Spelunking in the Golden Dome Cave, Lava Beds National Monument


Added by John Ditomaso

What better outing than exploring some underground lava tubes? 

Once you reach the Lava Beds National Monument stop by the visitors center to pay your fees, grab a map, and empty your bladder. From there you will drive your car to each cave entrance.

Golden Dome Cave is the third cave on the cave loop. The entrance is about 25m from where you park. You will enter the cave on a steep ladder. This is one of the moderate level of difficulty caves. In certain areas you will have to lean or crouch to continue exploring.

Inside the cave it is its own ecosystem so please be respectful, don't leave any trash, use it as a bathroom, or damage the cave's structures. 

If you see any bats do not disturb them. They may be hibernating and can die if awakened to often. If you do seem them, leave as quickly and quietly as possible. Also notify a park ranger to they can make sure the bats aren't disturbed any further. At certain times Golden Dome Cave may be closed to protect the bat populations that inhabit it. 

The overall length of the Golden Dome Cave is 679m. It is called Golden Dome for water droplets reflecting on the hydrophobic bacteria that grows on the ceilings. You will see it in other caves as well. The main sections or Golden Dome rooms are down the lava stream in the cave. If you go up stream when you enter the cave you will have to crouch most of the time. Also inside the caves it is relatively cold so wear a jacket and pants. 

So grab bring a friend, go underground, and watch your head.  

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Leave a Review

Best caves

Exploring the caves is a must. It gets eery in a cool way and is a fun place to explore.

Great cave

Golden Dome is a great place to check out when you are at Lava Beds. Take the stairs down and explore this cave.

Amazing Experience!

Went with a few friends over the weekend. Golden Dome was one of our stops on cave loop and it happened to be the best one we did. Highly recommend checking it out!

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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