It's that time of year where all of the school kids are taking their end of the year field trips.  It's no secret that we love southern Oregon around here but every day we are reminded how awesome it is that we live somewhere where there are so many natural wonders close enough that kids get to experience them on a daily basis.  I'm seeing kids taking trips to the coast, going to Crater Lake, the Lava Beds, Hellgate Jet Boat and more.  Sooo, all of this reminded me that when went on Ilias' class trip to the Lava Beds National Monument last year, I never shared that excursion with you and it was such a fun one. 

MT SHASTA - LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT - What to do in Southern Oregon- Things to do - Hiking - Caves - Kids

Just a three hour drive from Medford (by school bus) Lava Beds National Monument is in Tulelake, California.  The drive is really beautiful taking you on Hwy 140 past Lake of the Woods. The road trip took us through mountains and rolling hills with small towns along the way that look like a blast from the past.  Gary and I were chaperones so we took advantage of the quiet drive since Ilias drove with his friends in the school bus…kind of a mini-date. :)

When we got there the rangers took us on a extraordinary historical tour of the archaeological sites where the Modoc War was fought around Captain Jack's stronghold. We were taken though a lava fortress that included deep trenches and small caves.  We learned about the background of the war, how they fought, where they lived, what they ate, and lots of details about there everyday life.   For more details go here to read the Modoc War brochure. 

LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT - What to do in Southern Oregon- Things to do - Hiking - Caves - Kids

My favorite part and I think everyone really appreciated when we visited the Modoc Indians medicine stick. The spiritual significance really resounded with everyone; including the students.  It was almost as if you could hear the whispers of the people who lost their lives and the generations who did and still do mourn their passing. 


We were treated with a magnificent view of the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  When we hiked back down we took a break, ate our lunch and then headed up to the Visitors Center to get the kids Junior Ranger pins and then we headed into the caves!

When we were planning for the caves, on our list for what to bring said we should bring helmets and flashlights.  We heeded the warning and were so glad that we did because it was pitch black in there.  It was so amazing to go underground and to explore the awe-inspiring natural phenomena that make up the Lava Beds.  There were spots that were pitch black so we would turn on our spelunkers and there was even a spot that we had to literally crawl through thus the need for helmets.  That was so fun but man was it low, we had to almost be down on our bellies.  Foruntately there was a go around for those of us that didn't want to get so low, but Gary, Ilias and myself and most of the kids in our group decided to take the adventurous route and get down low and make like lizards.  It was actually a lot of fun and added to the thrill of the experience. 

When we finished our cave tours we were so dissapointed that it was over.  Gary and I really want to go back because we only had time to explore two of 22 different caves there, and we know that Olivia would love the adventure too.  There is a campground nearby and more historical sites to explore so we will be planning a camping trip there sometime in the near future!

We want to explore Klamath County and northern California more!  Anyone out there have any suggestions of where we should go?  Comment below or on our Facebook page so we can add more to our bucket list!

If you want to go the National Park Service has a lot of great information!  And here is a MAP to get you there.  Happy exploring southern Oregon!