Cavernous and Cold

Get Set For A Winter Break Adventure…If You Dare

Jesse Gollubier, Cactus Staff Writer

Grab your flashlights and a jacket; we are going on a journey! For those of you with a thirst for adventure and those who forgot leg day, the Lava River Cave is your destination. It is open year-round, though summer is the most recommended time to visit, and located about 14 miles north of Flagstaff, it is a natural museum and an amazing spectacle of the forces of nature, namely, a volcano.

With 3,820 feet of rocky terrain naturally formed through the process of lava flowing and cooling, this cave will leave you cold and exhausted, but you will have the experience of walking through a moment in Earth’s history frozen in time.

The entrance to the cave is a giant hole in the ground. The first 100 feet or so is pure climbing on an uneven slope of nothing but rock, this is also the coldest part at about 35°F, be careful as it is slippery and there might even be ice. After that is about 900 feet of level tunnel, which will open up to a cavern with a ceiling 30 feet high and two paths that go to the same spot. Another 500 feet and you get to a sharp turn and low ceiling; rejoice for this is the halfway point! After this milestone you only have a slightly curved tunnel and a straight shot the end. The reward you are met with can only be crafted by nature itself. When you are finished reveling in this spectacle you turn and head out the way you came.

Before you go you need to make sure you have the right equipment. With the cave’s highest temperature being 45°F, make sure you bring the appropriate attire that will keep you warm. The cave has only one light source, the sun, make sure to bring at least three flashlights with you, per person, I recommend a headlight, it will be pitch- black. There are sharp rocks and there will be loose ones, make sure you bring hard-soled shoes and some kind of hard-hat or helmet. There are no bathrooms during this journey, make sure you go before you head in.

This trip is one that I would recommend to everyone that thinks they are physically able. Be mindful of the wildlife, they will not harm you! This natural art deserves the respect of everyone, and everyone deserves to see it in its natural beauty, do not deface the cave or you will be reported and fined heavily. As with all trips make sure others know of your trip and planned return time, in case of emergencies.

Have fun on your adventure!

For more information go to:

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