Lava Beds National Monument

Audio Available:

OVERVIEW: This Audio-Described Brochure

Welcome to the audio-described version of Lava Beds National Monument's official print brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets the two-sided color brochure that Lava Beds National Monument visitors receive. The brochure explores the history of the park, some of its highlights, and information for planning your visit. This audio version lasts about 30 minutes which we have divided into 56 sections, as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 1 to 32 cover the front of the brochure and include information regarding the flora and fauna as well as the geological and cultural history of the park. Sections 33 to 56 cover the back of the brochure which consists of a large map Lava Beds National Monument's park area.  Other highlights include a range of scenic hikes and an introduction to the natural caves found in the park area.

↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Lava Beds National Monument

Lava Beds National Monument is located in north-eastern California. Established in 1925, Lava Beds National Monument protects and interprets this volcanic land, its early human occupation, and the  California Indians defense of their homeland. The park is famous for its variety of lava tubes, craters, inactive volcanos and caves.

↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure

The front of the brochure includes historic photographs and drawings of the Modoc, the indigenous people which once occupied the area. Other photos depict rock formations and a range of locally found plants, flowers, ferns and animals. The text focuses on the history of the Modoc War, an armed conflict between the Native Americans and United States Army and the geological formation and characteristics of the area.

↑ back to top

Lava Beds National Monument

↑ back to top

TEXT: 500,000 Years Ago The Earth Opened

Cracking and sputtering, it released liquid rock and rivers of fire across the landscape. Intermittent eruptions over thousands of years layered the land, leaving intricate caves, cones, craters, and black, jagged blankets of lava. The Modoc called this "the land of burnt-out fires." Tule Lake and Lava Beds were then, and are today, the center of their world.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Lava Beds National Monument

Caption:

Lava Beds National Monument protects a variety of well-preserved geologic features, including lava tube caves (above left) and Gillem Bluff in the distance.

Credit: 
National Park Service and Nico Ramirez     

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
This large photograph shows both the arid, sagebrush dominated high desert environment of Lava Beds National Monument stretching to the horizon as well as the entrance to a dark lava tube cave in the foreground. Description text here.



      
↑ back to top

TEXT: This can be a forbidding place, a world foreign to outsiders

This can be a forbidding place, a world foreign to outsiders. The Modoc and their ancestors lived in this rugged land for over 10,000 years. Following the rhythms of nature, they moved freely across their homeland until they were forcibly removed.  

The blazing of the Applegate Trail through the heart of Modoc territory was the beginning of the end for the traditional Modoc way of life. Increasing numbers of white settlers claimed ancestral Modoc land, conflicts escalated, and both sides resorted to violent attacks. By the 1860s settlers demanded area tribes be moved to the Klamath Reservation in Oregon. The Modoc reluctantly signed a treaty, but consistently requested a reservation in their homeland. Poor conditions and disagreements with other tribes on the reservation convinced some Modoc to return home. Broken promises, bitter resentments, and distrust made negotiations impossible.                                                   

The Modoc War began on November 29, 1872, when troops from Fort Klamath tried to force the resisting Modoc back to the reservation. They fled to the natural fortress of the lava beds, to what is today called “Captain Jacks Stronghold.” In April 1873 peace talks began. Toby Riddle, (right) a Modoc woman married to white settler Frank Riddle, served as an interpreter between the Modoc and the army. Kientpoos (Captain Jack) wanted his people to be allowed to stay in their homeland.                                                                            

He also wanted peace. Modoc society ruled by consensus. Remembering the 1852 slaughter of 30 members of their tribe, a majority voted to eliminate the peace commissioners. On April 11, 1873, peace commissioners Gen. Edward Canby and Rev. Eleazar Thomas were killed. Gen. William T. Sherman soon called for the “utter extermination” of the Modoc.              

For six months 1,000 troops and volunteers fought to capture fewer than 60 Modoc warriors and their families. Those who resisted were exiled to the Quapaw Agency in Oklahoma.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Toby Riddle

Caption:

Toby Riddle

Credit: 

Smithsonian Institution

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

A black and white portrait shows Toby Riddle, often referred to as Winema, both her clothing and hair done in western style, looking solemnly past the camera in this photo taken in a studio.



↑ back to top

TEXT AND ILLUSTRATION: Captain Jacks Stronghold

Image Description:

The image is an artist's rendition of the Modoc living conditions during the Modoc War. Inside of a cave, several women in shawls are seated around a fire while three men stand around them holding rifles. A small naked child is also depicted.

