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Lava River Cave

The Lava River Cave
Shaun heading into the darkness of the Lava River cave
In the Lava River Cave
Scrambling in the Lava River Cave
The entrance to the Lava River Cave
The entrance to the Lava River Cave
Lava river cave


How to Get There
This hike is located near Flagstaff, AZ.

From the Flagstaff area, take HWY 180 towards the south rim of the Grand Canyon. About 15 miles from Flagstaff (Mile marker 230) is a dirt road to your left (FR 245). After going three miles on this road, turn left again on FR171. After one mile on this road, take another left onto FR171B. The trailhead to the lava river cave is a half mile down this road.
Northern Arizona

Hike details

1.40 [Miles] Total
Hike Distance- Details
1.4 miles to the end of the cave and back
2.00 [Hours]
It took us two hours
Elevation Change
100 Total gain/loss [Feet]
Elevation Details
about 100 ft gradual gain.
Hike Trail Type
Out and Back


Best Season
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
Date Hike completed
January 01, 2000


Solitude Details
This is a relatively secluded hike, even on weekends. Expect to meet 10-25 other hikers.


Difficulty Rating
difficulty detail
This hike is a great change of pace. Not especially challenging for those in shape, but watching your head and walking carefully on the sharp volcanic rock is important. This is a moderate hike.

Kids will especially like this hike. What kid do you know that doesn't love crawling around in caves?


Be Aware of
Bring a flashlight and warm clothes, some scrambling

Hike the lava river tube cave near Flagstaff, Arizona.

Want to try a little bit different type of Arizona hike. How about hiking under the ground instead of on top of it? This cave was formed by a molten rock tube who's walls solidified while the rest of the lava continued to flow through it.

The entrance to the cave is a couple of hundred yards from the parking area. The cave is cold all year round (even in summer). The entrance is about 32 degrees, with the cave warming up slightly as you hike (but not much). Make sure you hike with a friend and both of you have good flashlights. The footing is on volcanic rock, so wear sturdy boots (no sandals). It would be tough to get lost, as there is only one fork in the cave, but it quickly rejoins the main route. 

Want to freak yourself out? Have everyone in your party turn their flashlights off and be very quiet.......


Swap Start/End
Adding markers to the map ...