Lava River Tube. Flagstaff Arizona

Lava River Tube in Flagstaff Arizona

The Lava River Tube in Flagstaff Arizona is a nearly mile-long cave located in the scenic Coconino National Forest. Its only about an hour away from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. If you plan on visiting the Grand Canyon, this hike should be at the very top of your list of things to see. I would say this hike is definitely suitable for young children as long as they can be careful at the rocky entrance. I probably wouldn't plan on hauling a baby or your feeble old grandmother though. There's no gift shop on this hike and you're on your own if you run into trouble.

The entrance to the cave is short quarter mile hike from the parking area. The temperature in the cave ranges between 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit, so bring a jacket. There was actually snow and ice on the ground at the entrance to the cave in early October. The hike into the cave starts with a 200 yard rock scramble down into the actual tube. You won't have a tour guide and the cave is not lit, so you must have a light source. I recommend a buying a few cheap headlamps from Wal-Mart. After a few hundred yards,  the cave eventually levels out. We spent an 30 minutes walking deeper and deeper into the cave. You can't get lost because the only fork in the cave leads right back to the main tube.  The height of the ceiling can range anywhere from 4 feet to over 40. I took a ton of pictures and we actually turned around before we even reached the end. There were a ton of people in the cave with us, and a few hillbillies were smoking clove cigarettes and blasting country music from a boombox.  They completely killed the ambiance. It was one of the few times I wished I had a park ranger to supervise the trail. But even the hillbillies couldn't sour me on the Lava River Tube. Its a really amazing cave.

Walking the Lava River Tube is a totally unique experience. The Coconino National Forest is a worthwhile destination in its own right. I've already started planning a camping trip here next year. I saw a ton of awesome primitive back-country camping spots while we were cruising down the fire roads.

Directions: From Flagstaff, take route 180 North for approximately 14 miles. Turn Left onto Forest Route 245. In 2 miles, follow the signs for the lava River Cave and turn left onto a small fire road for and parking area for the Lava Cave.

Attention-Route 245 is closed in winter.

Lava River Cave Flagstaff Arizona

Lava River Tube Map


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