Caption: Captain Jacks Stronghold

Credit: National Park Service

Text:

Modoc leader Kientpoos, called Captain Jack by settlers, refused to accept the poor conditions on the reservation. He felt by returning to their homeland and traditional ways his people could have a good life. Kientpoos surrendered on June 1 and was later hanged with three others.



↑ back to top

IMAGE: Modoc leader Kientpoos

Caption:

Modoc leader Kientpoos

Credit:

Legends of America

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
Black and white drawing shows the leader of the Modocs Kientpoos sitting in a cave wearing traditional Native clothing, looking at the artist with a resigned expression.

↑ back to top

TEXT: The Modoc War

The Modoc War began on November 29, 1872, when troops from Fort Klamath tried to force the resisting Modoc back to the reservation. They fled to the natural fortress of the lava beds, to what is today called “Captain Jacks Stronghold.” In April 1873 peace talks began. Toby Riddle, (right) a Modoc woman married to white settler Frank Riddle, served as an interpreter between the Modoc and the army. Kientpoos (Captain Jack) wanted his people to be allowed to stay in their homeland.                                                                            


He also wanted peace. Modoc society ruled by consensus. Remembering the 1852 slaughter of 30 members of their tribe, a majority voted to eliminate the peace commissioners. On April 11, 1873, peace commissioners Gen. Edward Canby and Rev. Eleazar Thomas were killed. Gen. William T. Sherman soon called for the “utter extermination” of the Modoc.              


For six months 1,000 troops and volunteers fought to capture fewer than 60 Modoc warriors and their families. Those who resisted were exiled to the Quapaw Agency in Oklahoma.

↑ back to top

Medicine Lake Volcano

↑ back to top

TEXT AND ILLUSTRATION: Medicine Lake Volcano

Text:

Medicine Lake is a shield volcano that has been active for 500,000 years. Its eruptions, from nearly 520 surface vents, have been gentle rather than explosive. This has resulted in a low, gently-sloping, shield-like profile. Today you can see evidence of over 30 separate lava flows throughout the park.

Credit:
National Park Service
Description
This illustration shows the different elevations around the Medicine Lake Volcano, while also showing where Medicine Lake is in the caldera.

↑ back to top

ILLUSTRATION Multiple eruptions from surface

Caption:

Multiple eruptions from surface vents created most of the lava tube caves in the park.

Credit:
National Park Service

Description

This illustration shows how the lava flowed when it overflowed from the mammoth crater eruption. The flow starts at the middle left of the illustration and moves to the right, while going around Schonchin Butte and expanding from there.

 
↑ back to top

ILLUSTRATION: Tule Lake

Caption:

Starting in 1910 most of Tule Lake was drained by the Bureau of Reclamation to create farmland for homesteaders.

Credit:
National Park Service

Description:
Illustration depicting what Tulelake looks like before being drained in 1910. It also show Gillems Bluff, Captain Jack’s Stronghold and Petroglyph Point in relation to the old shore line. Gillems Bluff is basically the shore line, same as with the Stronghold. Petroglyph Point has water on either side of it making it easy to canoe up to.[Insert Illustration Description]

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Mule deer

Caption:

Mule deer were a staple in the Modoc diet. Men used dogs, fire, and the topography of the lava flows to aid in the hunt.

Credit:

Wikimedia Commons and Jane Shelby Richardson

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
This image shows a Mule Deer or Odocoileus hemionus. It is a mammal that has tannish brown fur and white fur on the rump with relatively large ears. They average around 37 in (94 cm) from the shoulder with a nose to tail length of 4.5 ft (1.4 m).

↑ back to top

Lava Tubes to Caves

↑ back to top

TEXT: From Lava Tubes to Caves

Eruptions occurring 30–40,000 years ago formed over 700 lava tube caves found in the park.  Lava tubes form when streams of hot, flowing lava start to cool. The center of the stream stays hot and continues to flow as the outside begins to cool and harden. The hot lava drains out, leaving a pipe-like cave. Multiple eruptions can stack caves on top of one another, creating multilevel caves. When a lava tube ceiling collapses, it opens access to the cave below.



↑ back to top

IMAGE: Lava tube in Hawai‘i

Caption:

Lava tube in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, 1972

Credit:

United States Geological Survey and Holcomb

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

The picture shown is what the inside of a lava tube that is being formed looks like. The hole’s entrance looks like hard, rough, grey lava rock while the inside is yellow and orange indicating how hot the rock inside is. Description text here.

