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Old 06-19-2007, 10:54 AM   #1
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Lava Beds National Monument

We just got back from a trip to Lava Beds. It's in California just below the Oregon border about 40 miles south of Klamath Falls. Beautiful high desert. The campground has 40 sites, no hookups but 2 very clean restrooms with water and power. Water sources available on road at each restroom to fill water cans. Not too many pads for larger rigs. It's nicely vegetated with junipers and sage and such. Smelled really good. The main thing to do there is to visit the lava tubes. There are about 12 on a mile loop road. Self guided, or some guided if you want. Get the guide book, the souvenir hard hat (my wife and I both bonked our heads, wife cracking her hat!) and plenty of flashlights. We were there mid week and there were only 4 other campers most of the time, though on Memorial Day they had to shunt people to the visitors center parking lot. I'm told the road in from the south to the park has a lot of potholes, but I didn't check it out. The closest gas is in Tulelake, 15 miles away. Tulelake also has a free dump station. Gas is cheaper in Klamath Falls. This reads like a rather dry report but I hope it helps anybody interested in a trip to Lava Beds. The Lava tubes are great! Jamie
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Old 06-19-2007, 10:56 AM   #2
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Looks like a really cool place.
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:03 AM   #3
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Looks like a great place. i just emailed your thread to my wife. Now she wants to go Thanks for posting
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Old 06-19-2007, 11:58 AM   #4
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Hi Jamie, I was there last fall. A very cool place indeed. It's a good thing we have small trailers ! The best cave there was the Gold Dome cave, very cool. Also the visitors center looks brand new and is nicely done on the inside.

I did go out the south end to HWY 89 towards Lassen Park. It is very rough in places. There is closer gas in Tionesta but expect to spend twice the price. I did have a nice visit with the owner of the place and a local for about an hour.

Love the smell of the Junipers !

Bring a jacket in the fall, it gets cold at night !
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Old 06-19-2007, 12:36 PM   #5
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I went to college in Klamath Falls, and the lava beds were one of our favorite weekend destinations. Got lost in the caves many times. If you have the opportunity, take the guided tour to Fern Cave. It is very small, but full of old indian cave drawings, and is jaw dropping. The Ice cave tour is great too if you are there in the cold months when they let people in there. I feel privileged to have been in both, and to have been in Fern Cave several times. Otherwise there is tons of exploring to do in the open caves on your own.

We haven't had a chance to camp there yet, but I am looking forward to it. I imagine I can't squeeze through all the holes I used to
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:41 PM   #6
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For Lava fans,
There are a couple of neato lava sites in NM:
El Malpais National Monument, near Grants NM off I-40 lava tubes, ice caves and a natural arch. Also near Acoma Sky City (Indian Pueblo on a mesa top)
Valley of Fires National Monument, near Alamogordo, camping, self guided walk through a lava field. Near White Sands.
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Old 06-19-2007, 01:56 PM   #7
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I stopped by there last June on a long trip up to Seattle. I hadn't been for a number of years. I remember the first time I was there, alone..... I felt that horrible lost in the dark feeling in one of the loooonnnngggg tubes. No one else was in it. Scary.

Here is a photo taken last June. Long exposure while waving a flashlight around to provide at least some light. The brighter light you see is not from the outside but an extended shining of the light in that area.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:04 AM   #8
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THere is also Creaters of the Moon in Eastern Idaho. I stopped there last fall.
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