Lava Tubes Trail

Baker, California

Lava Tubes Trail

Lava Tubes Trail Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"The lava tubes are a very short but incredibly interesting hike, especially for those with children. Lava tubes form when hot lava reaches the earth’s surface and cools. The upper layer hardens while lava continues to flow beneath it. There are several places in this particular tube where lava continued to flow on top and broke through the upper crust, forming holes that allow light into the now hollow and cavernous formation."

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More Lava Tubes Trail Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

"Among the many notable geological features of Mojave National Preserve are a chain of cinder cones and lava flows located between Baker and Kelso Depot. In one of the lava beds is a lava tube, which formed when the surface of the lava flow cooled and hardened into a crust while the molten center flowed on. This short trip leads into the tube. Make sure to bring a flashlight and watch your head on the low ceilings. From the parking area, hike up a closed road north onto the lava flow. In 0.2 mile near the crest of the flow, look for a clearing and trail on the right (east) marked by a metal stake. Follow the trail east 100 yards as it gently climbs through the black lava flow."
Bill & Polly Cunningham
"This short hike to—and down into—a unique volcanic cavelike formation can be extended to the reddish-black moonscape of nearby cinder cones. Follow an old road for about 0.25 mile north and then watch on the right for the narrow trail to the lava tube entrance. A narrow steel ladder allows for a careful descent of some 20 feet to the floor of a main cavern chamber. The ladder is not maintained, so enter cautiously at your own risk.The lava tube was formed when an ancient volcano erupted, causing a rapid flow of lava.The outer flow took longer to cool than the inner flow, forming this cavelike opening in the earth. Bring a headlamp or flashlight and be prepared for an area with a low ceiling that requires stoop walking or hands-and-knees crawling to access the larger cave.You may see bats as well as ropy strands of pahoehoe lava on the cave walls. If you explore the tubes during the hot months, you’ll love this dark, cool respite from the scorching sun.Watch for snakes near the entrance."
Bill & Polly Cunningham
"The slow but usable trail provides a good introduction to volcanic geology along this northern edge of the vast lava bed region of northwestern Mojave National Preserve. Especially interesting is the cut-away lava cliff face, which exposes the profile of the rock along with a colorful display of red, green, and gray lichens on the lava formations. The historic Mojave Road makes a sharp turn at this point. The Mojave Road was first used by Native Americans and later developed by the military to encourage settlement in the region."

Trail Information

Nearby City
150 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
0.5 hours
Late fall through spring
3,615 feet
Trailhead Elevation
3,765 feet
Top Elevation
Mojave National Preserve
Local Contacts
USGS Cow Cove
Local Maps

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