If you've ever daydreamed about time travel, now's your chance. You can take a tour through Lava Beds National Monument inside an old cave that was carved by a half-million year of volcanic eruptions. Did we mention that it literally glows gold?
It just goes to show, you can find all kinds of wonders both above and below the high desert.
To get there, you'll need to travel to Lava Beds National Monument. The park entrance fee is $25 per vehicle, payable by cash or checks only.
You'll park by the visitor center on Cave Loop Road and walk several feet to the Golden Dome cave entrance. Getting to the lava tubes requires you to take a ladder down through a narrow rock opening.
In certain areas, you'll have to crouch or lean down to keep exploring. When you reach the ground, take the first left turn to get to the main cave.
The floor is rough and it's very dark inside, so make sure you and your friends bring a flashlight, good hiking shoes, and watch your footing and your head. Since it's pretty chilly inside, we highly recommend wearing a warm jacket too.
You'll find various loops inside, which can seem a little tricky to navigate at first. But if you get turned around, just remember the cave runs like a figure eight.
Everywhere you look, you'll find glowing colors and even bats lining the walls! They are most likely hibernating, so make sure not to disturb them.
Walk a little while longer and you'll come across the largest glowing section in stunning gold color. Make sure to take plenty of pics for your travel memories!
Wondering what makes the cave glow gold?
The presence of bacteria on the walls reflects any of the surrounding light, creating a breathtaking color for visitors to see.
It is important that you do not touch the cave walls, as this can erode the bacteria and it can take up to forty years for them to grow back.
During your visit, make sure to respect the environment, the wildlife, and leave no trace. Let's leave this place exactly how we found it.
If you love unique adventures and out of this world experiences, you won't want to miss these cave explorations. While you're in the area, you might also want to check out these turquoise mountain lakes that are frozen all year-round. They're only a short drive away.
Lava Tubes National Monument: Golden Dome Cave
Price: $25 entrance fee per vehicle (payable by cash or checks only)
Hours: Open 24 hours; we strongly recommend only visiting during the day time, as it is easy to get lost.
Location: 1 Indian Well Hqts, Tulelake, CA
Why You Should Go: You can explore an ancient California lava tube cave that literally glows gold.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.