Western Regional at Lavabeds 2017 Register!





The Mother Lode Grotto invites you to join us for the 2017 NSS Western Regional at Lava Beds National Monument

We are very excited to be hosting this year's Western Regional Caving convention. This year's event will be a so much fun you may just decide to quit your job and cave all the time. Check out the information below to get a glimpse of what we have planned for this year and then click that register button and JOIN US!

Lava Beds National Monument is truly a caving amusement park, but it has so much more to offer: scenery, wildlife, geology, and history, to name a few.

This is a great opportunity to explore some of the most extensive lava tubes in the western region. Lava Beds National Monument is a land of turmoil, both geological and historical. Over the last half-million years, volcanic eruptions on the Medicine Lake shield volcano have created a rugged landscape dotted with diverse volcanic features. More than 700 caves, Native American rock art sites, historic battlefields and camp-sites, and a high desert wilderness experience await you!

Many of the developed caves contain trails through the cave and stairways or ladders into the cave. Most of the developed caves are located along Cave Loop, a 2-mile road near the visitor center. Just a short walk from the visitor center, Mushpot Cave contains exhibits and is the only lighted cave at Lava Beds. Developed caves are divided into three groups based on their varying levels of difficulty in the hardest section of the cave: least, moderate, and most challenging.

Read more at The Lava Beds National Monument website..

Camping Accommodations

More info on accommodations.

We have reserved half of Loop B of Indian Wells Campground, and the Group Campsite. Loop B Campsites can accommodate tents, pickup campers, small trailers, and motor homes up to 30 feet. Note: not all sites can accommodate motor homes. Sites include a picnic table, fire ring, and cooking grill. Wood fires are permitted unless otherwise posted. Firewood may be available for purchase during the summer (to confirm, call the visitor center at 530-667-8113). Dead and down firewood can be collected in the nearby Modoc National Forest. Restrooms with water, sinks, and flush toilets are available year round in the campground.

The Group Campsite includes, picnic tables, 2 pit toilets, a group fire ring, water spigot, and large cooking grill, and can accommodate a maximum of 40 campers.

The group campground is gated, and one vehicle at a time is permitted for loading/unloading. All vehicles must be parked in the A loop overflow parking area, near the comfort station, or at the Visitors Center.

  • • Quiet hours are from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
  • • Maximum 8 persons per site, 2 vehicles, or 3 motorcycles
  • • Pets are permitted in the campground, but must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet (1.8 m).
  • • Pets are not permitted in caves, trails or in buildings
  • • Not Available: Showers, hookups, dump stations and amenities such as gas or propane

Meals coffee

The Western Cave Conservancy will host their traditional fund-raising dinner on Saturday evening. This optional event helps support the many programs the WCC offers to protect and preserve caves in the western states.

  • BBQ chicken
  • corn
  • beans
  • green salad
  • bread
  • dessert
  • Vegetarian option for main dish will be available.
  • Beans will be vegetarian as well.

The Mother Lode Grotto will serve breakfast to all attendees on Sunday morning.

  • Sausage
  • egg scramble
  • potatoes
  • (can be eaten on a plate or made into a burrito with provided tortillas)
  • fruit will also be available and sausage can be held out for vegetarian option.
  • Coffee and tea will be available.

Programs and Activities

Our tentative schedule of educational presentations and activities include presentations on White Nose Syndrome, ongoing volunteer opportunities with the Cave Research Foundation(CRF) at Lava Beds National Monument, a hands-on class on Scientific Journaling, a geology field trip, and a star party. Please watch this space for more details.

  • •Geology field trip.
  • •Star Party.

Western Region Business Meeting

The executive board of the Western Region will hold a business meeting on Saturday afternoon before dinner. Please be sure to bring your issues and ideas for discussion.

Western Region Auction

Don't forget to bring something for the annual auction on Saturday evening. Now's a great time to get rid of that old gear in the back of your closet. And bring money for that auction item you've just got to have!

Matt-IMG_0779.jpg Matt-L-IMG_0636.jpg
More Photographs from Lavabeds

Contact the park

P.O. Box 1240
Tulelake, CA 96134
P: (530) 667-8113

Night Sky

dark sky NPS-photo As a designated Dark Skies Preserve, the starry skies over the Lava Beds are a dream for amateur astronomers. High altitude, clean, dry air, and a remote location far from urban light pollution are key to the great view.

More Photographs from Lavabeds



5:00 PM - Registration Begins
Set up camp
Guided trips: Sign up at Registration.



Self-guided caving: all day!

Guided trips: Sign up at Registration.

10:30 AM - 3:00 PM Programs at RC
4:30 - 6:00 PM Western Region Business Meeting
6:30 - 7:45 WCC Dinner - Support the WCC !
8:00 - 9:30 Western Regional Auction - Support the Western Region: Bring Stuff - Buy Stuff!!
9:30 to ? Slide & multi-media show by Dave Bunnell - Don't Miss It!