↑ back to top

Land of Burnt-out Fires

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Northern harrier

Caption:

Northern harrier

Credit:

Carol Etchebarren

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

This image shows a Northern harrier or Circus cyaneus. This is a bird that is mottled brown and white with black tips on the wings. The body is usually 18.5 in (48 cm) in length with a wingspan of 43 in (110 cm) on average. They weigh anywhere from 10.6 oz to 26.5 0z.

↑ back to top

TEXT: Land of Burnt-out Fires

The Modoc life and culture was perfectly tuned to this environment and the richness of the resources it provided. They lived in semi-permanent winter villages along Lost River and Tule Lake. Each year as winter turned to spring, they began a seasonal round of fishing, hunting, and gathering.

Ragged and rough, the terrain of the lava flows could be dangerous, but to the Modoc it was a sacred landscape. It provided bounty in the hunt and challenged those seeking power and knowledge through vision quests.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Fragile fern

Caption:

Usually not seen in the high desert, ferns can be found in cave entrances.

Credit:

National Park Service  and Katrina Smith

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
Depicted is a Fragile Fern or Cystopteris fragilis. This plant had long green stems that have two rows of green leaves coming off each side. The leaves are about one inch long and have rounded divots at set intervals.Description text here.


↑ back to top

IMAGE: Yellow pond-lily

Caption:

Wocus (yellow pond-lily) seed was an important source of nutrition for the Modoc.

Credit:

Wikimedia Commons and H Zell

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
Illustrated here is a Yellow pond-lily or Nuphar lutea. It has yellow petals and anther with a stalk that connects to the pad. The flower itself is fairly small and cup shaped. The pad is about 10 times larger than the flower and forms a heart shape.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Wyoming Indian paintbrush

Caption:

Wyoming Indian paintbrush

Credit:
National Park Service

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

This pictures shows a cluster of Wyoming Indian Paintbursh flowers or Castilleja linariifolia. This plant has long petals that are deep red in color with a green stem. The petals themselves tend to grow vertically along the stem therefore giving it a “paintbrush” look to it.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: American pika

Caption:

American pika

Credit:

Copyright by Flickr and Aditithe Stargazer

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

This picture shows a Pika or Ochotona princeps. These are very small mammals that only weight 6 oz (170g). They are usually tan in color, occasionally with gray spotches. Compared to their head size they have rather large ears.


↑ back to top

IMAGE: Scabland fleabane

Caption:

Scabland fleabane

Credit:

National Park Service and Jesse Barden

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

Pictured is Scabland Fleabane or Erigeron bloomeri. They are short flowers that have a yellow top and a green stem. The top part looks similar to a dandelion but more compressed.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Melissa blue butterfly

Caption:

Melissa blue butterfly

Credit:

Rob  Santry

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
Pictured is the Melissa blue butterfly or the Lycaeides melissa. This butterfly is fairly small (not even a full inch in length or width) with the body and most of the wings being steel grey. Closer to the edge of the wings there are waves of orange and yellow with the very edges being white.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Leanira checkerspot butterfly

Caption:
Leanira checkerspot butterfly
Credit:
Rob Santry
Description:
Pictured is the Leanira checkerspot butterfly or Chlosyne leanira. This butterfly measures about 1.5 inches across. It is mostly black as the body is black with white stripes on the abdomen. The wings are mostly black with red spots and stripes near the tips and white spots throughout.




↑ back to top

IMAGE: Western blue flax

Caption:

Western blue flax

Credit:

National Park Service

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
Shown is the Western Blue Flax or Linum lewisii. This is a wild flower with light purple petals and yellow anthers. The stems are brown with small green leaves.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Rock wren

Caption:

Rock wren

Credit:

National Park Service and Nico Ramirez

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
Pictured is the Rock Wren or Salpinctes obsoletus. It is a small songbird that measures 5 in (13.5 cm) long with a wingspan of 9 in (23 cm). It has buff colored wings and back with a more whitish front. Its tail is striped brown and white with a long narrow brown beak.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Threadleaf phacelia

Caption:

Threadleaf phacelia

Credit:

National Park Service

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

Description text here.




↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure

Side two of the brochure is comprised  of three maps of varying scale and degree of detail. The first map shows the greater Lava Beds National Monument Area, the second map the actual park area including the visitor center and the third map is a detail map of the visitor center location with its nearby cave loop road. Furthermore, three colored photographs depict an impression of each, the Skill Cave, the Golden Dome and the Catacombs. All maps and images will be audio-described in their own sections.  In addition to the maps and photo descriptions of the park area, craters, lava tubes and caves, the text provides important information on necessary safety measures, such as the protection of yourself and the park area as well as instructions on how to obtain a permit to explore the caves.

