Subway Lava Cave

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Location: 

Visited: September 3, 2016

Description: Quick easy hike through an underground dark lava tube

Hours: Dawn to Dusk

Length: 0.6 mile loop

Elevation: 20 feet

Duration: ~1 hour

Difficulty: Easy

Terrain: Rough and jagged floor

Pets: Dog-friendly

Parking: Lot

Best time to go: Late May – October, closed during winter

Bring: Flashlight, camera, light jacket/sweater


Created by lava flow from Hat Creek in Lassen Volcanic National Park less than 20,000 years ago is the infamous Subway Lava Tube. After a collapse of the cave’s roof, the entrance to the cave was formed.

Being one of the largest and easily accessible lava caves in the world, it’s definitely worth the experience. If this is your first time visiting a lava tube or cave, it might be an awesome adventure. For us HikeSnobs, it was… meh. There wasn’t any danger or confinement involved (which is what we find exciting) 😆 But this is definitely great for families and first-timers.

After parking in the lot, the trail is just at the end near the restroom. When we read it was easily accessible, we didn’t think it was THIS easy.

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Follow the paved path for about .3 miles and you’ll soon hit the entrance of the cave.

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Have your flashlight ready and maybe bring a light jacket or sweater because the temperature does stay around 46°F year round. We didn’t need it though because we didn’t stay too long in the lava tube.

The ground of the cave is very jagged and rocky. Be careful where you step. We definitely had a few trips here and there.

Walking through the cave, you will find plaque markers with some information about the section of the cave.

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The cave is pretty wide and there are a lot of areas to explore but we didn’t find anything that interesting. Within 10 minutes we manage to explore most of the cave and made it to the end. There is another set of stairs that you can take that will loop you back to the parking lot.

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It might be the snob in us that kept us from fully enjoying the caves. It was way too accessible and short for us. We like working for our adventures! 💪🏻😁 It was only worth checking out because were be in the area. We wouldn’t recommend coming here without having something else to do around here. But we do hope you enjoy it… If we don’t get your hopes up, then you won’t be (as) disappointed! Right? 😉


@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • Don’t get your hopes up

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