Lava Beds National Monument is in northeastern California.
The national monument rests at 6,770 feet above sea level and has a shield volcano that erupted several times to create today’s landscape. That landscape is rugged and rich with volcanic features.
Why Is It Famous?
Famous for the many tunnels that a volcanic eruption 30,000 years ago created, the area has been the site of historic battles, Native American petroglyphs, and unique caves and land features.
There are historical art sites of Native Americans, campsites, battlefields, and more than 800 caves. There are also petroglyphs from the Native Americans in the far northeastern part of the monument which are 4,000 years old. Many of the caves are used for hiking and viewing today.
Just south of Tulelake, you’ll find the Lava Beds National Monument. To the north of the monument, you’ll find Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The Modoc National Forest surrounds the other three sides. There are many national parks nearby such as the Crater Lake National Park. You will also find opportunities for fishing, museum visits, and more.
In addition to Medicine Lake, you will find lava flows, caves, and many tunnels formed from the lava as well as grasslands. You will also find junipers, sagebrush, and at a higher elevation, ponderosa pine. There are tons of birds, including raptors, eagles, owls, and hawks.
The hundreds of lava tube caves formed by lava are perhaps the most notable. About 450 of these still have features such as stalactites and permanent ice deposits. Other geological features include spattering cones that look like chimneys and cinder cones that rise to 300 feet.
Events in Time
The largest conflict between Native Americans and Californians took place in 1872-1873. During this war, this was the site where a small group of warriors from the Modoc tribe, along with Captain Jacks Stronghold, held off many U.S. troops for months.
The beautiful arrangement of lava tunnels was naturally made, though humans have added their touch over the centuries. Its historic contribution must be preserved.