities and climbing styles. Guides are available to hire for outdoor climbing trips. Choose from several areas around Northern Arizona including Sedona.
The Arboretum
The Arboretum
Open to the public from May through October, The Arboretum at Flagstaff is home to 2,500 species of plants in greenhouses, gardens, and natural habitats. The Arboretum offers guided tours, school programs, and other events
Flagstaff Area National Monuments
Flagstaff Area National Monuments
Visit all three Flagstaff Area National Monuments: Walnut Canyon National Monument (7.5 miles), Sunset Crater Volcano (14 miles) and Wupatki National Monument (32 miles) are all nearby.
Riordan Mansion State Park
Riordan Mansion State Park
Built in 1904 for two Riordan families, Riordan Mansion is an impressive example of gracious living and Arts and Crafts style architecture. Forty rooms, over 13,000 sq ft. Check the website for tour info and pricing.
Museum of Northern Arizona
Museum of Northern Arizona
Located just three miles north of Flagstaff, MNA features exhibits relating to anthropology, biology, geology, and fine art. The Museum has permanent and changing exhibits. Open daily for self-guided tours.

More TOURS IN Flagstaff

TOP