Visitor Center Trail
ElevationAscent: 2' 1 m
Descent: -13' -4 m
High: 4,788' 1,459 m
Low: 4,775' 1,456 m
GradeAvg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 4% (2°)
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“Short, paved trail that includes the only developed cave in the park.”— QuinTCM TCM
Family Friendly The trail is paved. Mushpot Cave is well developed and is a good introduction to lava tube caves and the features found within them.
Along this trail is located Mushpot Cave. Mushpot Cave is the only developed cave in the monument. It includes a paved and lighted trail, illuminated interpretive signs that detail the many features found in lava tube caves, and a theater where videos are occasionally shown to park visitors. The cave is named for a feature called the "mushpot" that is located to the left of the stairway just inside the cave entrance. Also near the beginning of the cave is a small masonry fireplace called Moonshiner's Fireplace that was used during the early 1900s to make moonshine.
Although the main portion of the cave, which heads west from the entrance, is well developed, a small section of the cave leading east is undeveloped. After passing through a small passage about 2 feet tall, the passage opens up a bit before ending at a lava seal.
The book "Lava Beds Caves" by Charlie & Jo Larson is an excellent resource and guide for exploring the caves of Lava Beds NM. It is available for purchase at the Visitor Center.
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Photos, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Land Manager: U.S. National Park Service - Lava Beds National Monument