↑ back to top

Make the Most of Your Visit to Lava Beds

↑ back to top

TEXT: Make the Most of Your Visit to Lava Beds

Established in 1925, Lava Beds National Monument protects and interprets this volcanic land, its early human occupation, and the Modoc defense of their homeland. Learn about activities and trails at the visitor center.

Some roads outside the park are closed during the winter and early spring. Call 530-667-8113 to check road closures.

The visitor center bookstore has snacks, ice, flashlights, helmets, videos, batteries, books, and souvenirs.

Gas, firewood, restaurants, and showers are available in nearby communities of Tionesta, CA; Tulelake, CA; and Merrill, OR (20–40 minutes from the visitor center).

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram.

Lava Beds National Monument is one of over 400 parks in the National Park System. Learn more at www.nps.gov.

↑ back to top

MAP: Map of Communities Surrounding Lava Beds National Monument

Caption:

Lava Beds National Monument

Credit:
National  Park Service

Map Description:

This map show the larger area surrounding Lava Beds National Monument. The monument is slightly right of center With the different routes leading out of the north and south. About a quarter of the way down in the middle shows Klamath falls with the lower klamath lake to the north west. About a quarter of the way up from the bottom and on the left side of the page shows the town of Weed.

↑ back to top

IMAGE: Tundra swans

Caption: 

Tundra swans

Credit:

National Park Service and Tim Rains
IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
This image shows two Tundra Swans or Cygnus columbianus in flight. These birds are mostly white with orange or black beaks and a mask of black around their eyes. They average about 53 in in length with a wingspan of 66 in.


↑ back to top

Exploring Above Ground

↑ back to top

TEXT: Exploring Above Ground

There is much to see and do at Lava Beds. Highlights include:

Mammoth Crater
Impressive 36,000 year old vents that created lava tube caves in the area.

Symbol Bridge/ Big Painted Cave
Marvel at prehistoric pictographs and artwork.

Schonchin Butte
Hike the trail to the fire lookout built by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

Fleener Chimneys
View volcanic vents and spatter cones created by globs of lava.

Thomas-Wright Battlefield
Visit the site of a decisive Modoc victory over the US Army.

Gillems Camp/ Gillem Bluff
Hike to a great view of this volcanic landscape.

Captain Jacks Stronghold
Explore where Modoc families took refuge as they fought for their homeland.

Wildlife Overlooks
Stop and view waterfowl on Tule Lake.

Petroglyph Point
Visit this former island with ancient carvings that is significant to native cultures. 
 
Wilderness
Congress has protected 28,460 acres of Lava Beds National Monument as wilderness under the 1964 Wilderness Act. Information about the National Wilderness Preservation System can be found at www.wilderness.net.

↑ back to top

ILLUSTRATION: Petroglyphs

Caption:

Most of the petroglyphs in the park, like those below, are found at Petroglyph Point. Their meaning remains a mystery.

Credit:
Ron Wolf

Description:

This picture shows three different pictographs which are carvings in stone. The first one is towards the top of the image and shows a series of points going across the page. The second one is in the middle of the stone and is a straight vertical line with lines coming off of it on either side at an outward angle. The last one is a series of eight dots that start in the middle of the images and continue to the right.


↑ back to top

MAP: Petroglyph Section of the Park

Credit:

National Park Service

Map Description:

This map shows the petroglyph point section of the park. It is separate from the main part of the park. Petroglyph point is in the center with a dirt road going through the center and two roads the the left and right leading to the north or the south.


↑ back to top

Exploring the Caves

↑ back to top

TEXT: Exploring the Caves

Before entering a cave, you are required to obtain a permit at the visitor center or fee booth.

Many of the 700-plus caves have steep entry points, rocky trails, and, in some cases, very low ceilings. Over two dozen caves have developed entrances and trails. They vary in difficulty, length, and complexity. Start at the visitor center for screening, information, and to talk to a ranger about the caves.

↑ back to top

TEXT AND IMAGE: Least Challenging

These caves have relatively high ceilings and smoother floors or trails. Safety gear is recommended.

CAPTION:

Skull Cave

CREDIT:
Cyril Fluck

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
This image shows the entrance to Skull cave, one of the easy caves in the park. On the left side of the cave is where the rest of the cave continues on. The entrance is extremely large being close to eighty feet height. On the right side of the picture there is a person who looks to be about to enter the cave.


