Mojave Desert Lava Tube is one of the popular destinations in the Mojave National Preserve. This short easy hike is family-friendly. It begins at the dirt parking lot off Aiken Mine Rd.
Although this hike is rated easy based on the distance and elevation gain, it has a few challenges worth mentioning. The first challenge is the ladder you have to use to get down to the lava tube entrance.
We learned that our dogs do not like this ladder.
Xena and Joy didn’t want to get close to the edge around the opening. So we couldn’t help them down without using the ladder either.
I couldn’t blame them as those downhill rocky edges weren’t looking that stable. So after trying multiple ways, both Xena (32 lbs) and Joy (60+ lbs) had to be carried down by the strongest human of the group.
After that, the dogs were fine. Now for the humans…
Although the ladder was stable, it can be challenging if you have difficulty going down the stairs. Also, a bit of scrambling is required while getting down to the entrance of the lava tube.
Depending on your height, you will need to either squat down low or get on your knees to go through a low clearance opening. Put on a headlamp or use your phone’s flashlight so you can see where you are going.
Once I was in the lava tube, it felt spacious. I am a bit claustrophobic, but with the sunlight coming through a few openings, I didn’t feel trapped underground. I don’t like caves, but this place did not bother me.
If you are into photography, you will like this place! Let the cool lightings inspire you.
This hike took an hour including the time spent in the lava tube. It’s a perfect little hike to add to your Mojave Desert trip.
Good to Know:
- Hike Date: 1.20.19
- Distance: 0.5 miles RT
- Elevation Gain: 67 ft
- Minimum Elevation: 3,559 ft
- Maximum Elevation: 3,626 ft
- Difficulty Rating: Easy
- Permit/Fee: None
- Free parking off Aiken Mine Rd, No toilet, No cell phone reception
- Avoid summer months