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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
The light at the end of the tunnel! Hahaha, literally.
We survived! And with only one scrape per person, yesss.
If you have some extra time, go explore the land around the lava tubes. It is so beautiful!
- 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