Lava River Caves

Lava River Caves

The sweet smell of Ponderosa Pines surrounding followed by crisp mountain air, birds chirping and splashes of yellow flowers blooming in the forest – little do we know that a spooky mile long cave is sitting underneath it all.

Here is your spooky hike into the lava river caves.


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The Lava River Caves were formed roughly 700,000 years ago by molten rock that erupted from a volcanic vent  nearby, and is the perfect Halloween Hike for all ages. Why Halloween? I recently took my siblings here; driving deep into the forest and turning onto a dirt road we found the sign “Lava River Caves→”!

After parking I hopped out of the car into the chilly fall air while layering on sweaters, socks and yoga pants {anything I didn’t mind getting dirty}. Last step was my hiking shoes and headlamp (A MUST).

My siblings followed behind as I lead them to the entrance of the cave, as if I knew where I was going. *Ding ding ding! My first time here, too*. Approaching the entrance I quickly realized how small of a crevice it was to get inside {is this how the mile long cave was going to be, claustrophobic?}.

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 Almost immediately we turned our headlamps on discovering the rocky path which lead us deeper into the cave, the air becoming so cold every breath showed as a plume of white steam. Out of no where the cave floor became flat and opened up to wide hallways with high ceilings, the cave walls sparkling like dragon scales from the moisture beading onto them. The deeper we got the more mysterious the cave became.

Midway through our journey we came upon a fork in the road with no intention on going one way or the other – we chose the right, making our way through the silent hollow cave until we hit a wall {literally}. The cave walls came down forcing me to the floor, zombie crawling my way through the shallow crevice into the unknown.

On the other side of the crevice the cave opened wide again almost as if engulfing me in. My siblings followed as we passed mini streams of water and played around in the dark cavity; turning off our headlamps from time to time and telling each other to be silent. The sound of no sound.

Quite creepy in a place like that.

One mile and we reached the end. Now, there is a way to crawl back further through the black hole. However, it seems as though you have to be the size of my 13 year old sister – I wasn’t able to make it in that far. Can you?

(Disclaimer: it is hard to take crystal clear pictures in a cave!)

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Deepest part of the cave

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My siblings, Jonah and Leila⇑ Good job, guys!

The fork in the road circled back around to the main pathway, there was no getting lost in this cave – that is, by direction, anyway (;

Happy Halloween ♥ xoxo

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By |2017-05-10T02:07:45+00:00October 11th, 2016|Activities, ADVENTURE TRAVEL, Destinations, FLAGSTAFF, in ARIZONA|0 Comments

About the Author:

Andrea Blake is a southwest travel blogger based in Arizona. See her featured on Montem Outdoor Gear, Hotel Valley Ho and more. When she is not summiting a mountain or reaching her next destination, she is indulging in her favorite craft beer at the nearest brewery. You can visit her here or her Instagram at @southwestsampler.

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