7:00 - 9:00am Mother Lode Grotto serves Breakfast - FREE to ALL

Self-guided caving: all day!

Guided trips: Sign up at Registration.

9:00PM to ? -Star Party: Park Amphitheater (near campground) : Weather permitting. Telescopes and knowledgeable people will be available.


Self-guided caving: all day!
Guided trips: There may be some that you can do on your way home-- check at Registration.
Enjoy the Visitor Center and checking out historical sites before heading for home.
Guided trips: There may be some that you can do on your way home-- check at Registration.


More Photographs from Lavabeds


Join us for an amazing good time

Please mail printed registration forms / checks to:
Mother Lode Grotto
c/o Eileen Belan
1208 Rose Tree Way
Sacramento, CA 95831

Pika Pete Pika Pete says come Join Us!


Getting Here by Car
Remember to Plan Ahead - There is no gas available at Lava Beds. We encourage you to top your tank off in one of the nearby communities of Klamath Falls, OR, Merrill, OR, Tulelake, CA, or Alturas, CA. Depending on your route, the last gas station you will pass could be over an hour away from Lava Beds.

From the North via Klamath Falls, Oregon: take Oregon Hwy. 39 south approximately 15 miles until you see a brown highway sign for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges. Follow this route by turning right (south) on Merrill Pit Road. Travel south approximately 2 miles until you reach Stateline Road 161. Brown highway signs mark turns leading to Lava Beds from U.S. 161 into the monument. Turn left (east), travel approximately three miles, and turn right (south) at the golf course onto Hill Road. Travel south on Hill Road nine miles until you enter Lava Beds National Monument. You will pass the visitor center for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges on your way into the monument. - It takes approximately one hour to reach the Visitor Center from Klamath Falls via this route.

You may also access Lava Beds from the north by continuing on Oregon Hwy. 39 across the state line and following brown Lava Beds highway signs through the town of Tulelake, CA and into the monument's northeast entrance.

If you wish to see the entire monument from the north before arriving at the Visitor Center, continuing approximately four miles south of Tulelake and following signs to Petroglyph Point.

From the I-5 corridor: take U.S. 97 North at Weed towards Klamath Falls. Turn right onto California Hwy 161, also known as Stateline Road, located just north of Dorris, California and just south of the California-Oregon border. Brown highway signs mark turns leading to Lava Beds from U.S. 97 into the monument. Travel east on CA 161 through the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge to Hill Road. Turn right on Hill Road at the golf course. Travel south on Hill Road nine miles until you enter Lava Beds National Monument. You will pass the visitor center for the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges on your way.

It takes 1.5 to two hours to reach the Visitor Center from Weed, depending on weather and traffic.

From California Hwy 299 from the Redding or Lassen National Volcanic Park areas: turn left (north) at Bieber on Hackamore / Lookout Road (County Road 91) until it ends at California Hwy 139. Turn left (north) on CA 139, Your next turn will be a left onto Forest Service road 97. From there you'll turn left on to Forest Service road 10, which will become the park road once you cross the park's south east boundry.

NOTE: Forest Service 10 is paved, but has potholes; drive slowly and carefully around them. In the winter, this road is not plowed and can become unpassable due to snow. To enter via a smoother route, or open road in the winter, continue north on Hwy 139 and follow brown highway signs from the Tulelake, California or Merrill, Oregon areas.

From California Hwy 89 (Summer only, typically mid-June through October), the more adventurous visitors can enter Lava Beds from the south via the Medicine Lake Road (FS 15 and 49) through the Modoc National Forest. Begin this route from U.S. 89 just east of Bartle. This route includes approximately ten miles of dirt road north of Medicine Lake. They are accessible in any vehicle, but are typically heavily washboarded by mid-summer. Allow 1.5 to two hours to reach the Lava Beds boundary from the turnoff on U.S. 89, and consider planning extra time to enjoy geologic features and Medicine Lake along the way.

Getting Here by Plane
Medford, Oregon (MFR) is the closest airport, and is a 2-hour drive away. The closest major airport is Reno, Nevada (about 4 hours away). Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California are each about a 6 hour drive from the monument.

Traveling by Bicycles
Although Lava Beds roads do not have a striped bike lane, those on bike are rewarded with challenging terrain, spectacular views, and generally light vehicle traffic.

Public Transportation
No public transportation is available.

Don't miss the event!


Just for laughs- SPEAKERS


Troll Slayer Leading a lively discussion on hodag tracking and other important skills


Greybeard Dude Lecturing on the importance of fabric choices when chosing a kilt for caving.


Poncho Wearas Covering the important topic of after caving refreshment


Kip Collapsus How to take long naps while using vertical equipment


Morley Treeroot Discusses which is older, igneous formations or that thing in his garage.


Lynn Floose What saloon attire works well for caving?


Gonna Swim Dog paddle or breast stroke?


Tina Micobias Will they eat your brains?