Lava tube in mojave national preserve

Hiking The Lava Tube Trail In Mojave National Preserve

lava tube in mojave national preserve

Lava Tube: trail description, photos, GPS map, and directions for this short hike in Mojave National Preserve.


While the entirety of the Eastern part of California is full of amazing places to adventure in, one of my favorite spots is the Mojave National Preserve. Like Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve has a number of different types of desert terrain — dunes , slot canyons , and long lost underground spring s. It also has an area that can only be described as one thing and one thing only: a volcanic wasteland. Although the area has some amazing cinder cones that can be climbed, and innumerable types of volcanic rocks strewn everywhere that can be examined, the signature place to visit and adventure around is the lava tube. This tube formed approximately 7. As volcanic eruptions occurred, lava flowed across the area; and along these flows, the surface of the lava cooled faster as it was exposed to air and solidified.

Drew Robinson March 29,
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Though people typically associate volcanoes with high angular peaks, sometimes their most wondrous geological contributions lie hidden below our feet. Proof of this can be found at this subterranean site in the Mojave National Preserve, where a trail that traverses black, tar-like rocks leads to a lava tube. A set of metal steps leads down into the tunnel formed by molten lava. After descending, explorers will find themselves in a dark cavern. Dust glints in the beams of light that spill through the holes in the ceiling.

Over 9 million people have used this site to plan their California travel, find your adventure here. A lava tube is one of those crazy natural phenomena that you just have to experience. After driving 5 miles down an unmarked road in the northwest part of the preserve the road is precisely 15 miles from the Kelso Depot so watch your odometer , you will reach the turn out for the road to the lava tube trailhead. The trailhead is in the middle of nowhere and is 5 miles from the main road so be smart if you head out there as it does not see much traffic. From the trailhead, you will be walking over tar black volcanic rocks as you head up a small incline. After about a quarter of a mile you will see a spur to the right-hand side and a small sign, this is the way you go, and the tube entrance is pretty close to here.

Lava tubes are formed when the surface of a stream of lava cools to form a hard crust, but the lava below the surface stays hot and continues flowing similar to a frozen-over river with water flowing beneath the crust of ice. When this happens, molten lava, which stays hot because it is insulated by the crust, can flow out from under the crust, leaving behind an empty tube. Once formed, fresh lava from new eruptions can flow down the tube, each leaving a fresh coat of lava plastered to the sides of the tube. Lava tubes have a habit of partially collapsing and forming holes in the ceiling. Fresh lava flowing on the surface can fall into the holes, and the holes can become plugged up or the lava can flow down the wall and into the tube. Evidence of these events is recorded in the roof and walls of this lava tube. The Lava Tube adventure starts from the pavement rather than from the end of the road.

Explore the Mojave Desert Lava Tube


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  1. Osmán C. says:

    Mojave Lava Tube – San Bernardino County, California - Atlas Obscura

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