Hiking Through the Lava Tubes in Flagstaff, AZ

After a beautiful long weekend in California and exploring Flagstaff yesterday with G, I’m back and so recharged! I missed blogging these past few days but the break from the Internet was nice- although I had no choice but to check my Instagram and Twitter a few (hundred) times. Before I dive right into my mini-California vacation, I decided to post today about the lava tubes I explored yesterday.

Flagstaff, AZ

 Yes, lava tubes! Up in Flagstaff, Arizona you have the opportunity to hike the lava river tubes that were formed between 650,000-700,000 years ago when a volcano erupted with molten lava.  It was such a cool experience and was a great way to cool down from the 120 degree weather we’re experiencing down here in Phoenix!

Lava Tubes Flagstaff, AZ

 You have to hike in a crawl space down into the tubes, it may feel claustrophobic at first, but it eventually opens up wider to allow you to stand up straight.

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

There are places, however, where you will have to crouch down low and duck your head. This hike is moderate (I’d say easy but climbing over the rocks may be challenging to some) and totally kid-friendly. In fact, we saw a summer camp coming through as we were leaving and they seemed totally pumped!

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

The hike is around ¾ of a mile (though it seems longer climbing over everything) and totally doable under time constraints. If you’re in the Flagstaff area and are looking for an activity that only takes 2 hours or less, this may be your winning ticket! Once you’re about halfway through, there will be a fork in the cave. Take the left side as the right side is difficult and forces you to crawl through much of the space.

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

That’s me, almost falling flat on my face. Be careful, it drips water and at some points there are huge puddles on the rocks!

Lava River Cave, Flagstaff AZ

The light at the end of the tunnel! Hahaha, literally.

Lava River Cave, Flagstaff AZ

We survived! And with only one scrape per person, yesss.

Flagstaff, AZ

If you have some extra time, go explore the land around the lava tubes. It is so beautiful!

Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff, Arizona

Tips for Hiking through the Lava Tubes, Flagstaff AZ

Tips:

  • Bring at least two lights per. person! Think a headlamp and a flashlight. That way, if one runs out of batteries, you have the other one for back-up. It is pitch black in the cave and if you’re stuck without a light, it can  be extremely dangerous.
  • Wear appropriate clothing! The warmest part of the tubes is 40 degrees! I was fine in shorts because my legs were constantly moving, but my sweater was imperative! Bringing gloves is also something I’d consider in the future. Not only for the frozen hands I developed holding my flashlight towards the end, but also for grabbing onto some rocks.
  • Bring water to stay hydrated and beware if you have asthma. It can get really dusty!

Directions: Drive 9 miles north of Flagstaff on US 180 and turn west (left) on FR 245 (at milepost 230). Continue 3 miles to FR171 and turn south 1 mile to where FR 171B turns left a short distance to Lava River Cave. via

 

  • http://amysvintagecloset.com Amy Black

    I love this! I haven’t done it before, but it seriously looks amazing! I was just in Flag with my family last month! Such a nice break from the Phoenix heat!!!

    xo

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      It really was! Driving with the windows down is something I really miss here during the Phoenix summer’s!

  • http://pixiedustkitchen.com Faith @ Pixie Dust Kitchen

    I have family in Scottsdale and we visit them all the time. This would be wonderful to do next time we visit!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Wow! This would make a great day trip the next time you’re in Scottsdale, while you’re there try out Salsa Brava! It’s an amazing Mexican food restaurant not too far from the site that was featured on Diners, Drive-In’s, and Dives!

  • http://simplechroniclesofme.blogspot.co.uk Toyota Smith

    This looks absolutely terrifying so well done you! I am petrified of small spaces so the thought of not being able to escape would have me in complete meltdown stages. Just stumbled across your blog this morning and would love to read more but I have to leave for work (I’m already late and I still need to eat!!), will do so more when I get home again!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Great to hear you enjoyed! I get pretty claustrophobic, but this wasn’t too horrible for me, luckily! Hope you have a great day and work and like what you read when you get home! x

  • http://WWW.DESIGNLOVECHILD.COM ANDREA

    I love your style and plethora of pictures!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed.

  • http://www.chimerikal.com Erika

    Oooh, this looks creepy and scary!!! And cool!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Haha, it was definitely very creepy and scary, and cool! I thought it would eventually have smooth pavement once I crawled in, but no such thing! Definitely a shocker.

  • http://www.hoplessadventurer.com Hopeless Adventurer

    Ohhhhh that restaurant’s design and sign is beyond lovely!! And goodness! We’re so so sooooo jealous that you have caves to explore. We often say we’re stuck in between all that good stuff because, well we are. Love your blog lady!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Isn’t it just awesome?? I think it’s a very unique sign. If you ever get the chance, try Vovomeena out! So glad you’re loving my blog, it means so much that you’re reading! x

  • http://www.itsallbee.com Bianca

    This looks like something up my alley. I was recently in Cheddar Gorge this weekend but managed to get there after the caves had closed for the day. I am guessing this lava tubes are un attended?

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      Awe, that’s too bad you got there when they were closed! These lava tubes are known to locals and regulars to the area, so there’s people coming and going, but it’s not a huge attraction that you’ll necessarily have to fight for a space in the (tiny) parking lot for!

  • http://www.tossingthescript.com Rachel

    This is so cool! We have a place like that up here called Ape Cave, near Mt. St. Helens, and we used to go every Summer growing up. I’ve been itching to go back, and you’ve renewed my interest!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com Kayli Schattner

      It was totally cool! I’m glad that I went :) such a fun/unique experience! Ape Cave sounds awesome too! Post pics if you get back up there! :)

  • Kat

    My DH and I went there last year and I had a full blown panic attack! I never even got as far as the woman in the blue in the one pic! lol (Major claustrophobia). But DH had a ball and I ended up having my own fun walking around in the woods looking for interesting rocks for my collection.
    Enjoying your blog … we are going to the Yucatan next month and are looking forward to doing the cenote jump!

    • http://www.kayliwanders.com/ Kayli Schattner

      Ah, that’s okay- the whole close corners thing DEFINITELY isn’t for everyone and the land around the area is so beautiful to explore- I want to go back again soon!! :) Glad that you’ve been enjoying reading through some of my travel posts. I can’t wait to hear all about your cenote adventures! Are you planning on doing Ik Kil? :)

  • Justine B

    Ah I love this! I live in Phoenix and I have never been there! I don’t think the BF could do it though….he’s too big!

    New follower!

    Justine
    http://www.sleepysinglegirl.blogspot.com