Arizona is home to plenty of mining tunnels, most of which have long since been abandoned. Most of these are too dangerous to access. If you want the experience of spelunking and exploring a similar tunnel, we have just the place for you! Arizona’s lava river cave.

Lava River Cave is located in northern Arizona, about 14 miles directly northwest of Flagstaff via US 180 and a small forest road. Part of the San Francisco volcanic field, the lava river cave was formed 700,000 years ago when lava erupted from a nearby vent in Hart Prairie. This lava—which typically ranges between 1,200 and 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit—created a tube with wavy ripples that is covered in an icy condensation these days.

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This looks like a spectacular place to visit, especially now with the summer heat! To get to the cave from Flagstaff, drive north on US 180 just over 14 miles to Fire Road 245. Follow this to Fire Road 171, then FR 171B. The lava river cave will be directly in front of you. If you want to take Interstate 40, follow these directions from Google or these directions from the US Forest Service.

Want more ideas for cave exploration? Check out our article on Arizona caves.

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