↑ back to top

TEXT AND IMAGE: Moderately Challenging Caves

These caves may involve stooping through low sections and rough floors. Additional safety gear is recommended.

CAPTION: 

Golden Dome Cave

CREDIT:
National Park Service

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:
This image shows the inside of Golden Dome cave. As one might be able to guess, the inside of the cave is a goldish green color on the walls and ceiling which is about ten feet height. The color is caused by a hydrophobic bacteria that grows in the cave.





↑ back to top

TEXT AND IMAGE: Most Challenging Caves

These caves have sections that require crawling. Using all recommended safety gear will help protect you from injury.

CAPTION:

Catacombs

CREDIT:

Kenneth Ingham

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

This is an image of the inside of Catacombs, the most challenging cave in the park. The ceiling is rather high and is a silver-grey color. Off to the left there are two black holes suggesting different paths that can be taken. In the bottom center there is a person in a blue jumpsuit posing for the picture.


↑ back to top

Caving Safely and Softly

↑ back to top

TEXT: Cave Safely

Wear Protective Clothes

Caves are about 55˚F (13˚C) year-round, however caves with ice are colder. Wear long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe footwear. Helmets, gloves and kneepads are recommended in moderately and most challenging caves.

Bring Enough Light

Each person should carry at least one flashlight with extra batteries. Flashlights are loaned free of charge at the visitor center.

Protect Your Head

Wear a helmet in all caves. Bump hats are sold at the visitor center.

Don’t Go Alone

Choose caves suitable for everyone in your group. Don’t push beyond anyone’s limits.

Know Your Route

Be observant. Be aware of junctions and landmarks. A cave map book can be purchased at the visitor center. Tell someone where you are going.


↑ back to top

TEXT: Cave Softly


• Caves are amazing, fragile environments. Please take only pictures and leave only footprints. Leave no trace.

• Do not eat, drink, smoke, or leave trash.

• Cave slowly and carefully.

• Do not use caves as bathrooms.

• Stay on the trails.

• Do not touch cultural artifacts, paintings, cave formations, or gold and silver microbial mats.

• Use electric flashlights, not carbide or gas lamps.

• Do not disturb any cave life.

• Pets are not allowed in caves.


↑ back to top

TEXT: Help Protect Our Bats

Get a Permit

If you plan on entering any cave in Lava Beds National Monument, stop by the visitor center or fee booth and obtain a permit.


Display your pass in your windshield to show you have been through the screening process and are helping protect the bats that live here.


If you have gear that has been used in caves or mines in the US, Canada, or Europe, please leave these items at home or in your car. If used, this gear must be properly decontaminated.



↑ back to top

TEXT AND IMAGE: White-Nose Syndrome

Since 2006, bats have been dying in unprecedented numbers in the eastern United States and Canada from white-nose syndrome, a fatal condition associated with exposure to fungus. Humans can spread the fungus between caves, mines, and other bat roost sites. Help us prevent the spread of this devastating disease.

CAPTION:

Townsend’s big-eared bat

CREDIT:

Michael Durham

IMAGE DESCRIPTION:

The image shows the Townsend’s Big-eared bat or Corynorhinus townsendii, the most common bat in the park. The bat has a buff to brown coloring with ears two to three times as large as its head. The average wingspan for this bat is about a foot in width.


↑ back to top

MAP: Caves Surrounding the Visitor Center

CAPTION:

Cave Loop Road

Credit:

National Service Park

MAP DESCRIPTION:

This map is an set part of the larger map that features cave loop road. The road is a two mile oval loop that is right behind the visitor center. There are three levels of challenging that a cave can be, those being easy (blue circle), moderate (green square), and hard (black diamond). These are the caves in order around the loop Golden Dome (moderate), Hopkins Chocolate (hard), Blue Grotto (moderate), Catacombs (hard), Paradise alleys and Ovis (easy), Sunshine (moderate), Hercule’s Leg (hard), Juniper (hard), Upper then Lower Sentinel (easy).

↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: Accessibility

We strive to make facilities and programs accessible to all and in order to create a welcoming environment for visitors with disabilities, to ensure that new facilities and programs are accessible and to upgrade existing facilities to improve accessibility. Please call, ask at the visitor center, or go to our website for more information.

↑ back to top

OVERVIEW: More Information

Address:

Lava Beds National Monument

PO Box 1240

1 Indian Well HQ

Tulelake, CA 96134

Phone number:

530-667-8113

Website:

www.nps.gov/labe

Additional links:

National Park Foundation
Join the park community.
www.nationalparks.org

↑ back to top