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Shasta Cascade Caves and Caverns

Shasta Cascade Caves and Caverns Overview

Shasta Cascade

Caves in the Shasta Cascade include ancient lava tubes of dormant volcanoes and natural caverns with stalactites, stalagmites and curtains. All of the caves and caverns in the Shasta Cascade are uniquely interesting. Take a boat ride across Lake Shasta with a tour of Shasta Caverns. Bring a flashlight to Lava Beds National Monument and navigate several large lava tubes. Smaller lava tubes can be found at various locations surrounding Lassen Volcanic National Park. Most caves and caverns hover around 60 degrees year round, making these underground attractions a great place to cool off on a warm summer day.

WARNING: Caves & mines can be dangerous and deadly. Please use caution and common sense when exploring a cave. Don't enter a cave without a light source and necessary safety equipment. Sea caves can be especially dangerous when tides and waves are up. Choose not to explore a cave if in doubt and stay alive.

WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME: Bat populations in the U.S. are suffering devastating losses due to White-Nose Syndrome. Learn about this disease before entering caves and see what you can do to prevent its spread.

Shasta Cascade Caves and Caverns

Lava Beds photo courtesy of the National Park Service

Lava Beds National Monument is located in the northernmost portion of the state to the west of Highway 139. Ancient volcanic lava flows cover the entire area. The main attraction to this park is the hollow lava tubes that form caves throughout the region. These tubes are more like tunnels that hikers and caverns can explore.

Lava Beds National Monument
1 Indian Well Headquarters
Tulelake, California 96134
(530) 667-8100

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Pluto's Cave is located northeast of Weed off Highway 97. Pluto's Cave is an underground lava tube with several ceiling collapses. This somewhat level tube is easy for an inexperienced spelunker. Some cave sections have suffered vandalism over the years in the form of graffiti. Pluto's Cave was once visited by John Muir. To get there from Interstate 5, head east from Weed on Highway 97 approximately 12 miles. Turn left on Road A-12 and follow for approximately 3.5 miles. Turnoff will be on the left. A short hike is necessary to reach the first cave opening.

Pluto's Cave
Highway 97
Siskiyou, California 96134

Map  |   Hotel  |   No Website  |   Other Ideas


Samwel Cave is located northeast of Lake Shasta. Samwel Cave can be accessed by car or by boat up the McCloud River Arm of Lake Shasta. By car, exit Gilman Road from Interstate 5 and follow approximately 30 miles to McCloud River Bridge. Continue 3 miles farther to a turnout and trailhead on the right side of the road. Follow the path to the cave entrance. This cave is for the more experienced spelunker. The Cave features several rooms with limestone formations, underground pools and a 75-foot pit for experienced repellers. There is a locked gate at the cave entrance for which a key can be obtained from the Shasta Lake Visitor Center. Rangers will verify that each group meets the necessary criteria for exploring the cave and request a minimal key deposit. Minimal requirements include a group of 4 spelunkers and two reliable light sources each. Reservation may be required.

NOTE: Access to the cave requires crawling a few feet through a 24-inch culvert that the Forest Service put a locked gate on.

Shasta Lake Visitor Center
14225 Holiday Road
Redding, California 96003
(530) 275-1589

Cave Location  |   Visitor Center Map  |   Visitor Center Website  |   pdf Spelunkers Guide  |   Boat Rentals


Shasta Caverns are located off Interstate 5 north of Redding. Cavern tours begin with a boat ride across Lake Shasta and then a bus ride to Shasta Caverns. This limestone cave includes cave coral, cave drapery, flow stone, magnificent stalagmites, stalactites and columns.

Lake Shasta Caverns
20359 Shasta Caverns Road
O'Brien, California 96070
(800) 795-2283

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas


Subway Cave is located near the town of Old Station, 1/4 mile north of the junction of Highway 44 & 89 across from Cave Campground. This is the largest of many lava tubes on Mount Lassen. Formed 20,000 years ago, Subway Cave offers 1700-feet of lava tube exploration with tube openings varying from 6 to 17 feet in height. Entrance to the cave is attained through a portion of the ceiling that broke through.

Subway Cave
13435 Brian's Way
Highways 44 & 89
Old Station, CA 96071
(530) 335-7517

Map  |   Hotel  |   Website  |   Other Ideas

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