Lava Beds Caving and Bat Fun !!!!

This is by far the best playground ever! It is underground and fun for all ages. My children loved caving (spelunking)! It is a great way to get out of the heat on a summer day. You will want to stay and play for hours. The wonderful thing is that this playground is not crowded. In some caves you might be the only one brave enough to enter into it. You do not have to feel rushed or crowded, so take your time coming face to face with lava tube slime.

Caving at Lava Beds:


There are 700 caves located at Lava Beds. Most of these caves you can explore on your own. There are two caves that you need to call and reserve ahead of time. These are …..   Crystal Ice Cave and Fern Cave. Crystal Ice cave tours are limited to 6 visitors (ages 12 and older) per tour. These tours are offered every Saturday at 1:00pm from January through March. The tour last 3 hours. You can see when they have tour and reservation dates available online at

The same applies to Fern cave as above except that this tour is available on Saturdays at 2:00pm from June through September. You can book your tour at

My favorite cave this trip around was the Hopkins Chocolate Cave because it is such a beautiful cave inside. It has patches of lava tube slime on the ceiling and walls.  It  also looks as if there is gold inside this cave.

Safety first:

The great thing about Lava Beds is that there are different levels of caves: easy, moderate, and challenging. Everyone can enjoy a caving adventure here. If you want to experience more challenging caves then you want to make sure that you have a head light, helmet, elbow and knee pads, gloves, and a hand flashlight. It is also smart to carry a small backpack with water, extra flashlights, and batteries. Wear long sleeve clothing  that you do not mind getting dirty or destroying. If you forget to bring these things with you, no worries because they sell these things at the visitors center. I bought knee and elbow pads at a thrift store.

Also I highly recommend purchasing at the visitors center the Lava Beds Caves guide because they have a map for each cave. This is very helpful to have handy when you are crawling, squatting, and walking in the caves. You do not want to get lost.  They cost $7.75.

Schonchin Butte Lookout:

      Where is it located at: At Lava Beds National Monument Tulelake, Ca. From the visitors center go 2.5 miles North. Turn right at the sign that reads Schonchin Butte.

 You need to park and hike 0.7 miles up to the lookout. The lookout is at an elevation of 5293 feet. When you get to the lookout you will be greeted by a friendly ranger. The ranger is usually at the lookout from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm daily from June to late September. This lookout is still a functioning fire lookout. Come and learn how the fire finder works.

There is so much History at Lava Beds:
Captain Jack’s stronghold:


After the South Emigrant Trail in 1846 was opened, the Modoc Tribe and the Euro-American setters had many conflicts. So the Modoc signed a treaty giving up their homeland and moved to the Klamath Indian Reservation. They had hardships at the reservation and decided to go back to their former homeland which was the beginning of the Modoc War which started in 1872 and lasted until 1873. Captain Jack’s stronghold is the place where Captain Jack’s gang hid and shot at the Euro-American settlers.

 Canby Cross:
Where it is located: 3 miles south of Tule lake and 5 miles Southwest of the town Tule lake. This cross is a reminder of Generals Canby murder. He was shot in the face by Captain Jack. There were peace talks to end the Modoc War but it did not get anywhere. This is not the original cross. It is a replica.

Now lets have some fun with bats…..
 We are fascinated with bats. We have bats where we live because there are old mines near our house. So we see them flying around when it starts to get dark outside. We even had a little guy on our deck. He probably got lost. But no worries, he flew away the next evening. 🙂 Bats look like black butterflies from the distance.

Some facts about bats:
* Bats have the best hearing of all animals.
*Bats eat at night (nocturnal).
*Where bats sleep is known as “roost.”
* Bats are social animals.
*Bats are warm blooded.
*Bats nurse their babies. 🙂
*Bats can fly.
*Bats have fur.
*Bats eat fruits, insects, fish, frogs, and small animals.
*Bats live in caves, trees, mines, and old buildings.
*The largest colony in the world is in Bracken Cave (Texas).

The anatomy of a bat…

To make this you need : sticks, toothpicks (for toes), a large acorn (for head and body), pine cones (for ears and nose), black paint, and glue. We glued this on a grocery bag.

Make a bat mask:

This is super easy to make. Buy a mask and some black felt. Trace an outline of the bat on the mask. Cut out the traced bat. Glue the felt onto the mask and then cut the eyes out. Now your kids can pretend they are bats.

Where to see bats:

Sunset, Bat, and Astronomy night at deer creek hills:
My husband and I did this a year ago and we really enjoyed it. They usually do this in August. Check out their website at
Call Gina for more information at (916) 612-3719

Museums about bats:

Look up “Masters of the night: the true story of bats ” online and see which museum is featuring this exhibition. Many years ago we saw this for ourselves and loved it. You get to put ears on and hear how well bats hear.

Check out the link below. Watch a video and learn more about bats and the exhibit.

4 Responses

  1. Those caves look fantastic. What a cool thing to explore with the family! Xx

  2. We sure had fun exploring this as a family. I was not sure how my little one would feel about caving but she loved it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I don't think we have anything as awesome as this where I live. My kids would love it. You might say they'd go "batty" for it… sorry about that!! x

  4. My kids went "batty" about caving as well. My baby Eve is always asking about going back. Wish I lived closer to it. Its not just fun but a good workout. Thanks for stopping by. Be blessed. 🙂

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