Basin Adventures: Caving at the Lava Beds

Cave entrances can take many forms; from walk-in entrances like Valentine Cave, to entrances that are only accessible by ladders or ropes. Kenneth Ingham (NPS)

Fall is a great time to visit the Lava Beds National Monument. The cool crisp nights and warm days make for a comfortable adventure.

Basin Adventures is sponsored by the Klamath Falls KOA Journey, the adventure base camp of the Klamath Basin.

Many of the caves are developed and contain trails, stairways and ladders. Cave Loop, a 2-mile road just south of the visitor center offers most of the developed caves in the park. A short walk from the visitor center is Mushpot Cave. A perfect first cave to visit, as this cave has lighting and exhibits explaining the features of the cave. Mushpot is the only lit cave in the park.

Before heading underground, a stop at the visitor center is required. Where you get a flashlight (if you did not bring one) and a hard hat. Yes you will bonk your head more than you think it is a must have accessory.

Caves are divided into three groups based on varying levels of difficulty in the hardest section of the cave – Least, Moderate and Most Challenging.

Some caves to check out on your first visit are – Mushpot, Sentinel, Valentine, and Skull. A complete list of least challenging caves can be obtained on the Lava Beds Website at

Before you go caving there are a few things you need to know.

1) Before entering any cave you must be screened for “White-nose Syndrome” a deadly fungal bat disease. This can be done at the visitor center. []

2) Most information you need to know is contained in the caving brochure. []

3) Cave safely and softly. Conditions are dramatically different underground than they are up top. So please wear proper clothing, and leave no trace of your visit. []

Travel through the Monument is by private vehicle or commercial tour as there are no public transportation options in the park. All roads in the park, accommodate standard passenger vehicles.

Please note - Pets are not allowed on trails or in caves at the Lava Beds National Monument

For more information and to plan your trip to the Monument visit 
Basin Adventures is brought to you by the Klamath Falls KOA. Centrally located in Klamath Falls, the Klamath Falls KOA is the perfect jump-off point to visit all the spectacular recreation sites of the Klamath Basin – Crater Lake National Park, Lava Beds National Monument, wildlife refuges, hiking, biking, fishing and so much more. Visit for more details and to book your next adventure base camp.